Around the World in 500 Festivals is a book that will fascinate and inspire. A large-format, beautifully illustrated volume, it is a photographic exploration of the richness and variety of the world’s most colourful, moving, joyful, and spectacular celebrations.

Thousands of festivals, great and small, take place around the world every year. This thought-provoking volume is an informed, personal selection of 500 of the best. At its heart is a series of photographic essays linking festivals by region or around a common theme.

• More than 200 full-colour photographs that capture the spirit and immediacy of the events

• Carnival celebrations around the world

• Food fights for the hell of it, with tomatoes, flour, or oranges

• Displays of bravado, in which people risk life and limb

• Racing festivals, with horses, camels and buffalo

• New Year celebrations in South East Asia, covering water fights in Laos and Thailand and remote hill tribe rituals

• The pomp and pageantry of medieval Europe

• Devotional spiritual journeys, looking at the abiding traditions of pilgrimage in different cultures around the world

• Special features in the form of extended photographic essays

• Original research and stunning photography by an internationally recognized writer-photographer

The entries are organized by continent, by region, then alphabetically by country, and are interspersed with the photographic essays. By avoiding purely commercial events this book will not date, and will appeal to a wide range of travellers. Festival goers are not restricted by age and come from every class and income bracket. What links them is a desire to be in a new place when it is most alive, and to take part in some of the most exhilarating celebrations in the world.

Today more people than ever are travelling to far-flung destinations, seeking a fuller experience than the standard offerings of a beach holiday or short tour. They want to connect with the local culture, and to enjoy the place at its defining moment. Festivals generate that life affirming buzz, turning onlookers into participants and adding breadth and depth to the cultural experience.


Steve Davey is a distinguished writer and photographer based in London. For the last twenty years he has travelled the world, writing and photographing features and books. He is the author of the internationally bestselling Unforgettable Places to See Before You Die and Unforgettable Islands to Escape to Before You Die (BBC Books). Between them, these titles have sold more than 500,000 copies and been translated into more than 30 languages.