The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

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Travel with kids: festivals around the world

festivals with kids MKB carnivalToday's post is a first for me: I'm hosting the Multicultural Kid Blogs monthly blogging carnival on travel with kids.  Travelling with my kids is something regular readers will know I'm passionate about so I'm delighted to be able to collate an article with contributions from bloggers all around the world on this subject close to my heart.

logoMKBcarnivalThe theme I have chosen for this carnival is visiting/participating in festivals, fairs, fêtes and cultural events across the globe as a way for children to understand more about a particular place or culture.  Travelling far isn't always possible for families for numerous reasons including the two main ones of time and cost, but travel doesn't have to be far to be rewarding - "travel at home" is just as important as overseas or foreign travel.   What is seen as normal or mundane by one person might be seen as exciting or exotic by another so in the case of an international blogging carnival one blogger's visit to a local food fair in Europe is as interesting and relevant as another's visit to a tribal festival in Africa.  

carnaval in Moura Brazil

Carnaval in Brazil by Our Whole Village

As a family we regularly visit local festivals in the South of France which range from small village affairs celebrating the harvest of local produce such as pumpkins or bitter oranges to the big international celebrations that are Nice Carnival and the lemon festival, la fête du citron, in Menton at the end of every winter.  While many of our local fairs focus on food (this is France!) and flowers (we live very close to Grasse, the world centre of perfume) there are also medieval fairs and other historical fêtes that we love discovering or going to each year.  The children learn about things such as traditional practices in farming/local industry, environmental concerns and sustainability and realise how important it is/was to our region while having fun.  Even the biggest annual party locally, Nice Carnival considered the oldest carnival in the world, is both historically important and contemporarily important as the floats all poke irreverant fun at modern life.  As my kids get older they understand more of the satire and current issues relevant to today's world.  It's great to see them "get" the point of a particular float.

fête du citron Menton France

Lemon festival in France by Lou Messugo

So going back to today's blogging carnival and feeling certain in my belief that festival/fairs are something that kids can enjoy and learn from in a fun and easy way (without them necessarily being aimed at children),  I asked bloggers in the Multicultural Kid Blogs group to share with me their experiences of visiting these sorts of events with kids. And just as I'd hoped, I'm far from alone in my beliefs and have been sent articles on festivals as varying as carnival in Brazil via Diwali being celebrated in Canada to King's Day in Holland and Songkran in Thailand, with plenty of others in between.  A true multicultural and international mix.  I hope you enjoy this virtual world tour of fascinating, fabulous and unusual festivals.

 
Celebrating cultural festivals when not in the country of origin

 

constitution day

Constitution Day in Norway by Eva Varga

Celebrating festivals that are culturally important to your family when living in another country is a challenge that many expats and multicultural families face.  It's not always possible to travel to the country of origin but parents want to pass on their cultural heritage (or share something special from their past) and involve their children so they have to find their own ways of doing so.   MADH Mama shows us How to celebrate Diwali abroad (from Canada) and Castle View Academy takes us to a couple of interesting Japanese festivals, Hanami in Northern Ireland and Japanese summer Matsuri also in Northern Ireland.  Eva Varga explains the history of Norwegian Constitution Day and how she celebrates it in the US and Super Urdu Mom writes about her memories of Basant in Pakistan and how she shares them with her daughter.

 
Visiting traditional local festivals close to home

 

sweet chestnut festival France

Sweet chestnut festival in France by Rue du Belvedere

As I explained above my family enjoy going to local festivals and clearly so do many other bloggers from the number of contributions I had.  Hanna Cheda writes about visiting a nearby harvest festival to teach her city children the origin of certain foodstuffs.  Mama Smiles describes a trip to a local fete all about inventions - Maker Faire and Family on the Loose go back in time at a Renaissance Faire Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes writes about going to a Native American Heritage and Culture Festival for the first time and in a guest post on Multicultural Kid Blogs Cordelia explains all about Thai New Year Songkran.  Pintsize Gourmets takes us to Hawaii for May Day festivities and we experience a sweet chestnut festival in rural France with Rue du Belvedere.  La Cité des Vents writes about visiting an Autumn Fair and a Medieval Festival both in Oberursel in Germany, while American Mom in Bordeaux shows us around a traditional French fun fair on International Francophonie Day

 
Visiting foreign festivals locally to home

 

Welsh Festival

Welsh festival in USA by Tara's Multicultural Table

Slightly different from attending traditional local festivals some families like to go to festivals about another culture (still nearby) even though they don't necessarily have any ties to that particular culture themselves. Family on the Loose describes how they spent a day in Japan by going to a local Japanese autumn festival.  Expat Life with a Double Buggy writes about visiting an Embassy Festival designed to showcase all the different nationalities living in The Hague. Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes explores the world under one roof at Columbia's International Festival twice!  One year the theme country was Brazil and another time The Philippines.  Tara's Multicultural Table takes us on a trip to Wales at the Fredericksburg Welsh Festival.

