Cultural festivals offer the opportunity to enjoy some home comforts in a foreign country while meeting others from the diaspora. They can also be a great chance to learn more about the heritage and cultures of different countries and ethnicities around the world.
No matter where you live or are travelling to, you can always find a variety of festivals celebrating vibrant cultures and people.
We have prepared a selection of 12 cultural festivals around the world that promise to be a whole lot of fun.
So why not add one to your festival calendar?
1. Nigeria Cultural Parade and Festival
September / Root Memorial Park, Clay Street, Downtown Houston.
Free entry with RSVP.
Now in its 3rd year, The Nigerian Cultural Parade and Festival is an energetic celebration of Nigerian Independence, promoting the cultural, social and economic welfare of Nigerians. Houston is home to the largest Nigerian community outside of Nigeria. And this festival welcomes visitors from all different ethnicities to experience and celebrate Nigeria’s rich culture.
During one jam-packed, colourful day, Nigerian culture is honoured with a flamboyant parade, food, dancing, and music.
The parade combines art, dance and folklore to showcase Nigeria’s history, traditions, culture and spirit.
2. El Festival Colombiano
July / Pico Rivera Sports Arena, Whittier, Los Angeles, California.
Admission from $40.
This lively music festival is a colourful, hip-swinging celebration of Colombian independence and culture.
The festival has been going for 13 years and offers three music stages. Experience traditional Colombian music at the tropical stage, including salsa, merengue, bachata and cumbia, or immerse yourself in the hedonistic pleasures of the dance music or reggeaton stages.
Mouth-watering Colombian food and an upbeat party atmosphere make El Festival Colombiano a celebration that can be enjoyed by revellers from all ethnicities and walks of life.
June / 23rd and South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Founded in 1975, the Odunde Festival is America’s largest African American street festival and attracts around half a million people each year.
The huge celebration covers 15 blocks, features 2 live stages of entertainment and over 100 vendor stalls packed with a dazzling array of colourful products and enticing food from African nations, the Caribbean, and Brazil.
African culture, history and traditions are celebrated through music, entertainment, art and cultural events, stalls, food, and performances throughout the day.
This summer festival is a glittering and energised celebration of the sights, sounds, and soul of African culture.
4. Adobo Festival
August / California (location changes annually).
The festival, now in its 14th year, features a jam-packed day of non-stop live music and entertainment, including guest appearances from Filipino celebrities.
Enjoy your favourite tastes of the Philippines from the numerous food vendors at the festival dishing up authentic Filipino favourites.
As well as food and music, there are plenty of stalls to browse and fun activities to get involved in throughout the day.
5. Carnaval Del Sol
July / Concord Pacific Vancouver Presentation Centre, Vancouver.
Tickets from $2.
Vancouver’s Carnaval Del Sol promises two days full of live music, art, dance, sports, workshops, and food celebrating Latin American Culture.
The summer festival, which is the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, hosts over 450 musicians and performers across six stages.
You will also find your taste buds tempted at every turn with over 35 food vendors serving up exquisite Latin American dishes and delicacies.
The carnival itself lasts two days in the run-up to the Latin American Week - with an exciting array of events including an art exhibition, the Fiesta Blanca Cruise, and a Latin Film Night.
6. Taste of Manila
August / Bathurst Street, North York, Toronto, Ontario.
Taste of Manila is an enormous Filipino food festival located in North York, an area of Toronto dubbed “Little Manila” because of its high population of Filipinos.
Since the first one in 2014, Taste of Manila has gone on to become the largest Filipino street festival outside of the Philippines, now attracting over 350,000 visitors each year. Primarily a food festival, the sights and smells as you stroll around the festival are a real treat for the senses. Just some of the delicious, traditional Filipino dishes you can sample include adobo, halo halo, sinigang, tapsilog and lumpia.
Once you’ve had your fill, there’s plenty more to see and do. Get ready to be entertained by live music, a street parade, dancing, activities for the kids, and over 75 street vendors.
July / Woodbine Park, Toronto, Ontario.
Afrofest is a family-friendly celebration of African culture and music, held annually in Toronto, one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Established in 1990, the festival now attracts around 120,000 visitors each year, and has become the largest free African music festival in Northern America.
This vivid African extravaganza is divided into five areas – the main stage, youth stage, drum stage, children’s village and marketplace.
With over 35 live acts throughout the weekend, around 75 vendors selling products sourced from Africa, kid’s games and activities, and delectable African cuisine to tickle your taste buds, Afrofest is a fun-filled day out.
8. Africa Oyé
June / Sefton Park, Liverpool.
Every year the Africa Oyé festival welcomes a diverse audience of over 75,000 people to come together and celebrate African and Caribbean music and culture.
This summer festival is the largest free celebration of African and Caribbean culture in the UK and promotes community and multiculturism.
Africa Oyé hosts a truly eclectic line-up of African and Caribbean musical talent. From traditional music to international artists, DJ sessions, and up-and-coming UK musicians, there’s something for the whole family.
Visit the festival’s Oyé African Village to browse over 80 vibrant stalls selling mouth-watering African cuisine, traditional arts and crafts, African clothing and jewellery, and lots more.
9. Barrio Fiesta SA London
July / Apps Court Farm, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey.
Early bird ticket prices start at just £3.55.
London’s Barrio Fiesta has grown enormously since it’s modest beginnings in 1985. The event is now Europe’s largest gathering of Filipinos and attracts over 25,000 visitors each year.
This summer festival is a two-day weekend event that brings alive the spirit of the Filipino fiesta and celebrates Filipino pride, culture, food and entertainment.
The family-friendly fiesta includes kids’ activities, Filipino games, Filipino stars and celebrities, and live cultural music and performances. Live music includes both local acts and stars flown over from the Philippines.
Visitors can also enjoy the tastes and aromas of authentic Filipino food.
10. Kenya in the Park
July / Plaistow Park, Greengate, Plaistow, London.
Tickets start at £10.
The heart of the event’s aim is to bring together and unite the Kenyan diaspora within the UK, creating a sense of community and cultural pride.
The family-friendly event includes entertainment, food, Kenyan music and dance, activities and inspirational speakers.
The event also encourages professional networking amongst the Kenyan community, offering a platform to showcase entrepreneurship and youth talent.
11. Latin American Film Festival
September / Dendy Opera Quays, Sydney.
Tickets from $19.90 for a single session.
Now in its 14th year, Sydney’s Latin American Film Festival focusses on showcasing films and documentaries from or about Latin America.
Throughout the festival, you can expect to enjoy Q&As and talks from special guests, Latino music and dancing, and a full and diverse program of the most exciting new Latin American cinema.
The festival aims to promote and showcase the talent and diversity of Latin American cinema in Australia.
12. African Music and Cultural Festival
Melbourne / Federation Square, Melbourne, Victoria.
The African Music and Cultural Festival is the largest annual African festival in Australia, attracting over 40,000 visitors each year.
The one-day event is a family-friendly celebration of African culture, diversity, and harmony. It welcomes visitors of all ethnicities to celebrate, have fun, and learn more about African heritage and African Australian communities.
The festivities begin with an opening parade, which is followed by a program of non-stop entertainment throughout the day. Visitors will be transported to Africa by traditional music and dancing, arts, cultural performance and theatre, authentic African food, fashion shows, and drumming.
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