HomePhotography › A Custom Curation

A Custom Curation

Share this

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn Share via Email

When a festival beckons — offering a legitimate and fabulous excuse to dress up, relive old times, stand in amazement, pay homage to ancestry, be a little daring and outlandish or simply kick up heels — people eagerly unite in large numbers to immerse themselves in a unique piece of culture. Whether revering the past or saluting the future, a festival is sure to bring memorable merriment for the masses. Sally Blyth takes a look at several festivals of significance.

Concurs de Castells, Spain
Large teams of people clad in bright colours strategically build themselves into complex living human structures up to ten levels high. Competing in this quintessentially Catalan competition, held every 2 years, requires a combination of strength, balance, courage and common sense. Intricate and deliberate tactics come into play as human towers rise from the floor. Grand heights are reached and a child is balanced on top. Arms stretch into the air above, a final signal of triumph — and then the dangerous dismantling begins.
Photo by David Oliete
Expand image

Concurs de Castells, Spain
Large teams of people clad in bright colours strategically build themselves into complex living human structures up to ten levels high. Competing in this quintessentially Catalan competition, held every 2 years, requires a combination of strength, balance, courage and common sense. Intricate and deliberate tactics come into play as human towers rise from the floor. Grand heights are reached and a child is balanced on top. Arms stretch into the air above, a final signal of triumph — and then the dangerous dismantling begins.
Photo by David Oliete

Up Helly Aa, Scotland
Taking place in Lerwick, Shetland on the last Tuesday in January, Up Helly Aa is a Norse themed sub-Arctic bonfire party on a grand scale. Recognised as Europe’s biggest fire festival, there are marches by day and torchfire by night. Men dressed as Vikings lead a procession through the town and, as night arrives, a thousand torches light up the sky as they set fire to a long boat in the city centre. Amidst singing and revelry, the fiery glow burns and celebrations continue long into the night.
Photo by David Gifford
Expand image

Up Helly Aa, Scotland
Taking place in Lerwick, Shetland on the last Tuesday in January, Up Helly Aa is a Norse themed sub-Arctic bonfire party on a grand scale. Recognised as Europe’s biggest fire festival, there are marches by day and torchfire by night. Men dressed as Vikings lead a procession through the town and, as night arrives, a thousand torches light up the sky as they set fire to a long boat in the city centre. Amidst singing and revelry, the fiery glow burns and celebrations continue long into the night.
Photo by David Gifford

Hadaka Matsuri, Japan
During this ‘Naked Festival’, held in February in Okayama, almost 10,000 men crowd together, forming a colossal mosh pit of hope and kinship. Clad in white loincloths, they purify their bodies with cold water and cram together to try to grab a pair of lucky wooden sticks (shingi) thrown by a priest. Each member of the vigorously chanting crowd believes that a year’s worth of good luck comes to whoever catches the shingi. Reaching out in boisterous anticipation, each man hopes the luck will come to them.
Photo by Kurt K. Gledhill
Expand image

Hadaka Matsuri, Japan
During this ‘Naked Festival’, held in February in Okayama, almost 10,000 men crowd together, forming a colossal mosh pit of hope and kinship. Clad in white loincloths, they purify their bodies with cold water and cram together to try to grab a pair of lucky wooden sticks (shingi) thrown by a priest. Each member of the vigorously chanting crowd believes that a year’s worth of good luck comes to whoever catches the shingi. Reaching out in boisterous anticipation, each man hopes the luck will come to them.

Naadam, Mongolia
This mid-summer ‘feast of sports’ offers a thrilling showcase of Mongolia’s sporting passions. The colourful opening parade is imbued with military precision and tradition, after which horses and their child jockeys set off on endurance races requiring great stamina, archers take careful aim with bows and arrows made of traditional materials, and wrestlers of all weights and sizes are pitted against each other like warriors from the past. Everyone else gets busy making merry, soaking up local music, food, crafts and culture against the impressive backdrop of the steppes.
Photo by Alex Zarfati
Expand image

Naadam, Mongolia
This mid-summer ‘feast of sports’ offers a thrilling showcase of Mongolia’s sporting passions. The colourful opening parade is imbued with military precision and tradition, after which horses and their child jockeys set off on endurance races requiring great stamina, archers take careful aim with bows and arrows made of traditional materials, and wrestlers of all weights and sizes are pitted against each other like warriors from the past. Everyone else gets busy making merry, soaking up local music, food, crafts and culture against the impressive backdrop of the steppes.
Photo by Alex Zarfati

Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
As fall arrives in Albuquerque, so do thousands of balloon enthusiasts from around the world. Powered by the perfect October climate, the daily ‘Mass Ascension’ of hundreds of hot air balloons effortlessly into the crisp dawn skies leaves those below overwhelmed. Assorted colours, patterns, shapes and characters float majestically overhead like liquorice allsorts tossed into the air. Evening arrives and, as ‘Balloon Glow’ takes shape in the night sky, this marvellous moving picture show becomes an illuminated display of pure enchantment.
Photo by Rivkah Ita
Expand image

Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
As fall arrives in Albuquerque, so do thousands of balloon enthusiasts from around the world. Powered by the perfect October climate, the daily ‘Mass Ascension’ of hundreds of hot air balloons effortlessly into the crisp dawn skies leaves those below overwhelmed. Assorted colours, patterns, shapes and characters float majestically overhead like liquorice allsorts tossed into the air. Evening arrives and, as ‘Balloon Glow’ takes shape in the night sky, this marvellous moving picture show becomes an illuminated display of pure enchantment.
Photo by Rivkah Ita

Published on July 6, 2015
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Email