Los Angeles is the most diverse county in the US and many cultures have large enough communities to hold one or more cultural festivals each year. Here are some of the highlights, listed alphabetically by culture.
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African and African-American Cultural Events
Kingdom Day Parades and Events in January
The Pan-African Film and Art Festival in February
African American Festival at Aquarium of the Pacific in February
Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks in Leimert Park in June
Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival is culturally inclusive, but heavily features African drumming traditions. Saturday of Labor Day weekend in September.
Kwanzaa Heritage Festival and Parade in Leimert Park - December
The African Marketplace is a festival of African arts and culture that comes and goes. Keep an eye on LACommons for updates.
There's also a strong African-American component to the Bayou Festival in Long Beach.
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The Armenian community in Los Angeles is spread around Glendale, Hollywood and Montebello. There is an annual Armenian Independence Day Festival in Little Armenia in Hollywood each May, but they don't maintain a consistent website. The Glendale Armenian Festival doesn't have a consistent web presence either, but these two do:
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The Lotus Festival at Echo Park celebrates the many cultures of Asia and the Pacific Islands with music, dance, food and cultural exhibits. It's usually the second weekend in July.
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The Bangladesh Day Parade and Festival take place down Vermont Avenue the last weekend of March. The Bengali New Year Celebration is in Little Bangladesh, a five-block area around 3rd and Alexandria in Los Angeles, in May, but websites are inconsistently maintained.
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Long Beach has the largest Cambodian population outside of Cambodia, and the community celebrates Cambodian New Year in April with multiple Cambodian New Year Events.
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There are a variety of events around Los Angeles to celebrate the Chinese and Vietnamese Lunar New Year, which generally occurs in February, but occasionally as early as January. Here is a list of the largest Chinese and Vietnamese New Year Events in LA and OC.
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The Ecuadorean Fiestas Patrias in Los Angeles celebrate Ecuadorean Independence Day, which is officially August 10. It usually takes place the closest Saturday to that date at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site. More info: (213) 361-6008 e-mail: email@example.com
Continue to Filipino through Vietnamese Ethnic Festivals on Page 2-3.
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Oktoberfest celebrates Bavarian culture in multiple celebrations around Los Angeles and Orange County with events lasting anywhere from one day to two months. Check out the full list of Oktoberfest Events around LA.
The Phoenix Club in Anaheim also celebrates the German tradition of the annual Christkindl-Markt Christmas market.
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Every Greek church in Southern California has an annual festival with music, dancing, and of course great Greek food. I've put together a list of all 19 Southern California Greek Festivals.Continue to 13 of 28 below.
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Hawaiian and Pacific Island Festivals
Sometimes the culture of individual Pacific Islands are celebrated in their own festivals, and on other occasions they celebrate common traditions all together.
Northridge Community Hawaiian Festival in May
Pacific Island Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific in June
The Lotus Festival at Echo Park in July
Ho'olaule'a Hawaiian Festival in Lawndale the 3rd weekend in July
Tafesilafai Pacific Islander Festival is a week-long celebration in Long Beach in July
Tiki Festival in Long Beach in August
E Hula Mau Hula and Chant Competition in Long Beach, Labor Day Weekend in September
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The Feast of San Gennaro is an Italian street festival that takes place every September in the heart of Hollywood. The Italian community in LA also celebrates St. Joseph's Day in March, and there's a Venetian Carnevale in Long Beach around February or March. The latest addition is Victorio's Italian Festival the last weekend in October in the San Fernando Valley.
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Nisei Week is actually several weeks of activities in August celebrating Japanese culture in Los Angeles. Highlights are two weekend festivals with Japanese food, crafts, music and street dancing. The Japanese New Year celebration in Little Tokyo in January and the Tea Festival in August at the Japanese American National Museum are some other celebrations in the Japanese community.Continue to 17 of 28 below.
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Most of the local synagogues and Jewish community Centers have their own smaller celebrations for the major Jewish holidays, but there are public Hanukkah Festivals and Menorah Lightings at several prominent locations in Los Angeles. There is also an annual Israel Independence Day Festival that takes place each May. It has moved from Woodley Park to the Cheviot Hills Recreation Center.
Related: Discovering Jewish Los Angeles
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Little Lithuania is in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles and so is the annual Los Angeles Lithuanian Fair at St. Casimir's Church each October.
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The Orange County Lebanese Festival takes place every September at St. John Maron Church in the City of Orange.Continue to 21 of 28 below.
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St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Downtown LA holds a Mediterranean Festival every October with Middle Eastern food and music.
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Mexican Festivals in Los Angeles
The largest ethnic population in Los Angeles is Mexican, so it's no surprise that there are many celebrations of Mexican culture in LA. Here are some of the biggest.
- Tres Reyes/Three Kings - January 6
- Cinco de Mayo - near the 5th of May
- The Guelaguetza Festival (Oaxaca) in August
- Mexican Independence Day Events - near the 16th of September
- Dia de Los Muertos - Nov 1-2
- Las Posadas - Dec 16 for 9 nights
More ways to explore Latino LA
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Native American Festivals
LA has the largest Native American population in the nation. First Nations people who are transplants from other parts of the country hold pow wows at various venues around Southern California, often associated with colleges and universities. Local California Indians maintain their own cultural practices and gatherings.
- So CA Indian Center Pow Wows
- UCLA Pow Wow
- Life Before Columbus Day, the weekend before Columbus Day
- Moompetam at the Aquarium of the Pacific
- American Indian Arts Marketplace at the Autry
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The Russian Arts and Culture Festival is just one component of this week-long celebration in May of all things Russian in West Hollywood.
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Every year in February the Scottish Clans of Southern California gather for the Queen Mary ScotsFestival in Long Beach. Popular events include the parade of clans, bagpipe and drum competitions, Highland Games, dance exhibitions, musical performances, vendor booths and whisky tastings.
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Vietnamese New Year is celebrated at the same time as Chinese New Year, which is usually in February, with multiple events in Orange County.