 
Travelling abroad to foreign festivals

 

Festival Virgin of Candelaria Peru

Traveling to the Andes with kids by Mullticultural Kid Blogs

Sometimes the festival is the reason for the trip as Daria explains in this guest post on Multicultural Kid Blogs Traveling to the Andes for the festival of the Virgin of Candelaria (so good she went twice!)  La Cité des Vents also travelled for a festival in this instance to Perpignan in France for the Sanch Procession.  Other times it can be a lucky chance that a festival takes place while visiting an area as happened to Our Whole Village in Brazil: Carnaval in Moura and Boy Eats World in Thailand:  Surviving Songkran with kids.   For Vagabonding with Kids carnaval was a reason to stay on an extra week while on holiday in Brazil: Carnaval with kids.  Sailing Yoga Family writes passionately about finding a festival they feel they belong at, Colourfest in UK.

 
King's Day in the Netherlands

 

kings day amsterdam

King's Day in Amsterdam by Finding Dutchland

This festival gets its own subtitle as I received 4 submissions about it!  First up Expat Life with a Double Buggy explains everything you need to know about King's Day, Rina writes in Finding Dutchland how to celebrate King's Day like a rock star and Michele also from Finding Dutchland talks about the life-changing magic of King's Day and finally Good to be Mom looks at King's Day specifically in Maastricht.

 

Songkran in Thailand

Songkran in Thailand by Boy Eats World

I hope you've enjoyed travelling around the world visiting these wonderful and varied festivals, I've certainly loved it.  I now have serious wanderlust and desperately want to go to them all!  Have you been to any festivals/fairs recently with your kids? I'd love to hear from you.

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Travel with kids festivals MKB blog carnival

 

 

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Comments

  • Guest
    seychellesmama Monday, 30 May 2016

    Ohh Phoebe youve been busy with this one, lots going on, I'll have to take a day to check out all the links!!!
    I have to say one of the disappointing things about Seychelles is the distinct lack of anything like this!!! We have lots of public holidays here, but they are predominantly related to religious days (a catholic country) but there is very little activities going on to accompany these days which is quite sad.
    Thanks for sharing this with #myexpatfamily great to have you back joining in :)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Tuesday, 31 May 2016

    I know, I had so many people send me their links, it was great fun putting it together! I find it surprising that there's so little in the way of festivals in the Seychelles, what a shame.

  • Guest
    Charly Monday, 23 May 2016

    Oh Phoebe this is just superb, what a great idea and a brilliant selection of varied festivals. I love reading about festivals in other countries and learning more about their culture. With POD at school now, we don't have the luxury of heading overseas specifically for a festival but I do hope we can tie them into a trip. So much fun :)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 23 May 2016

    I'm glad you liked it Charly and I bet you'll still get to lots of festivals on your travels during school holidays

  • Guest
    Bringing Up Brits Sunday, 22 May 2016

    Fabulous. Stunning photos! I love festivals here in the UK. I took my son to the Jamie Oliver music and foodie festival last summer and we had a blast. We've also been to Camp Bestival which is perfect for kids. Not as colorful as the ones you've included in your blog post though! #MyExpatFamily

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 23 May 2016

    I bet the Jamie Oliver festival was great for the taste buds and so bad for the waist line!!! I've heard wonderful things about Camp Bestival.

  • Guest
    Ersatz Expat Saturday, 21 May 2016

    Those festivals look like a lot of fun. We always try to ensure that the family get as involved as possible in local events wherever we are, it is part of what makes life abroad so much fun. Friends in Kazakhstan and Malaysia were always so welcoming, particularly of the children. We have not been to anything here in Saudi yet but Ramadan is almost upon us so we are looking forward to that!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 23 May 2016

    Ramadan in Saudi will be something indeed. Good to hear how welcomed you were in Kazakhstan and Malaysia.

  • Guest
    Becky Brown Friday, 20 May 2016

    Such a great post. Some lovely festivals here can't wait for the local ones here to really get going over the Summer!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 23 May 2016

    Thanks Becky, and thanks for contributing. :)

  • Guest
    Eline @ Emmy + LIEN Friday, 20 May 2016

    This is giving me serious wanderlust too! Local festivals of any kind are definitely one of the biggest perks of moving and/or travelling abroad. We did the hanami festival in Copenhagen with our 3yo recently and he loved the judo and taiko displays. Swedish Midsummer is coming up soon too, of course. I've heard it's pretty raucous so that'll be interesting to navigate with the boy in tow!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 20 May 2016

    Oh I bet Midsummer will be fun, I'd like to go to that too Eline.

