As we continue our countdown to the Olympics, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some summer festivals around the world—a place where culture, education, and fun collide.
We start with Canada, the city of Calgary in Alberta, hikes up their Wranglers every year to transform their mountainside metropolis into a frontier town as they kicked off the Calgary Stampede. Billed as the greatest outdoor show on Earth, the Stampede draws in millions of tourists from around the world for 10 days of exhibition and rodeo fun.
The Stampede is a perfect place to brush up on your western heritage—and try a slice of cockroach pizza if you’re brave enough to get past the “crunch”—but it’s not the only summer festival on the map.
Travel to Mongolia to participate ( or just watch!) Naadam, also known as “the three games of men”, the biggest traditional festival held in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital. Each July, men compete in Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Today, women are allowed to participate in the archery and horse racing—but wrestling is still out.
Or how about the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, the only place you’re likely to find a bagpipe player and a belly dancer on stilts…hanging out. The size of this festival almost doubles annually and draws people from as far away as Japan, Europe, and Australia. What do they do there? Sounds like a great research question.
Perhaps you’d rather learn more about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, crowned as the largest arts festival in the world. Attendees can see almost 3,000 shows at 300 different venues across the city.
If food is more your thing, consider La Tomatina in Bunol, Spain. On the last weekend in August, the town is splattered with thousands of crushed tomatoes in what is touted to be the world’s biggest food fight. Don’t forget your goggles!
Kite fliers come from all over the world in August to the International Kite Festival in Portsmouth in the UK, to participate in one of the world’s largest kite flying displays. Spectators can see colourful arrays of snakes, frogs, lizards, whales, fish, and salamanders performing musical routines and tricks in the sky. A wonderful event for the entire family.
There’s the famous Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea. What started as a way to promote the region’s mineral-rich mud has become a two-week party featuring mud pools and slides, music, and even fireworks.
And although we have missed this year’s event, we can’t exclude the most famous and celebrated festival in Brazil, Carnival, celebrated before Lent each year. Rio de Janerio, host to the 2016 Olympics, holds a party full of parades, music, and outrageous costumes with over 2 million people on the streets each day.
What teaching moments can you create by talking about festivals around the world? What do they say about a nation’s culture? Research and share a cultural festival in your city or country. Hold a multi-cultural festival in your school where students share their cultural heritage through dress, food and music.
Planning a summer break of your own? Maybe one of these events caught your interest! If so, we hope you share a few snapshot on our Instagram page.
~ The Teachers Media Team