August Festivals around the World

Which Festival is in August?

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The month of August has many events and festivals. Some of the most notable include the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, La Tomatina in Spain, and Obon in Japan.

1. Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Every August Edinburgh becomes a hive of creativity as artists take to hundreds of stages across the city in an enormous festival of performing arts. It’s an open-access (or “unjuried”) event that includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, and exhibitions.

Fringe events take place in pub basements, churches, club spaces, opulent circus tents, and everything in between. And it’s not just established performers who take the gamble to bring their work here – newcomers have found the Fringe has catapulted their careers.

The official Fringe Festival dates are from Friday August 4 to Monday August 28 but many shows have previews from the preceding Wednesday. It’s co-hosted by the International Festival, which unites new and experienced artists to highlight groundbreaking theatre works.

2. La Tomatina

The last Wednesday of August is the date for Spain’s messiest festival. Taking place in Bunol, a medieval town west of Valencia, La Tomatina is the world’s biggest food fight. It’s a day for revelry and letting go of inhibitions, but it’s also a chance to enjoy Spain’s most famous dish—paella. There are all sorts of pre-event activities, including paella cook-offs and parades, before the main event kicks off with a splash.

It’s not clear how or why this wild tomato battle began, but the townfolk of Bunol love it so much that it has stayed on as an officially recognised celebration each year. All you need is a ticket, some old clothes (preferably white) and eye protection such as goggles to participate. The fun lasts an hour or so until a blast of firecrackers signals the end of the battle.

3. Obon

Obon is a Japanese family festival celebrating the spirits of one’s ancestors. It takes place around August and is one of Japan’s three major holidays.

It is believed that the ancestors return to earth during Obon in order to reunite with their living relatives. It is also the time of year where families visit and clean up their ancestors’ graves.

The dates of the Obon celebration vary by region and depend on the lunar calendar. However, most Obon events take place between the 14th and 16th of August.

During the Obon, dances called Bon Odori are performed in public places such as parks, temple parking lots, and courtyards by both young and old alike. They are accompanied by the sound of Japanese drums, known as taiko. The style of the dance varies widely from region to region. In addition, toro nagashi (paper lanterns with candles inside) are floated down rivers that lead to the sea and into the sky.

4. Carnival

During the ten days of Carnival, parades floats and troupes make their way through the streets. The top samba schools get the chance to showcase their skills in front of millions at the Sambodromo stadium. A panel of judges watches every move, appraising the thread and sequins in each costume. The best floats and costumes are crowned on Fat Tuesday (also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras).

Carnival is a merrymaking season that reaches its peak in many countries with a significant Roman Catholic population. It usually takes place in the weeks before Ash Wednesday and Lent, a time when Roman Catholics traditionally abstained from meat and other ascetic practices.

The Antiguan Carnival is held during the second week of August. The festivities start with J’ouvert on Carnival Monday and culminate in the capital of St Johns. The capital is packed to capacity with people dancing to steel band music and enjoying the dazzling display of costumes.

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