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The Real Beauty Of Festivals

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Let’s face it. One reason why people love to travel is their ability to have fun with their loved ones – especially during festival season. From the world’s music festivals to your town’s harvest festivals, you can always rest assure that you’ll have a worthwhile seeing experience as you attend in one and just let yourself take in the event’s vibrant culture and especially the place’s rich history through something people enjoy doing under the warm sun.

But that’s the real beauty of festivals, you know? Having fun with your loved ones, all the while seeing places like you’ve never seen before and doing something you enjoy doing under the warm sun. And of course, who could ever forget about the other perks of travelling during festival season such as that of getting access to some of the world’s best locations for having fun with your loved ones like open fields and amusement parks?

And let’s also face it. Another reason why people love to travel is their capability to have fun with their own selves – even during the USC Film Festival. From your town’s patron festivals to the world’s movie festivals, you can also assure that you’ll have a worthwhile doing experience as you attend in one and just let yourself take in the place’s rich history and even the people’s vibrant culture through something people enjoy doing over the cool air.

And that’s the real beauty of festivals, you know? Having fun with your own self, all the while experiencing things like you’ve never experienced before and doing something you enjoy doing over the cool air. But of course, who could ever forget about the other perks of travelling during festival season such as that of getting access to some of the world’s best locations for having fun with your own self like closed domes and exclusive bars?

3 Unmissable Festivals in India
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3 Unmissable Festivals in India

Diwali Festival

There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won’t go. For me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds… I had been seeing the world in black & white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor. — Keith Bellows, National Geographic Society

Just looking at a picture of Taj Mahal already hints of the majestic sight it would be for real and up close. It may even inspire a burning desire to travel to India to see it and as much of the many attractions the country boast of. But apart from the spectacular sights, dramatic landscapes, scenic tea plantations, and the superb cuisine, India is also home to some of the world’s most famous festivals that showcase its rich history as well as cultural and religious heritage. If you are lucky, you may even get to celebrate an Indian festival during your visit. In a nation known for its great festivals, here are just some of the best ones you will not want to miss.

1. Diwali
Highlights: Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a famous Hindu festival celebrated every year around mid-October or mid-November. Houses are lit up with beautiful lights many using clay lamps or candles. The celebration also features spectacular fireworks displays that light up the night sky.

2. Ganesh Chaturthi
Highlights: For ten days, India celebrates the Hindu festival Ganesh Chaturthi. Some of this festivals top attractions are the Ganesh idols decorated in homes or in public spaces, the wide array of cultural activities, and the culminating event where people immerse a Ganesh idol in a lake or at the sea.

3. Holi
Highlights: Beautiful and colorful, the Festival of Colors is one of India’s best-known festivals. Holika bonfires are lit during the eve of Holi. People then gather around the bonfires to dance and sing. And during the day of Holi itself, people spend time outdoors playing with colors.

festivals

5 Unique and Strange Festivals in Japan

There are numerous festivals in Japan. From the most popular like the Gion Matsuri (Kyoto) and Kanda Matsuri (Tokyo) to the lesser known local matsuri, the country celebrates its festivals with flair. Here’s a look at some of the unique festivals you can only find in Japan.

1. Akutai Matsuri

Where: Atago Shrine, 102 Izumi, Kasama-shi, Ibaraki
The Festival: Also known as the Cursing Festival, Akutai Matsuri features 13 monks dressed up as tengu (mythical goblins or demons). Spectators are free to hurl insults and curse at the tengu as they parade around the shrine.

2. Kanamara Matsuri

Where: Kanayama-jinja, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa
The Festival: Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Steel Phallus) is a phallus-themed fertility festival. It is also often referred to as the Penis Festival. The event features a phallic-shaped mikoshi, a giant pink penis effigy, and phallus-inspired items like candies.

3. Namahage Sedo Festival

Where: Shinzan Shrine, Oga-shi, Akita
The Festival: Namahage Sedo Festival combines the Shinto Saitousai ritual and the traditional Namahage. It follows a series of fascinating rituals one of the most stunning of which is when the participants wearing masks and bearing torches come down from the mountain and parade around the shrine.

4. Paantu Festival

Where: Miyako-jima, Okinawa
The Festival: Paantu is a festival in Miyako-jima that dates back to several centuries ago. Villages dressed up as spirit beings (paantus) covered in mud and leaves. Their role is to drive demons away from the island. It is believed that being touched by the paantus bring good luck. Although judging from the sight of children crying and running away, it would seem that the sight of mud-covered paantus drive away not just demons but thoughts of good luck as well.

5. Somin-sai

Where: Kokuseki-ji Temple Yamauchi-17 Mizusawaku Kuroishicho Oshu, Iwate
The Festival: Somin-sai, also known as Festival of Naked Men and Fire, dates back to 1,000 years ago. The festival is held in the cold month of February. It draws men from all across Japan who want to take part in this centuries-old ritual believed to bring good health and happiness for the year. The men dressed up in fundoshi or loincloth brave the chilly temperature as they walk from the temple to the icy Ruritsubo River.

How to Make Your Summer Fun and Fulfilling
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How to Make Your Summer Fun and Fulfilling

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Every season is a fresh start to do a lot of things that enrich your life. It can also be a time for new beginnings or explorations and discoveries. Whether you are looking for adventures or opportunities for growth, you can make your summer more fruitful and enjoyable. If you are thinking of making plans for a great summer, the following ideas can be useful in setting you off to a good start.

Reflect on what you need. Do you want to broaden your horizon? Do you want to expand your social network? Do you want to upgrade your skills or learn new ones? Summer is a good time to pursue the things that nurtures you mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. If you have been spending the previous months barely maintaining a work-life balance, planning an inspiring summer that involves more time with your family and yourself may be a good idea.

Challenge yourself. Set a goal that you can accomplish during the summer months. It could be a short-term goal or something in line with stretch goal that you may have neglected to focus on for a while. Whatever those short term objectives may be, make sure that they are aligned with your big goals. Goal-setting is an excellent motivator and can inspire you to make the most of your summer days.

Explore and experience something you have not done before. Think of something that you have not done before or anything that is out of character you want to explore. This can be a good opportunity to stretch yourself and discover untapped abilities. Make room for adventure. Take up a new sport or hobby. Or try doing something that scares you. The possibilities are endless when it comes to things that bring you out of your comfort zone.

Travel for a vacation and festival. Go somewhere you have never been before. Experience a local festival. See as many sights as you can and do more of the activities you can enjoy in the place you visit. Get to know people from the area and immerse yourself in the local culture. Use the time to refresh and recharge before you get back to your daily routines.