The benefits of planning a trip around festivals

Everyone travels in their own way and according to very personal criteria: geography, language, culture, gastronomy, flight time and jet lag, degree of change of scenery… For me, festivals have always played a major role in the planning of my trips. As a tourism professional and seasoned traveller, I always identify the various events I want to attend to plan flights, accommodation and the overall itinerary once tickets have been purchased.

Festivals naturally make me want something new or to rediscover a destination from another angle. This is a unique opportunity to plan a journey around one or more events. The combination of a festival with the pre and post trip plans makes it an exclusive immersion.

Yosakoi Soran Festival, Japan

I know Japan pretty well and I like to rediscover this country differently every time I plan to visit again. Last year I was fortunate enough to attend the Yosakoi Soran Festival which takes place every year in Sapporo. Yosakoi is a unique style of dance originating in Japan that appeared in the city of Kōchi in 1954.  Now a traditional dance of summer festivals.

The Yosakoi style has since spread to the rest of Japan and also overseas. Every year in June, the city of Sapporo is punctuated by thousands of dancers who come from all over Japan to perform this style of dance in the streets. It was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the local culture, Japanese customs and traditions. To witness this particular effervescence by mingling with the crowds, and at the same time to discover Sapporo and Hokkaido differently.

Dia de los Muertos, Mexico

On another note, I had the chance to participate in El dia de los Muertos, the celebration of the Day of the Dead, which takes place on October 31, November 1 and 2 in Mexico every year. I decided to celebrate this special event in Oaxaca. From the evening of October 31, the party is in full swing at the large cemetery of Oaxaca.

The places are dressed in flowers and lanterns. Families clean the graves, picnic on them while remembering their ancestors. This celebration takes over the city with parades of floats, songs, music, and giant skeletons that come, for an evening, to make people forget the pain of the loss of a loved one. This celebration is amazing and serves as a reminder that honouring our dead is a great lesson in life for Mexicans. It is a great event around which I plotted my Mexican journey.

This event gave my trip a whole new meaning, allowing me to grasp the unshakeable connection between life and death in Mexico. I couldn’t have understood this if I hadn’t been in Mexico at this precise moment of the festival.

For me, taking a trip means reinventing myself and learning all the time. Including key events in your travel, won’t mean that you’ll miss out on the must-sees of a destination (historic sites, renowned museums, tasting local specialties, etc.). Festivals thus give the sensation of participating in something exceptional and ephemeral, which requires you to enjoy the destination intensely … They also allow a more in-depth discovery of the destination with a better understanding of the customs and traditions.