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.
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 in 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.
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 this one does: Armenian Festival of Orange County
Asian Pacific Islander Lotus Festival
The Belize Caye Festival is a family-friendly festival celebrating Belizian culture and music at Leimert Park in Inglewood in July.
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.
Cambodian New Year
Chinese and Vietnamese New Year Events
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.
Cuban Music Festival
The Ecuadorean Fiestas Patrias in Los Angeles celebrates 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.
German Oktoberfest Celebrations
Oktoberfest celebrates Bavarian culture in multiple celebrations around Los Angeles and Orange County with events lasting anywhere from one day to two months.
Every Greek church in Southern California has an annual festival with music, dancing, and of course great Greek food.
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 together.
- Northridge Aloha Festival in early June
- 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
- E Hula Mau Hula and Chant Competition in Long Beach, Labor Day Weekend in September
Los Angeles and Orange County each have a huge Irish Fair, plus special events in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Here are more details:
- LA County Irish Fair in Pomona
- The Big Irish Fair in Long Beach
- St. Patrick's Day Events in LA
Italian Feast of San Gennaro in Hollywood
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. Try the Italian Festival the last weekend in October.
Japanese Festival - Nisei Week
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 are some other celebrations in the Japanese community.
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.
Los Angeles Korean Festival
The annual Los Angeles Korean Festival includes a parade through Korea Town, music, dancing, food and cultural exhibits at the end of September or beginning of October. There is also an annual Korean Music Festival at the Hollywood Bowl.
Los Angeles Lithuanian Days
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.
Lebanese Festival in Orange County
The Orange County Lebanese Festival takes place in June at St. John Maron Church in the City of Orange.
St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral in Downtown LA holds a Mediterranean Festival every October with Middle Eastern food and music.
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.
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.
Puerto Rican Festivals
There are multiple Puerto Rican Festivals in the Los Angeles area in June and August. One of the most popular is the Dia de San Juan Festival in Long Beach in June.
Russian Arts Culture Week in West Hollywood
Scottish Festival on the Queen Mary
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.
Thai New Year
The Thai community in Los Angeles is centered in an area of East Hollywood known as Thai Town. Thai New Year is the same date as Cambodian New Year in April and there are multiple festivals to celebrate including a street fair on Hollywood Boulevard and a festival at a local temple.
Vietnamese New Year
Vietnamese New Year is celebrated at the same time as Chinese New Year, which is usually in February, with multiple events in Orange County.