Festivals are a living, dancing museum of cultures and traditions in an increasingly globalized world. There is no better place for travellers to understand a country than an event where it proudly celebrates its individuality, whether through music, camel races or monumental food fights.
The top festivities for May are listed below.
Processione dei Serpari (Festival of the Snakes)
Location: Cocullo, Italy.
Date: First Thursday in May.
The feast of St. Domenic might sound fairly tame, but that’s only until you throw in a writhing nest of snakes. One of Italy’s strangest festivals, the Processione dei Serpari is celebrated in the tiny Abruzzan hamlet of Cocullo by adorning a statue of St Domenic (the protector against snake bites) with jewels, banknotes and live snakes.
Naghol (Land Diving)
Location: Pentecost Island, Vanuatu.
Dates: Diving ceremonies usually take place each Saturday through April and May.
When the first yam crop emerges in early April on the Vanuatu island of Pentecost, the southern islanders begin to build high wooden towers. Once completed, and through until about the end of May, village men and boys dive from these rickety structures with only two vines attached to their ankles to break their fall (yes, naghol was the inspiration for bungee jumping).
Cheung Chau Bun Festival
Location: In front of Pak Tai Temple, Cheung Chau, Hong Kong.
Dates: Starts on the sixth day of the fourth lunar month, usually late April or early May.
Unique to the Hong Kong island of Cheung Chau, the Bun Festival is renowned for its rocket-shaped towers standing up to 20m high and covered with sacred rolls. At midnight on the designated day (the Buddha’s birthday public holiday) competitors scramble up the towers, grabbing a bun for good luck.
Romería del Rocío (Pilgrimage of El Rocío)
Location: Ermita del Rocío, El Rocío, Spain.
Dates: The pilgrimage concludes in El Rocío on Pentecost (49 days after Easter).
Spain’s biggest religious pilgrimage draws hundreds of thousands of festive pilgrims to the Huelva village of El Rocío every Pentecost to commemorate the story of the sacred effigy of Nuestra Señora del Rocío (Our Lady of El Rocío). Like most of Spain’s holiest images, this one – known as La Blanca Paloma (the White Dove) – has legendary origins. ..
Read More: lonelyplanet.com