As an expat, you have the luxury to experience exotic, fun holidays in foreign countries. But what are the top expat holidays you should check out? Today, we want to share seven holidays that people find the most fun around the world.
This is one of the biggest holidays for China, a country that represents 20% of the world population. Chinese New Year (also known as the Spring Festival) celebrates the start of the new year in the traditional lunisolar calendar.
Celebrations last from the first day of the year to the fifteenth day. It usually begins around mid-January and ends around mid-February. The exact date differs every year because of the calendar.
The festivities during the holiday are visually spectacular. Houses, doors, and windows are dressed up with red decorations to signify good luck, wealth, longevity, and happiness. People parade the streets dressed in giant red dragons and shoot off massive fireworks. Families gather for annual reunion dinners with large banquets of food.
Many cultural traditions are celebrated that are quite fun. Red paper envelopes filled with money are given to children as gifts. Mooncakes are given out and eaten only during the celebrations.
Other than Mainland China, there are many other countries that celebrate this holiday. These include Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, and the Philippines.
While the holiday is celebrated throughout the country, there are certain cities you should visit if you want to see the best of the holiday. Beijing and Hong Kong are great cities to visit because they have the resources to put on the largest firework displays, food festivals, and performances.
2. St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland
This holiday takes place on March 17th in Ireland. It was originally created to celebrate Saint Patrick. He was kidnapped from Britain by Irish pirates and held as a slave. One day, he escaped and eventually returned to successfully convert many people to Christianity.
When it was brought over to the United States by immigrants, the holiday turned from a religious event to a secular celebration. Ireland has since caught up and adopted the same culture during the holiday to promote tourism and boost the economy. They have a multi-day St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin, with a parade and a variety of performances.
If you cannot make it to Dublin in time, do not worry. Many other areas of Ireland celebrate in a similar fashion during the holiday.
This holiday was started in 1810 to honor Prince Ludwig’s wedding. Since then, it has become the largest beer festival in the world, with over 6 million people attending every year. The celebration lasts from late September to early October.
Large amounts of Oktoberfest Beer are consumed as part of the celebrations. The beer is special because only certain breweries can produce it. Festivities also include games, amusement park rides, and traditional German food.
The cultural foods eaten include Sauerkraut, Schweinebraten (roast pork), Weisswurst (white sausage), and Brezen (pretzels).
And don’t forget about the parades. Decorated horse carriages, music bands, and floats of breweries parade around the city.
Oktoberfest is celebrated throughout the world in Brazil, Canada, and the USA thanks to German immigrants. However, the undisputed best place to be during the event is in Munich, Germany.
4. Día de los Muertos – Day of the Dead
This is one of Mexico’s most famous holidays. It is celebrated to honor relatives who have died.
Every family creates an altar, which is decorated with pictures of the dead, sugar skulls, and cultural food. It happens on November 1st.
People dress up in skull artwork make-up and some wear full skeleton costumes or colorful dresses. Shells are often worn on clothes so that the noise made while dancing will wake up the dead.
Day of the Dead is celebrated outside of Mexico too. You can find similar festivities in Bolivia, Brazil, and Ecuador.
5. Basant Kite Festival
This is an Indian celebration for one of their six seasons of spring. People all over the country meet to celebrate the change in climate. During this holiday, they have a kite festival. Thousands of kites are flown in the air at the same time.
Cultural foods like Gajar Halwa (carrot fudge) and Laddu (ball-shaped dough sweets) are eaten.
Everyone wears yellow and decorates their house with yellow flowers to celebrate the season.
6. Deepavali (Diwali)
Deepavali (Diwali) is a festival of lights that lasts for five days as part of the Hindu tradition.
The holiday is celebrated on the 13th lunar day of Krishna paksha in the Hindu calendar (usually around mid-October to mid-November). It signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, hope over despair, and knowledge over ignorance.
If you want to see the lights, there are plenty of countries you can go to. Diwali is celebrated in India, Fiji, Nepal, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Indonesia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.
7. Eid al-Fitr
This is an important Muslim holiday that is celebrated worldwide. It happens at the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
It is the first day after 29 or 30 days where you can eat before the sun has set. It is a time of celebration that happens after a month of deprivation to “cleanse the soul of impurities.”
Delicious, cultural food is eaten during this time. This might include Ketupat, Opor ayam, and Sayur lodeh.
What Will You Experience Next?
There are many fantastic holidays in the world worth experiencing before you die. The variety of foods and festivities available are a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you never go out of your way to try them out, you may never experience them.
As an expat, tour the world while you are still young because you will not regret it. But make sure you pick up insurance while you are abroad to avoid unexpected fees.