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A World Tour Of Festivals In 2017: Part 1

festivals in 2017: holi

Music, dance, and Holi Festival fun!

Where are the best festivals in 2017 and when is festival season?

That expression, festival season, is actually a bit of an oxymoron. No matter the year—anywhere in the world, at any given time, there can be a festival going on. Regardless of your current location, if you make it to at least one of the following festivals in 2017 then you’re in for a treat!


Festivals In 2017: The Best Of Each Month

Fasiledas Bath

Fasiledas Bath during the “off-season”

January: Timkat

When: January 19th (or 20th in a leap year).

Where: All throughout Gondar, Ethiopia.

Why: It is a celebration of the Epiphany in the most colorful fashion. Although people observe this holiday nationwide, the pilgrimage to Fasiledas Bath in Gondar is truly a site to see.  The empty grounds pictured above are filled with both water and people and the ceremony culminates with many attendees symbolically submerging themselves in water to replicate the baptism of Jesus.

Where to sleep: There aren’t a lot of options in Gondar, but I found the centrally-located Taye Belay Hotel to be quite comfortable during my time there. At a similar price point, Goha Hotel was highly recommended by my cab driver. Although I didn’t stay there overnight, I dined on my first Ethiopian meal at the Goha Hotel restaurant while enjoying sweeping views of the entire city.

Gondar View

The view of Gondar from Goha Hotel

February: Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival

ice fest

When: Annually, mid-January until early-February, with the 2017 dates being January 14—February 05.

Where: Hwacheon county of Gangwon Province in South Korea.

Why: With events ranging from ice fishing to bare-handed fishing to snow sledding and moreinstead of getting caught in the crowds of people at either the Harbin Ice Festival in China or Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan, this festival offers the same supply of frigid fun on a smaller scale.

The Ice Festival Square

Where to stay: My advice would be to take a day trip from Seoul. Buses are inexpensive and by staying in the capital city there are a wider variety of accommodation options—suitable for any budget.


March: Holi

When: March. Exact dates vary each year, but in 2017 the main day is March 13th.

Where: All across India.

Why: It’s one of the major festivals of India but, in recent years, it is often celebrated in various locations worldwide.
Love is truly in the air during this festival as participants fling colored power on one another and share smiles even brighter than the colors at play.

Where to sleep: Holi celebrations differ between various cities, so this largely depends on where you to decide to celebrate the festival. If you celebrate in Delhi; however, like Seoul, there will be numerous accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury. I opted for the Prime Balaji Deluxe Hotel, where a spacious, deluxe room (with airport pickup included) was about $32/night.


Holi Fest: Fun for all ages!


April: The Songkran Festival

When: April 13th.

Where: Thailand.

Why: Songkran is the Thai new year celebration—and they know how to make a splash! Celebrants quite literally engage in what just might be the world’s coolest water fight.


Today’s weather forecast: 100% chance of getting soaked!

Where to sleep: For the biggest bang, head to ChiangChiang Mai that is. James Munley, former long-term resident of Thailand and author of Ethical Elephant Tourism, recommends Chiang Mai as the best city for Songkran (because it lasts a lot longer there compared to other cities).

His go-to place to stay??? The Royal Guest House. Why? Affordability: rooms as low as $10/night. Fun: a great place for both solo travelers and group travelers to meet people. Location: only a 5 minute walk to Thapae Gate—where the heart of the festival celebration goes down!


Not even the tuk tuk drivers are safe from the Songkran festivities!

May: Igitun Chalne

When: May.

Where: Goa, India.

Why: India’s sunshine state offers more than just beaches and raves. Before heading out to set the dance floor ablaze, attendees to this festival will see some fancy footwork of another kind as they watch devotees of the Goddess Lairaya walk across a pit of burning coal.

Where to sleep: The festival takes place in the region of Bicholim, but there are a greater number of lodging options in the relatively nearby state capital of Panaji.

June: Chicago Blues Festival

Buckingham fountain Grant Park

When: Annually in June (June 9-11 this year)

Where: Grant Park—Chicago, Illinois

Why: Lake Michigan. The city of wind. Summertime Chi. Any reason is a good reason to check out a festival in Chicago— but if you’re going to do so, it may as well be the city’s largest music festival.

Where to stay: Since the festival itself is free, you may as well go all out and treat yourself by staying at the W Chicago-City Center…beautiful hotel, great location, and less than a kilometer away from Grant Park.


Are you planning to go to any of these festivals, or others not listed, during the first six months of this year? If so, comment below and let us know!


  1. Ramona says:

    Great list. I love the international element. I’ve never heard of most of these festivals. I added a few to my travel list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Holly says:

    Holi is on my bucket list. I really want to go to that.

  3. Lily Ashley says:

    Great! Never tried going on festivals like this. But i will soon. Now travellers have the ideas where to go on their holidays.

  4. Kim says:

    Thanks for providing this list of festivals. My husband and I would like to do more next year.

  5. Eva says:

    Omigosh. I need to do a tour of festivals. I’d likely stick to the Caribbean and do jazz festivals or something, but this is a great idea. I am pretty sure Holi is celebrated in Trinidad as well, so maybe I’ll get to witness that!