  • Guest
    cass Tuesday, 17 May 2016

    I'd love there to be something like this near to where I live - it looks like so much fun x x

  • Guest
    eileen g Monday, 16 May 2016

    It's a great opportunity when you are traveling abroad and you wander into a local festival day. It's a very unique and usually fun opportunity for cultural insight...unless you didn't know about it and it results in hotels being completely booked. Then it can make things interesting in a different way. :)

  • Guest
    Otilia Saturday, 14 May 2016

    So colourful! I love it! I one miss the festivals in UK!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Saturday, 14 May 2016

    Thanks Otilia!

  • Guest
    Corinne Saturday, 14 May 2016

    Phoebe, I love this post. I'm always looking for a good festival and you have a whole bunch of awesome ones. I have yet to make it to King's Day in Amsterdam. Can you believe it?

  • Guest
    Phoebe Saturday, 14 May 2016

    I've never been either Corinne....we should go together one year!

  • Guest
    Katy Saturday, 14 May 2016

    This is great. I love a festival! In Australia as we are so far away from many places, many of the expat and immigrant communities have their own festivals in the major cities. They are so much fun. I would love to take my family to Diwali in India

  • Guest
    Phoebe Saturday, 14 May 2016

    I lived in India when I was a child and have strong memories of Diwali. I hope you get to India one day to experience it.

  • Guest
    Kara Saturday, 14 May 2016

    These put our festivals to shame - the best we got on Bank Holiday Monday was a Donkey Derby LOL

  • Guest
    Phoebe Saturday, 14 May 2016

    Funny Kara!!! But still, donkey derbys are so very English and a good cultural event for that reason.

  • Guest
    The Mummy Diary Saturday, 14 May 2016

    We love going to local village fetes around our home town in Nottingham and the same goes for when we are in France, a few times we have been to little village fetes and get togethers, we don't always understand what is being said but somethings don't need to be translated. The children love the culture and seeing new things and its a great way to be part of the town.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Saturday, 14 May 2016

    That's so true about not needing to understand the language to be able to enjoy the festival.

  • Guest
    Erica Price Saturday, 14 May 2016

    A great selection - I think it always brings a country more alive if you can experience one of their festivals.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Saturday, 14 May 2016

    Absolutely Erica, I so agree.

  • Guest
    Ness Friday, 13 May 2016

    We love the carnivals in the Isle of Wight in August. The whole town seems to come and the floats are really impressive.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 13 May 2016

    That's good to hear. I didn't know about carnivals in the Isle of Wight.

  • Guest
    Emma Friday, 13 May 2016

    What a great selection of festivals! We have plenty here as you can imagine, from the typical bier fests, the recent may festivals, and my most favourite, the Viehscheid, the festival at the end of summer when the cows are welcomed down from the mountains for the winter. They are all decorated and everyone gets drunk (apart from the cows!) :D

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 13 May 2016

    The cow festival sounds fun...

  • Guest
    JuggleMum, Nadine Hill Friday, 13 May 2016

    You have packed loads of different festivals and cultural events in here - well done!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 13 May 2016

    Thanks Nadine :)

  • Guest
    Jane Friday, 13 May 2016

    What a great idea this is. I am sure it will generate lots of interest.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 13 May 2016

    Thanks Jane

  • Guest
    Jen Friday, 13 May 2016

    Other countries seem to have lots more festivals than us in the UK. I think we need to make more of the days that we do have!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 13 May 2016

    Interesting you say that Jen, I think of UK as having plenty of festivals but perhaps they're more of the music variety than anything else.

  • Guest
    Kate B Friday, 13 May 2016

    Both my children's elementary school in Shaker Heights, Ohio and the Montessori school I teach at in the neighbouring city celebrate the global diversity of their communities. Families are encouraged to take a table and celebrate aspects of their native culture with the rest of the community, and many choose food or art forms to share. These International 'Days' or 'Evenings' are a real joy, allowing children and adults to explore and appreciate lifestyles they could not otherwise experience.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 13 May 2016

    That sounds wonderful Kate, so good to hear of thing like this in regular schools that aren't specifically international schools.

  • Guest
    Jeremy Friday, 13 May 2016

    What a interesting lot of festivals, I would love to go to some one day, what a great resource, thank you!

  • Guest
    Phoebe Friday, 13 May 2016

    so glad you liked this Jeremy

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