Take to the streets you mad geeks! It’s a time of public celebration, wild revelry and dancing in the streets. Make your obeisance to Dionysus, Bibulous, and Xenagos, rattle your beads and show us your… sick dance moves. Here is our procession of festivals from fiction, parades and holidays that drive people out of their houses to join together and rejoice.
This was one of the hardest Top 10’s we’ve ever had to write, as really, festivals are hard to seriously think about. What’s a festival exactly? We defined it purely as a public celebration taking place to celebrate something. Whether it’s the end of the year, the beginning of something new, a harvest or otherwise, festivals deserve the love that they already bring to the world.
Here are our Top 10 Festivals.
10) Weasel Stomping Day – Weird Al Yankovic
Put your viking helmet on, because this classic ditty from the Polka King himself (brought to life from the fine animators at Robot Chicken) is a wonderful send up of every ridiculous holiday that we still celebrate despite the fact that we have no idea why we do any component of it, or why it’s celebrated on this day, or how the various elements were traditionally combined, but dammit if it ain’t fun just to smash some weasels!
Couple the maddeningly catchy tune with the adorable dancing of stop motion toys and the sickening combination of crunch and squeal, just so you really know those fluff and plasticine weasels are really suffering, that’s an instant classic. It’s a wonder we haven’t made it a national holiday complete with special sales on stomping boots and mayonnaise.
9) Hunny Celebration – Heffalumps and Woozles
If you’ve ever heard of a Heffalump, or a Woozle, you’ll probably know that Winnie the Pooh isn’t the biggest fan of them. Winnie loves honey, or “hunny” as Pooh spells it, so when Pooh met the Heffalumps and Woozles in his dream, Pooh was horrified to see so many other creatures eating and swimming in the stuff. Pooh bear is known for being incredibly protective of honey, so to see this festival was a nightmare.
However, the Heffalumps and Woozles themselves seemed relatively harmless, albeit a bit strange. From a transparent Heffalump eating honey from a pot, to a Woozle blowing a trumpet in celebration of honey, it’s hard to believe that Pooh would disagree with such a sight… However, it’s fair to say that Pooh wasn’t in the right state of mind when attending this dream-like festival.
8) Feast of the Winter Veil – World of Warcraft
Using the real world and taking it into Azeroth, World of Warcraft is one of many games that has taken inspiration from Christmas to turn it into a festival in-game. Although there would be no reason for them to celebrate Christmas, they had a good reason to celebrate Winter Veil, where Greatfather Winter appears to give everyone presents for being good little boys and girls of the Horde or Alliance.
It’s interesting that the Horde and Alliance have so many differences, but yet they have so many similarities. Of all of the similarities they could have had, to think that they both believe in Greatfather Winter and they both celebrate the end of year in the same way is peculiar. Perhaps Thrall did spend a bit too much time with humans? Perhaps the Dwarves aren’t so angry at Trolls after all?
Or perhaps, for just a small period of time, the whole of Azeroth can respect the similarities they have with their foes?
7) International Talk Like A Pirate Day
September 19th every year for fifteen years. This is only considered fictional but lets face it, with the cultural dominance of geekiness it may only be time between this list and every calendar on the planet, or at least in every country with a solid internet connection. While one could consider this “Forced Cornish Accent” day, the quirky little cultural phenomenon has endured meme status and continues to be acknowledged worldwide every year.
Cap’n Slappy and Ol’ Chumbucket, better known as Mark Summers and John Baur have kept the dream alive, although the spread of the holiday may be on the decline. Last year was the first year in a while that Krispy Kreme ended their own support, and corporations adding Pirate Language seems to have reached a limit. Perhaps a new infusion of enthusiasm is required for ITLAPD to carry on, or maybe it’s a meme finally reaching the end of its impressive life.
6) Bobunk – Sabrina the Teenage Witch
(Click this link and skip to around 11:50 for Bobunk)
Bobunk has often been called the greatest celebration that no one remembers, because Salem the cat wiped everybodies memory of it! Bobunk is definitely a festival a lot of us can relate to and hey, we actually have a specific day for Bobunk too! Bobunk is an 11 day festival beginning on September 3rd. If it was a real festival, I reckon people would go mad for it.
Bobunk is the festival of cats, food, alcohol, food with alcohol in it and food shaped like cats. As such, you can imagine a festival where people are just eating kitty-shaped sausage, or a delicious boozy pie. You know what, even though everyone has forgotten it, I say let’s bring it back as a real festival in the real world. On September 3rd, watch out, we’ll be celebrating Bobunk! Mark my words!
Huh, what was I talking about again?
5) Avatar Day – Avatar: The Last Airbender
At first, when Aang arrives in the Chin Village that appears to be celebrating him, and those Avatars who came before him, right up until the the effigies raised in his “honour” are set alight, while the people rejoice. As it transpires, the people blamed the Avatar of Earth who struck down the noble leader Chin the Great by casting him into the sea. Naturally this is not the case and furthers the themes of history and perspective that appear throughout the series, and Chin was a tyrant who threatened to bring the Earth Kingdom entirely under heal.