  6. Ali Rost says:

    My husband is from Chicago and every year we go to the Blue’s Festival. It’s something we look forward to all year long. I also like the sound of the ice festival. It’s something that’s so unique and different! x

  7. Oh how i wish i can visit some of festivals too. Now travellers have the ideas where to go on their holidays.

  8. Via Bella says:

    I LOVE THIS POST! Really, can’t love it enough. It’s like a built visit list to those Amazing festivals!! I want to go to all of them now!

  9. Besties Notepad says:

    I am from India and we just love the Holi much colourful and playful followed by sweets and dance 🙂

  10. Wow! It would be such a dream to be able to attend at least one of these festivals. And I am actually very happy to know about all of these celebrations worldwide because it just proves that we all have something to celebrate for. Thank you for sharing this. This is a such a feel good article for me.

  11. hal says:

    i literally don’t know anyone who have been to these festivals -so I’m gonna have to share this on my fb… tomatina though later in the year is awesome

  12. Wow! The festivals are so full of life. Some I’ve never even heard of. Thanks for the introduction and the hotel recommendations.

  13. Nay says:

    What a great idea for a post. I didn’t know about lots of the others. I’d love to visit Delhi for Holi it looks amazing

  14. This is so great!! I can’t wait until I get to a place where we can take a year and travel. That is one of our biggest dreams!

  15. I love the idea of the Songkran Festival in Thailand. How cool to have a huge Splash Party to ring in the New Year. I also love the sound of the Chicago Blues festival. My son is a musican and would adore to go and check out this festival.

  16. Liza Perry says:

    I knew about Holi but not about the others, great info! I would love to travel the world going to them!

  17. Claire says:

    Oh wow there are a lot of festivals! I think festivals are a good way to be connected with local families and friends!

  18. I love attending different festivals throughout the year, though I rarely am in another country. The Songkran Festival looks like one of the most fun ones!

  19. Joanna says:

    Festivals are a great reason to travel (not that someone would need reasons to travel, haha). I like that you included on your list all sorts of different festivals and not just music ones. I would love to attend Holi somewhere in India, I bet it’s a memorable experience. The ice festival sounds like a unique event to attend as well.

    • EG III says:

      Those are actually two of my favorites. Given the chance I’d experience Holi again in a different part of India and I’d check out the Japanese/Chinese equivalent of the ice fest!

  20. ellie says:

    A Friend of mine went to Holi this year and it looked incredible with so much energy and happiness! These all sound like such great festivals to attend if you have the chance!

    • EG III says:

      Yes, I went last year and the energy was absolutely amazing! I’d actually go back again if given the chance.

  21. Mimi Green says:

    The ice festival sounds so freaking dope. I’ve never experienced anything close to this. Adding this to my bucket list.

    • EG III says:

      It was pretty cool, I must say. Just getting to the location (tucked into a quaint little town) was an adventure in itself. And the fact the it was a big festival, but not yet overrun with tourist, gave it an even more authentic feel.

  22. Kasi says:

    Festivals are the best! These all seem like they’d be amazing to attend.

  23. Holi festival always looks like so much fun, it’s nice to see the diversity of festivals across the world x

  24. Ayak says:

    I love south Korea, the internet is super fast & the ice fest looks like fun. I’d have to say Eithiopia sounds the most appealing. Im a fool for Injera & East Africa is home!

  25. Ty says:

    The Ice Festival sounds cool but Im good on cold weather. Now Chicago sounds more like my speed. I can definitely do that one.

  26. Carissa says:

    The Ice Festival sounds cool! Since I am from a state that gets LOTS of snow, you would think I wouldn’t want to go to something like that but I would love to go to an ice festival

  27. I love reading about all these festivals Holi is my favorite, I love all the colours.

  28. I was just about to say the same as Ella, I might be biased as I have Portuguese heritage but the festivals in Portugal is amazing. Holi was a good choice that you put down it is a lot if fun! x

  29. Holi is the only festival on this list I’ve heard of but I still haven’t been. I need to save this guide for when I start planning more travel!

    • EG III says:

      Holi is TONS of fun. I’m normally a big fan of solo travel, but for Holi I’d recommend going with a friend or group if possible so you could all join in on the fun!

  30. These look awesome! Such a great guide.

  31. Carola says:

    I love festivals! I’ve visited a music festival in the Netherlands a few weeks ago. And soon there will be midsummer Ibiza festival in the village here I live ( In NL).
    The festivals you’re discussing here look great! Would love to attend the Ice Festival. I have heard of Holi before. But the other ones are completely new to me! They all look great.

  32. Ella Ivoire says:

    These all sound awesome. Have you ever come to Portugal? I’m staying there at the moment and it’s just beautiful in every possible way. The festival I want to attend the most is one in Japan, I can’t wait to have the opportunity to go!

  33. Devon says:

    Festivals are the best when they are a surprise. My favorite was in Japan when I helped carry a shrine the size of a small car for about 5 hours!

  34. I really want to see all great festivals! It’s a good way to take a peek at a nation’s culture and arts. But unfortunately I don’t usually enjoy crowds.I avoid them. So maybe I’ll just be contented at observing them or reading about them from afar

  35. says:

    Man I didn’t know you went to holi!!!’

  36. Sheila Jo Spencer says:

    I won’t be attending any of these festivals this year, but they all sound like worthwhile trips! I’ll be looking forward to your festival list for the second half of the year!

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