Get Inspired / Central America / Asia / Malaysia / Mexico / India Experience these festivals for free Share on email Print this article Share on Facebook Get Inspired / Central America / Asia / Malaysia / Mexico / India Experience these festivals for free story by: Anna Sarjeant You don’t need to spend top dollar to experience the world’s most impressive festivals. Here are three that are free... Día de Muertos Mexico City Never has there been so much life amongst death, because your senses – all five of them – will never feel quite as alive as they do at Día de Muertos, the Day of the Dead. It’s November 2nd and death is dancing through the streets of Mexico City to the rhythm of a thousand warm-blooded ghosts. Between the hoards and harrowing masks, burnt-orange marigolds line the facades of colonial buildings and suited men link arms with ladies dressed as the ‘Elegant Skull’, their skin painted white and a skeletal grin on their face. Heading for Zócalo square, revellers celebrate the age-old Aztec belief that the dead come back to earth for just one day a year. Amidst floats and flamboyance, top-hatted skeletons jostle with sugar skull faces, all vying for space amongst the macabre. The bars are thumping and the scent of tequila dances atop the pulse of a relentless beating drum; the dead are officially alive. Thaipusam Kuala Lumpur The squeamish should look away now. A festival of faith and penance, the annual Hindu holiday of Thaipusam sees thousands of devotees follow the procession of a silver chariot from the city of Kuala Lumpur to the Batu Caves temple. Dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Murugan, many devotees affirm their faith by piercing their bodies with hooks, skewers and spears, including kavadi, which is an elaborately decorated frame weighing up to 100kg and – brace yourself – affixed to an individual’s flesh by sharp metal spikes. Onlookers who can stomach it, will be entranced by the participant’s endurance, lucid dancing and intense celebrations. Just beware of the person next to you, they are likely to explode into an erratic dance move at any given chance. Held in the last week of January (or the first of February depending on the Hindu calendar), this carnival-like festival is a positive celebration of both cultural and religious identity. Holi Festival of Colours Mumbai Big colourful smiles, maniacal grins and childish shrieks that resonate from both the young and the old, Mumbai’s ordinarily manic streets have reached fever pitch. It’s Holi Festival and the predominately Hindu population are firing a rainbow of colour bombs across their suburbs. Marking the start of spring, Holi is the Hindu celebration of colour, friendship and love, so you’ll find similar levels of mayhem throughout India and much of Nepal. Visitors are whole-heartedly invited to partake, so arm up and follow suit. Load up the water guns and stuff your pockets with a dozen colour-bursting grenades; you’re going to war, albeit a fun one. You’d be wise to make allies with the children, they may look innocent but those smiling eyes mask mischievous intent. And that’s because there’s nothing more satisfying than colour-bombing an unsuspecting bystander. Enquire Now First name* Last name* Email* Phone How can we help? My preferred House of Travel Store* Select Outlet Auckland Albany: Auckland North Botany Junction: Auckland South Browns Bay: Auckland North Devonport: Auckland North Ellerslie: Auckland Central Hobsonville: Auckland West Howick: Auckland East Milford: Auckland North New Lynn: LynnMall Auckland West Newmarket: Auckland Central Orewa: Auckland North Parnell: Auckland Central Ponsonby: Auckland Central Remuera: Auckland Central St Heliers: Auckland East Takanini: Auckland South Takapuna: Auckland North Whangaparaoa: Auckland North Bay of Plenty Mt Maunganui Papamoa Rotorua Taupo Tauranga CBD the Crossing Canterbury Ashburton Barrington: Christchurch South Christchurch City: Christchurch Central Ferrymead: Christchurch East High Street Lanes: Christchurch Central Hornby: Christchurch West Merivale: Christchurch Central Northlands: Papanui Christchurch North Rangiora Riccarton: Christchurch Central Shirley: Christchurch North Timaru Upper Riccarton: Christchurch West Hawke's Bay / Gisborne Havelock North Jenny Nilsson: Hastings Nelson / Marlborough Blenheim Motueka Nelson Richmond Northland Kerikeri: Northland Whangarei: Northland Otago / Southland Alexandra Balclutha Dunedin Lakers Gore Lakers Invercargill Oamaru Wakatipu: Queenstown Wanaka Taranaki / Manawatu Broadway: Palmerston North New Plymouth Stephen Parsons: Palmerston North Wanganui Waikato Calder & Lawson: Hamilton East Cambridge Coromandel: Whangamata Hamilton: Hamilton Central Matamata Morrinsville Taupo Te Awamutu Wellington / Wairarapa Featherston Street: Wellington City Hunter St CBD: Wellington City Johnsonville: Wellington North Kapiti Coast: Paraparaumu Lower Hutt: Wellington North Masterton West Coast Greymouth Hokitika Westport I would like to receive email updates on the latest HOT holiday deals HOT Privacy Statement * required fields Similar Journeys Add or remove from Wishlist Best places to travel in 2017 Read more Add or remove from Wishlist Put these on your Delhi to-do list Read more Done this? Tell your friends about it.