There are loads of great festivals in April to go to. It’s the start of the big festival season in the western world, and it’s down to you to make the most of it!
Time to get that summer of festivals started with these wonderful April celebrations around the world!
April traditionally means Easter on this side of the world, and you know what Easter means aside from eggs and pancakes? Festivals!
The April festival calendar is a delight. Things are getting serious for the year from now on. If you want to start off your festival year right, then book yourself onto one these great April festivals, and get your friends involved too!
April festivals around the world
Here are the best April celebrations to add to your year’s festival calendar. These festivals in April are the best of the month.
1. Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh
29th – 30th April 2024
Beltane is a Celtic festival that was once celebrated throughout the world by many different cultures. Beltane celebrations in April include bonfires, where people walked around or between them as part of purification rituals and to offer their wishes for fertility in this new season; bright shining fires against darkness are symbolic reminders of light overcoming dark forces and hopefully bringing peace on earth.
The Beltane Fire Festival takes place annually at Calton Hill just outside Edinburgh’s city centre with thousands descending upon it every year from all over Europe. The celebration includes plenty more than fire though – there’s live music, dance performances, storytelling events and even an overnight campfire ceremony!
It’s a beautiful day for people to come out and celebrate with their friends at the Edinburgh Fire Festival.
Enjoy music performances throughout the park as well as participating in some traditional Highland Games such as tossing stones weighing 3lb each over your shoulder while running 7 yards backwards without turning round; jumping rope using alternate feet only and throwing hammers as far as possible.
2. Kanamara Matsura, Japan
7th April 2024
Kanamara Matsura is a small town that may seem like any other – but the population here has an unusual obsession. They worship Kanamata, who according to legend was once granted special powers by her lover after being badly injured in battle. Though she eventually died from these wounds and closed off access to this mystical power, it lives on through those who still honour her today – with giant wooden penises erected all around town as reminders of her legacy (though some locals claim they’re just for good luck).
The people of Kanamara Matsura have adopted their own strange tradition: erecting giant phallic symbols everywhere possible–from outside shops to residential homes—in order pay homage not only spiritually but physically too!
The Kanamara Matsuri is celebrated in Japan and goes back for centuries. As one of the most important festivals in April it celebrates the penis, fertility, and good fortune which are all symbolised by a phallus shaped object called an ‘Ishibutai’.
The yearly celebration of this tradition takes place at Yasukuni Jinja Shrine where people come from across Japan to celebrate and to give thanks for protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
This is definitely one of the April celebrations I’d most like to see!
3. Coachella, USA
12th – 14th and 19th – 21st April 2024
Coachella is a music festival in April that takes place in California and brings together some of the most popular musicians from around the world to perform. We definitely can’t talk about festivals in April without mentioning it!
Many people make Coachella their yearly pilgrimage because it has hosted many famous artists like Beyoncé, Radiohead, Kanye West and Lady Gaga. There are also art installations all over which makes for an interesting experience!
The line up this year looks great!
4. New Orleans Jazz Festival, USA
26th April – 5th May 2024
The New Orleans Jazz Festival is one of the most important festivals in the USA.
It takes place at a beautiful venue called Riverfront Park with over 1,000 performances each year (pandemic willing). The New Orleans Jazz Festival has been taking place since 1970 and celebrates jazz music from around the world as well as Louisiana culture.
Immerse yourself into this vibrant environment by exposing your senses to sights, sounds, tastes and smells that are uniquely New Orleans: spicy Cajun NOLA food wafts through every aisle; dancers perform on stages for crowds admiring their skills; musicians entertain while people dance along or just look on appreciatively – the atmosphere is electric!
Unfortunately when I went, in 2015, it was called off halfway through because of the rain. My lasting memory is Stevie Wonder on stage with a loudspeaker trying to get people to enjoy themselves while the muddy ground was turning to marsh and people were ankle (if not knee) deep in mud.
