Don your masks and get stuck into this traditional Italian festival, full of masquerade balls, live music and historic traditions. The 12 day long carnival gives you the opportunity to dress up in extravagant clothing, eat as much Italian food as possible and watch some traditional Italian theatre. What’s not to love!?
The festival begins in February, two weeks before Ash Wednesday and finishes on Shrove Tuesday.
Battaglia delle Arance – Ivrea
Stay in Italy for this orange-tastic celebration. Spectators and participants alike line the streets of Ivrea for three days to participate in an orange-throwing battle. Much like Spain’s famous La Tomatina festival, this event – which begins on shrove Tuesday – holds no prisoners.
With nine teams of ‘revolutionaries’ and 40,000kg of ripe oranges, you’ll have to be prepared to get a little sticky. And why do they do it? Apparently, back in the 12th Century, a Miller’s daughter sparked a revolt against a local count, after he declared his rights to any unmarried woman in the town. They used stones to pelt his troops, but, thankfully, these have been substituted for a softer option ever since.
Starkbierzeit – Munich
With a name which means the festival of strong beer, it’s no wonder that Starkbierzeit is a hit with locals and tourists alike. The event, which starts on March 19th, symbolises summer’s imminent arrival and, as you might expect, involves five days of solid beer drinking.
The beer festival is famous for its strong ales (the doppelbocks), so you’ll have leave the car keys alone for a few days. Book yourself into a local hotel and bring your A game, because you won’t get far without a strong stomach here.
King’s Day – Amsterdam
With a mere hop and jump across the German border, you’ll be ready for Amsterdam’s King’s day on April 27th. With a celebration sure to make Queen Elizabeth blush, the Dutch have a rather unique approach to celebrating a royal birthday. This national holiday is traditionally held on April 30th to celebrate Queen Beatrix’s birthday, but, from 2014, with the abdication of Queen Beatrix, Queen’s day is to become King’s day, in honour of Willem-Alexander.
Despite the change in monarch, the celebrations are bound to be as raucous as ever before so don’t forget to bring your orange t-shirt!
Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling – England
It’s the great British tradition which makes no logical sense whatsoever, even to the people who participate. In a nutshell, you’ll experience lots of people rolling down a very steep hill after a block of Double Gloucester cheese, in the English town of Brockworth.
The event, which has been tradition for 300 years, is not for the faint-hearted and has seen many injuries over the years. If you fancy getting involved, you’ll have to be at least 18 years of age and can’t be afraid of a few grass stains. This event draws around 5000 spectators every year, so why not get involved in the wonderful wackiness?
This article was brought to you by Isabelle Guarella. Isabelle is a writer for PassSmart.com who loves to travel and explore new places.
(Photo via dohabrands.com, edited)