With the full story told, the name of Avatar Kyoshi cleared and with it faith in Aang somewhat restored, the festival changes to a day of celebration of the Avatar and denouncement of Chin the Great. No more are the effigies ceremonially burned, and likewise the ceremonial dough snacks are no longer fried, instead served raw. Sometimes the deceit is better than the truth, especially when the truth steals doughnuts from you.
4) The Festival – H.P. Lovecraft
The Festival is never seen in truth, and that may very well be for the best. Our humble narrator is summoned at Christmas to celebrate a holy day older by far, in a quaint and picturesque town from whence his family comes. He is greeted by strange folk with forbidden books on their shelves and strangely waxen skin, who join together in the long procession that leads – not to the temple high on the hill – but into the caverns far beneath it, where byakhee roost and wait, and shrill piping daemons make hideous tunes in praise of forgotten gods, much as they do beneath Red Hook.
Our humble narrator flees those caverns before he is given his father’s place at Festival, awakening in a town similar to, but far more built-up than the town he saw in the night. He is forever marked by only the beginning of the ceremony, and those few lines he read of Alhazred’s dreaded Necronomicon, “Great holes secretly are digged where earth’s pores ought to suffice, and things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl.”
3) Festival of the Hunt – Final Fantasy IX
One of the turning points of Final Fantasy IX is the Festival of the Hunt; a great way to see how well you’ve done thus far in building up Zidane. The Festival of the Hunt is sanctioned by the church in the city of Lindblum, encouraging competition and effectively acting as a way to cull some of the monsters of the world that have been captured. During the Festival of the Hunt, the city of Lindblum has monsters let loose. People are encouraged to remain indoors, but do not have to.
An interesting point with the Festival is the prizes which can be earned. You can win a prize as either Zidane, who you play as, Freya, who joins your team during this festival period, or Vivi. Winning as Zidane gives you 5,000 gil, winning as Freya earns you a Coral Ring and winning as Vivi earns you a Theatre Ship card, which everyone questions Vivi about. Interestingly, Zidane’s winnings are the worst choice overall, as 5,000 gil really isn’t all that much.
Let the hunt begin!
2) The Parade – Paprika
The DC Mini is a device allowing someone to enter the dreams of another. Naturally this leads to chaos of a deeply surrealist nature. As people’s dreams begin to intertwine and collide, it is left to Dr. Chiba to attempt to unravel via her dreamscape alter-ego, Paprika. Beginning in the mind of the device’s creator, a parade of warped and twisted objects, and changed people, dancing frantically through the streets, gathering the dreams of innocent victims as it devours everything and everyone.
The parade dances out of the city and across the world, blurring with reality itself until one can walk from one to the other and barely notice. Not bad considering this whole festival was put together by twenty third-graders with lots of chutzpa and one panda!
1) Day of the Dead – Grim Fandango
Nowhere amongst our list is a festival more pivotal to the plot, and it’s a festival celebrated in the real world, as every chapter lands on November the 2nd, the Day of the Dead. In our world it is a Mexican holiday in which altars are erected to remember the departed, in Grim Fandango it is a chance for those departed to visit the living.
The design of the characters are based on the Calaca’s, the stylised skeletons that feature heavily in Dia de Muertos celebrations, and the bright colours typical of the day are offset by the noir themes. As Manny you don’t do a whole lot of visiting the living or celebrating, you’re a man with a lot on his skull, but you do get to see some of the Day of the Dead parade outside the Dept of Death. And you can buy as many balloons as you like!
As we sweep up the confetti, pick up the litter, take down the bandstand, and divide the bodies up into “dead” and “hungover”, we’re still finding celebrations worthy of note among the general detritus. Well, it’d be a shame to let these go to waste! Here’s some honourable mentions.
The Festival of Friendship – WWE
HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO US, KEVIN OWENS?!
Ahem, I’ll calm down now. The Festival of Friendship was an incredible angle set up for Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens in 2017. These two were really good friends (and both were bad guys), but everyone really loved Chris Jericho. Chris was the United States Champion at the time and he went all in on his friendship, maaaan.
Watch the above video and have a great laugh about it, because it was one of the silliest, funniest angles in wrestling at the point. If you don’t find it funny, just watch out as Jericho may put you on the list!
Halloween – Hocus Pocus
“It’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!” Says the Sanderson sisters, Winifred, Sarah and Mary.
The film revolves around the very Americanised version of Halloween, incorporating the spooky; the overly lavish; the hugely grandiose – Yes, we’re on about the Halloween in America where you get crazy house parties, lots of drink, lots of food, lots of decorations. Here in the UK, we don’t celebrate it nearly as hard, but man, this film makes you enjoy the American side of Halloween, as mad as it is.
So the film itself isn’t about the festivities, as it’s all about the sisters and them looking younger after killing Emily and taking her youth. However, the film is set during Halloween and is a huge part of how the sisters interact with the world, considering, y’know, they’re rather bloody old and all.
It’s all over, so rest your weary legs dismantle the float tomorrow as it’ll keep another day, and get ready to do it all again next year. Next week, however, we bring you an all new geeky Top 10, vote for which one you’d like to see below.
This was a rather hard Top 10 to do, as we didn’t have any other websites to go off. The best we could do was find fictional holidays. So perhaps this is one of the first Top 10’s for Festivals in pop culture? In the meantime though, did we pick the right festivals for the list, or did we forget the best celebrations? Did the right one make it to the top? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.