Great up till that point though – the atmosphere in New Orleans is incredible!
5. Snowbombing, Austria
8th – 13th April 2024
If you’re looking for a thrilling and unforgettable experience this winter, try the Snowbombing Festival in Austria. Taking place in Tyrol, the festival hosts over 1000 international artists from across all genres. You can enjoy live performances ranging from electro-swing to synthwave, as well as DJs spinning hip hop beats or techno mixes to your heart’s content.
Pack your winter outfits and get ready for a snow filled adventure at the Snowbombing Festival in Austria. With over 20 years of experience, this winter festival is not only full of fun activities but also tonnes of great music to enjoy from headliners like Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy or Dusky just to name a few. If you’re looking for something more low key then there are various bars with plenty of live DJs playing all day long too.
It’s also one of the coolest skiing festivals in Europe!
6. Seville Feria, Spain
14th – 20th April 2024
The Sevilla Feria is one of the most famous and historic festivals in Europe. It happens every year from April to May, with a major celebration on Saturday at La Plaza de España.
The Sevilla Plaza has been hosting this event for centuries, it’s considered one of the world’s top 10 must-see events by Forbes Magazine. You’ll find people singing around gypsy fires called braziers while others dance across cobblestone streets alongside horses adorned in royal crowns or wide brimmed hats.
The Seville Feria is a lively and colourful event that attracts more than one million people to the city during every three days of celebration. The festival features many entertainment options such as concerts from international superstars like Justin Timberlake, Morrissey and Stevie Wonder; sporting competitions including bullfights in which participants fight bulls with nothing but wooden sticks called banderillas; flamenco performances by some of Spain’s best dancers who are dressed elegantly in traditional costume while dancing on stage.
The Seville Feria was founded after a military conquest by King Alfonso X’s troops, in which he encouraged his soldiers to bring back their new-found loot from battle for an extravagant celebration with food, wine and dancing. People come together every year on Friday evening until Monday morning celebrating over 3 days filled with events ranging from equestrian competitions through elaborate theatrical performances that happen throughout the city streets as well as more intimate theatres.
7. Koningsdag, Netherlands
27th April 2024
Koningsdag, or ‘King’s Day’ is a national holiday in the Netherlands. It commemorates King Willem-Alexander’s accession to the throne and all are welcome into Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague for this day of celebration, regardless of their nationality or residence status.
Koningsdag gives people living abroad an opportunity to see first hand what Dutch culture looks like as well as sampling some traditional local food delicacies such as stroopwafels (literally translated ‘syrup waffle’), their famous cheeses, and bands and stages too.
READ MORE: The Best Music Festivals in Europe
8. Semana Santa, Spain
24th – 31st March 2024
Another of the most popular festivals in April is the Semana Santa. Depending on the year, it sometimes happens in March too.
Semana Santa is a week-long festival that celebrates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The festivities typically begin on Palm Sunday, the week before Easter, with processions through cities where large groups carrying banners depicting scenes from biblical passages march in parades.
The Semana Santa celebration can be traced back to ancient times when pagans held rituals around this time of year for Spring Equinox celebrations honouring their gods’ rebirths after winter months. The tradition then spread throughout Europe until finally reaching what would become modern-day Spain by way of Christianity on 5th century CE when King Recceswinth decreed that Semana Santa should be observed thereafter without exception under penalty of death!
9. Lotus Lantern Festival, South Korea
The Lotus Lantern Festival in South Korea is a night-time festival that celebrates the coming of spring. While many people celebrate it traditionally with food, dancing and games, there’s also an enormous lantern sculpture measuring more than 18 metres tall.
At the Lotus Lantern Festival, a lantern is placed in each home and members of the community light them as darkness falls. These small bonfires are intended to show how much we yearn for peace from within our hearts with hopes that it will be achieved shortly thereafter on an international level.
