Tribal Festivals

Your diary to a world of culturally arresting tribal and religious festivals.

All dates are approximate. Many may change with the moon, seasons, harvests, weekends, etc…



10th January – Fête du Vodoun (Voodoo Festival), Benin

Festival on the Niger, (Jan / Feb.) music and dance, near Segou, Mali

Timkat, Feast of the Epiphany, the most colourful of Ethiopia’s festivals

Pongal, a harvest festival celebrated in late Jan / early Feb by the Tamil Nadu in southern India

Theyyam, ritual worship of an elaborately costumed deity, most spectacular when combined with fire dances. Held January to April across Kerala, India.

Kukeri Festival, hairy costumed Pagan parades and games across Bulgaria in January. Most famous is Surva festival held in Pernik, late January.



2nd to 17th February, Tapati Festival, traditional dance, games and ceremonies, Easter Island

3rd February, Dia de San Blas, in honour of the patron saint, Paraguay

Last Sunday before Lent and Shrove Tuesday, Sa Sartiglia, medieval horseback festival with masked riders. Sardinian festival best seen in Oristano

Oruro Carnival, “Dance of the Devils” costumes, parties and parades, across Bolivia

Carnaval, flamboyant parades held in Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Uruguay, but the Rio Carnival is the most famous

Festival de la Candelaria, masks, music, parades, traditional dancing in Bolivia and Peru

Messenger Feast, (not officially annual) in Alaska, held by the  Iñupiaq and Yup’ik peoples

FESTIMA, mask festival in Dedougou, Burkina Faso



1st March, Phagwah, Hindu festival similar to Holi, in Hindu areas of Guyana

23rd to 27thParo Tshechu, colourful mask dancing for Bhutan’s Spring festival

Bau Nyale Fishing Festival, held in Feb. or March, Lombok, Indonesia

Holi Festival, India (nationwide)

Semana Santa, week before Easter, Catholic processions across Peru



13th to 15th April, Songkran Water Festival, Thailand

Dipo Festival,  Krobo tribe ‘coming of age’ celebration, Ghana

Bouake Carnival, music, food, costumes and parades, held at St Michael’s Cathedral, Bouake, Cote d’ Ivoire

Fête du Dipri, overnight festival to exorcise villages of evil spells, Gomon, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

Sigui or Fête des Masques, five day Dogon mask festival, Dogon region, Mali



8th May, Dia de la Virgen de Lujan, parades and processions in Lujan, Argentina

Quyllur Rit’i, Star Snow Festival, dance processions in the Sinakara Valleys, Peru

Aboakyir Festival, celebrated by Simpa or Winneba peoples, central Ghana

Homowo Festival, “Hunger Festival,” Ga people of Ga State, climaxing in Gamashie, in May and August / September harvest


6th – 8th June, Haa Summer Festival, colourful celebration of Bhutanese culture, sports, and religion. Haa Valley, Bhutan

11th, Kamehameha Day, floral parade and traditional costumes, Hawaii

21st June, Aymara New Year, best seen in Tiwanaku, Bolivia

24th June, Inti Raymi, the Inca Festival of the sun, held in Cusco, Peru

24th June, Fiesta de San Juan Bautista, Venezuela

29th June to 14th July, Heiva i Tahiti, biggest Tahitian festival. Expect stone weight lifting, palm tree climbing, and coconut cracking. Across Tahiti

Festa Junina, feast and fireworks in Brazil

Ulwaluko, initiation rite by the amaXhosa, South Africa, in late June and again in late November. Not a festival per se

Ka’el Obesity Pageant, Bodi people in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival,  last weekend in June, every two years (2017,2019, 2021…). Largest and most varied display of indigenous culture. Laura, Queensland, Australia



11th to 14th July, Mask Festival, Kokopo, Papua New Guinea

8th – 12th July, Gungu Masks Festival, Gungu, DR Congo

11th – 13th July, Naadam, nationwide festival with three sports fiercely contested: traditional wrestling, horse-riding and archery. Mongolia

14th July, Nachi-no-Hi Matsur, dramatic Shinto fire festival, held at Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine, Nachikatsuura-chō, Japan

Bull Jumping, Hamar tribe, Omo Valley, Ethiopia (continues ad hoc July to September)

Donga Stick Fighting, Surma tribe, Omo Valley, Ethiopia

Gule Wamkulu, ritual dance performed by the Chewa in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia (post- harvest, in July)

Mwakakogwa Festival, sacrifices, dances and “field fighting” to celebrate local New Year, practised in southern Unguja, Zanazibar



5th to 7th, Crocodile Festival, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea

17th to 19th, Hagen Show, tribal festival, Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea

Third week August, Urkupina, thousands of dancers and musicians in ​Cochabamba, Bolivia

Enga How, cultural festival, Wabag Town, Papua New Guinea



15th to 17th, Goroka Show, PNG’s biggest tribal festival, Goroka, Papua New Guinea

14th to 16thThimphu Tshechu, Bhutan’s biggest festival held in the fortress in the capital. Expect music and mask dances extraordinaire

Mistura Food Festival, in Mistura, Peru

Cure Salee or Guérewol courtship rituals, Niger (nationwide but famous at In-Gall)

Epe Ekpe, voodoo festival in Glidji, Togo

Funeral Season’ in Tana Toraja, Sulwasei, Indonesia

Kutubu Festival, Lake Kutubu, Papua New Guinea

Sebiba, 10 day Tuareg festival held in Djanet, Algeria, from the first day of the Islamic month of Muharram (changes annually in Western calendar)



19th to 21st , Hawaiiki Nui Va‘a, annual six-man canoeing race, starts at the Fare waterfront lagoon on Huahine, Tahiti

18th to 22nd, Jambay Lhakhang Drup, highlight is the Mewang fire ceremony. Held at the Jambay Lhakhang Monastery, Bhutan

20th to 25th, Asmat Cultural Festival, artisan products from the Asmat people, as well as costumed dance and song. Held in Yos Sudarso Field, in the Asmat Regency of Papua.

Morobe Show, Papua New Guinea

Señor de los Milagros (Lord of the Miracles), large Catholic procession in Lima Peru

Tahiti Carnival, street parties and parades, Papeete, Tahiti



El Dia de los Muertos, (Day of the Dead), across South America

Kenu & Kundu Festival, boat festival, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea

San Antonio de Areco Gaucho Festival, horsemanship extraordinaire in San Antonio de Areco, Argentina

Hogbetsotso Festival, “The Festival of Exodus,” first Saturday of November, Anlo Ewes people of Volta Region, Ghana

Mombasa Carnival, music, parades and floats from all cultures and groups across Kenya



15th-16th December, Fire Festival, held at Kanzanji Temple and at Akihasan Hongu Akiha Temple, in Hamamatsu-shi, Japan

1st to 10th December, Hornbill Festival, gathering of tribes to showcase their traditional costume, dance and games. Held in Kohima, Nagaland, India.

Cattle Crossing, most important Fulani festival in Diafarabe, Mali

Nguon Festival, ceremonial deposing of king with chaotic procession by thousands, Foumban, Cote d’Ivoire (biannual: 2016, 2018, 2020…)



San Healing Ceremonies, trance dances performed by the San people of Botswana and Namibia

Akwasidae Festival, held every six weeks on a Sunday, by the Ashanti people, Ghana

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