Christian celebrations around the world
Visiting a Christian festival around the world is a great way to combine your faith with travel. Why restrict yourself to the religious celebrations of your home town? It's a big wide world, so get exploring. To give you some idea of what's out there, here are some of the best Christian celebrations around the world.
Corpus Christi, Tenerife
This religious occasion is celebrated all over Tenerife, but La Orotava town on the north side of the island is famous for hosting the best fiesta. Large carpet tapestries are created from local flowers and coloured sand, all from the nearby Teide National Park. These carpets in La Orotava are renowned for being the best on the island and attract Christians, as each carpet symbolises a theme or key moment from the Bible. The tapestries together form a route to the town hall, where the largest carpet is displayed on the square floor outside, usually around 800m2 in size. Visitors and locals only have a few hours to take in the intricate artwork before the famous Procession of Christ takes places, which regrettably sees the creations trampled over during the procession.
Angel Sunday, Majorca
Angel Sunday celebrations are renowned in Palma, which is the island's capital. Held on the first Sunday after Easter, the festival first began in the 15th century, when it was custom on this day to hand out blessed bread to the poor. Today the fiesta is one of the most popular occasions in the event calendar; with hundreds of people meeting for a procession outside the Town Hall before heading to the Bellver Castle. Once the locals and tourists have arrived at the castle they can enjoy local food, as well as traditional Spanish dancing. Crowds can come together to enjoy blessings from priests during the processions. After the fiesta has finished, make your way to the impressive Cathedral La Seu, which is a stunning Roman church built in 17th Century; the architecture is simply stunning. Click here to for more information on Palma, Majorca.
Mescal Festival, Ethiopia
The origin of this religious event dates back over 15,000 years and celebrates the discovery of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. No other country in the world celebrates the finding of the cross, making this religious occasion exceptionally unique. The majority of the celebrations take place in Meskel Square in Addis Ababa, near to St George's church. Visitors can enjoy traditional chanting, as well as colourful ceremonies with locals carrying bunches of daisies and olive branches. During the afternoon, a large procession of priests and choir boys, carrying crosses and torches make their way to the centre to Meskel Square before setting fire to the pyramid shaped bonfire. The evening then unfolds with dancing and traditional African music, not only celebrating the religious aspect, but also marking the end of the wet season in Ethiopia.
Monte Festival, Madeira
The Monte festival is the largest festival held on the island and is named after the patron saint of Madeira; Our Lady Monte. The mass is held in the stunning Nossa Senhora do Monte church and after the service a small figure of the Virgin Mary is carried through the parish streets during a procession. The roads are decorated with colourful flowers and there are plenty of food and drink booths dotted around the parish, keeping everyone well-nourished during the night-long celebrations. Make sure to sample a bonecas de massa, which are edible doll figures made out of dough. Head up the basalt stairway (which was traditionally climbed by pilgrims on the evening of the festival hundreds of years ago), or why not explore the inside of the Monte church and marvel at the stunning paintings of the island's patron saint? Find out more about the Madeira Island
Spirit West Coast - Annual Christian Music Festival, USA
This Christian based music festival can be found on the west coast in Monterey, California. Running since 1997, the festival's main aim is to bring people together as they celebrate their faith in Jesus Christ. The festival runs over three days, with bands, comedians and talks adding to the atmosphere. Speakers at the Spirit West Coast festival combine both past and present ideas by including both traditional biblical teachings with modern day ideas. Visitors have described the experience as uplifting and truly inspirational. There are great activities for children to get involved in too; rock climbing walls, craft stalls and even a skate park. This is a great way to begin sharing your Christian views with younger generations.
Christian festivals offer a welcoming atmosphere to anyone who attends and it's a great way to bring people together from totally different backgrounds. Your faith and religious experiences will allow you to interact with a variety of like-minded people, no matter how far from home you are.