Festivals and Events in Europe
Hogmany, Scotland: New Years is of course celebrated throughout Europe, but Scotland is one where you will find the best parties. There are torch lit processions, concerts, fireworks and of course flowing alcohol to ensure New Years Eve goes out with a bang.
Venice Carnival, Italy : The Venice carnival is a colorful affair with fancy costumes, balls, parades and street parties. It is part of the carnival season, but possibly the biggest and earliest party.
Feast of St Blaise, Croatia: The patron saint of Dubrovnik in Croatia is remembered on the 3rd February every year. There are street parades in is honor as well as feats, wine and a day off work.
Carnival, Europe-wide: Carnival is a Christian celebration held throughout Europe. It was originally a Pagan celebration, but today is used by the Christians and sees feasts, street parties and masquerade balls. It begins two to three weeks before Ash Wednesday and finishes in time for Lent.
St Patrick’s Day, Ireland: March 17th sees Irish people throughout the world celebrate their patron saint. Guinness is the order of the day and the whole of Ireland becomes one enormous party.
Budapest Spring Music Festival, Hungary: The last two weeks in March see Budapest come to life with the music festival. There are a number of exhibitions and shows throughout the city including art displays, dance and theatre shows and lots to keep the kids entertained.
Easter, Europe-wide: Celebrations throughout Europe vary widely, although the meaning of Easter is the same throughout the continent.
Shakespeare season, England: Stratford-upon-Avon welcomes the Royal Shakespeare Company every April for a season in the home of Shakespeare. It is a must see for fans of this great playwright.
Amsterdam Orange Festival, Netherlands: The city comes to life on April 30th for a day of drinking and reveling in true Dutch style.
Prague Spring International Music Festival, Czech Republic: This is one of Europe’s musical highlights. Held in the last two weeks of April every year.
Chelsea Flower Show, England : A spectacular display of some of Britain’s best flowers and nicest gardens. Perfect for those with green fingers.
Zurich Festival, Switzerland: Every year at the beginning of June, international performers arrive in the city and put on fun filled shows.
Summer festivals, Europe-wide : June is traditionally the month when the summer festival season kicks into action. The dance festival in Zagreb, Croatia marks the start every year June 1st.
Palio, Italy: This famous horserace is held in around the main square in Siena. Anything-goes as the frenzied riders compete all out for the prestigious first place. The parties afterwards are something to remember.
Running of the Bulls, Spain: This is something of a dangerous festival held form July 6th for a week. It sees people dressing in white with red handkerchiefs deliberately coaxing bulls o chase them through the streets. Many people are injured and the ‘fun’ does not end until the bulls have chased everyone to safety.
Bastille Day, France: The birth of France is celebrated on July 14th every year with fairs, parades and parties. It begins with a procession along the Champs-Elysées.
Edinburgh Festival, Scotland: This festival is one of the most popular in Europe. It is held every August for two weeks and attracts some of the world’s most-loved performers. The Fringe Theatre Festival runs alongside the main event, adding to the fun.
Helsinki Festival, Finland: Mid-August is a time for people to descend upon Helsinki. This arts festival sees people attend from all over the world to enjoy concerts, performances and exhibitions.
Bloemencorso, Netherlands: The first Saturday of September sees another flower festival aimed at brightening up people’s lives. It is the major flower festival in the country and includes colorful floats making their way from Aalmeer to Amsterdam.
Oktoberfest, Germany: Munich is home to this world-famous event, the main aim of which is to drink as much beer as possible. It attracts tens of thousands of people all looking to have a good time. It starts in mid-September (despite the name) and ends the first weekend in October.
Braemar Highland Games, Scotland: These traditional games are great fun for all the family. There are some rather odd sports only seen in Scotland such as tossing the caber and they are also a great chance to immerse yourself in the Scottish culture. They usually begin on or around September 20th.
Budapest Autumn Music Festival, Hungary: A fun-filled festival for everyone, but especially for children. There are poetry readings, musical performances, art exhibitions and a wide variety of other treats.
Halloween, Europe-wide: October 31st is traditionally a day for dressing up as witches and ghouls and going out to play trick or treat on your neighbors. It is not as popular as it is in the US and many countries actually celebrate the following day.
All Saints’ Day, Europe-wide: November 1st is a holy day for Catholics throughout Europe. It is a national holiday in many Eastern European countries and a time to remember those family members and friends who are no longer living.
Guy Fawkes Night, England: November 5th is otherwise known as fireworks night; an historical day in Britain remembering when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. There are fireworks, bonfires and lots of fun.
Christmas, Europe-wide: Wherever you are in Europe, Christmas is a great time of year. Festivities begin at the beginning of December and in some countries last through until January 6th (Epiphany). Countries throughout Europe celebrate on different days; some, such as Holland, Germany and Poland celebrate St Nicholas’s Day on December 6th. Whatever day it is held, it is a time for children to receive gifts and for those who are religious to remember the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas.