2015 is drawing ever closer which means a whole new year of some of our favourite things – festivals! Festivals give you some great memories that last a lifetime, so it makes sense to experience some of them whilst on your TEFL adventure! Thousands of festivals are held all around the world every single year, each of them signifying something different, but our TEFL experts are all in agreeance that the three most awe-inspiring festivals are the epic Chinese New Year, the messy La Tomatina in Spain, and the crazily fun Songkran Water Festival in Thailand. Go on, you know you want to learn more about the the festivals in the Top TEFL destinations!
1. Chinese New Year
Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is an important traditional holiday; and is the longest festival on the Chinese holiday, with celebrations running from Chinese New Year’s Eve, to the Lantern Festival; and if you’re teaching English in China it is highly likely you’ll have some of this time off work! So get your warmest clothes on and head out for a parade of dragons, fireworks, symbolic clothing, flowers, lanterns, and huge celebrations. The festival usually goes something like this:
Before the New Year’s Day
– Shopping, cleaning, cooking.
New Year’s Eve
– Family dinner, Shou Sui (when members of the family stay awake throughout the night after the reunion dinner to welcome the New Year).
First Day of the New Year
–Younger people visit the older relatives and friends and indulge in some delicious foods including dumplings, cake, LaBa Congee (a mixture of rice, nuts and beans cooked together).
– This is the Yuan Xiao festival, also called lantern festival; and is the end of the New Year celebrations (and it’ll be about time – you’ll be all partied out!!)
The next Chinese New Year is the 31st January 2015 so if you get TEFL qualified now this could be the first stop on your TEFL journey.
2) La Tomatina
La Tomatina is a good old-fashioned food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol near Valencia in Spain. Thousands of individuals make their way from all corners of earth to fight in this ’World’s Biggest Food Fight’ where more than a hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are launched in the streets! The festival lasts a week and includes music, parades, dancing, food and fireworks – so prepare to get MESSY!
The Rules of La Tomatina
Don’t throw hard objects as they can cause accidents…
Don’t rip other people’s T-shirts
You must squash the tomatoes before throwing them as this reduces the impact (!)
When you hear the second shot, you must stop throwing tomatoes immediately.
Spain is a very popular TEFL destination so La Tomatina is definitely something you should consider participating in if you are in the area (even if you might smell like a tin of tomato soup for a few weeks after!)
3) Songkran Water Festival
The Thai New Year (April 13-15) festival falls on some of the hottest days in Thailand so what better way to celebrate than throwing water at one another using water guns, buckets, hoses… or any other kind of vessel, really!! The holiday is celebrated in other Asian countries such as Cambodia and Laos, but Thailand’s festivities are known to be the most sensational. Some people make New Year resolutions – to refrain from bad behaviour, or to do good things, so they see Songkran as a time for cleaning and renewal.
So, if Thailand is on your TEFL destination list and you don’t mind getting a bit wet then Songkran might just be up your street!
Are you feeling inspired to get festival hopping? I certainly am after writing this!