The festival’s roots date back centuries before Christianity came to Korea when people wanted good luck during farming season by praying away evil spirits using many different methods – one being burning paper or oil lamps shaped like lotus flowers. Once Christianity took over, candles replaced these prior lights but they still had symbolic meaning behind their usage.
10. Songkran, Thailand
13th. -15th April 2024
Songkran is one of Thailand’s most famous and widely celebrated festivals, marking the Thai New Year. The festival usually takes place from April 13 to 15, although celebrations can extend for a week or more in some regions.
It’s originally rooted in Buddhist traditions, however Songkran has now become more of a social and cultural event in April that attracts locals as well as lots of tourists. International visitors tend to head to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket to partake in the festivities.
The most iconic part of the Songkran festival is the water fights that break out on the streets. People arm themselves with water guns, hoses, or even buckets, and nobody is safe from getting soaked. The water fights symbolise the washing away of sins and bad luck from the previous year, offering a fresh start. In a more traditional context, it’s also a time to visit temples and offer food to monks, as well as to wash Buddha statues as a sign of respect and good fortune for the year ahead.
Best Festivals in April
Going to an April festival is a great way to start your festival summer. There’s plenty of choice this time of year, whether you want a traditional / religious festival, or one based around music or a passion. I’d recommend you spend a few weeks saving for your favourite one, and then have a festival blowout in style!
Which of these April festivals sounds best to you?
For the best FESTIVALS IN FEBRUARY, click here.
What are the cultural events in April?
April is a busty month for cultural activities worldwide. In the US, Jazz Appreciation Month is celebrated to honour this musical genre. Meanwhile, in Japan, the cherry blossoms bloom in an event called ‘Hanami,’ which is as much about appreciating nature as it is a social occasion. Thailand marks its New Year with Songkran, a water festival where the streets are filled with water fights. In the Netherlands, King’s Day is a highlight, involving nationwide festivities where almost everyone dresses in orange.
What is celebrated in April around the world?
There are lots of events and occasions in April, that are celebrated around the world. Earth Day on April 22nd is one of the April international events that’s most well-known, aimed at promoting environmental conservation.
Other special days in April include Anzac Day, taking place in Australia and New Zealand to commemorate military veterans with ceremonies and parades. The Philippines honours its war heroes on Araw ng Kagitingan, or Day of Valour, on 9th April each year too.
What’s on in April 2024 in the UK?
In April 2024, the UK has several major events on the calendar. The London Marathon is a key fixture, drawing participants and spectators from the UK and beyond.
Another significant event is the Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race, a historic rowing competition that takes place on the River Thames. Additionally, 23rd April is noteworthy for being both St. George’s Day and Shakespeare Day, leading to various cultural activities, performances and patriotic displays. Easter often falls in April too, offering traditional celebrations like egg hunts and family gatherings.
What is happening in Europe in April?
Europe comes alive with numerous events in April. France, for example, observes Bastille Day, a significant national holiday. Italy celebrates the “Scoppio del Carro” in Florence, an Easter Sunday event where a cart filled with fireworks is ignited to ensure a good harvest. In Spain, the city of Seville hosts the Feria de Abril, a traditional week-long festival featuring Flamenco dancing, bullfights, and colourful parades. There’s also plenty more April festivals in Europe taking place too.
How many festivals come in April and May in India?
In India, the April festival list is full, as it is in May too, thanks to the country’s diverse religious and cultural landscape. You have Baisakhi in Punjab, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, and Vishu in Kerala, all marking the start of the regional New Year. Then there are Hindu festivals like Akshaya Tritiya and Hanuman Jayanti. Depending on the lunar calendar, the Muslim community might observe Ramadan or Eid during this period.
It’s hard to put an exact number on it, but almost every week in April and May is likely to have some sort of festival, either at a regional or a national level.
Celebrations in April around the world
These March festivities are the best around the globe. If you’re planning a trip in April, I’d always recommend looking at the April celebrations going on while you’re travelling – you never know what festivities your trip has serendipitously timed with!