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How do you make a memorable holiday unforgettable? Make sure your trip coincides with a special event! Whether it’s something general like my first ever ski lesson, or something more specific like celebrating Easter at the Garden Tomb in Israel, some of my most memorable trips have been not just about the where, but also the who (as in who you travel with and/or meet along the way), and the WHEN. And with the end of the year fast approaching, I thought some of you might need some ideas regarding where to go next year and when for a holiday to remember!
1. Ball drop, Times Square, New York, New Year’s Eve/Day I hear that it’s cold, it’s crowded, and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Still, this is an event I’d love to witness in person one day. Say hello to this famous lady while you’re there.
2. Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan, Thursday 5 Feb – Wednesday 11 Feb This has been on my bucket list for a LONG time, and though I’m headed to Japan next year, I will not be going to Sapporo, sniff, nor will I be there at the appropriate time anyway. ONE DAY I will stand in awe before the amazing ice sculptures that are produced each year. Check out more great photos and other info here.
(Source: Wikipedia, by Materialscientist)
3. St Patrick’s Day, Ireland, Tuesday 17 March Ireland is a land of rugged coastlines, emerald green landscapes, abundant rain and rainbows, friendly folk and a musical accent. They also know how to party, never more so than on St Paddy’s Day.
4. Anzac Day commemorations, Gallipoli, Turkey, Saturday 25 April A solemn day of remembrance for Aussies and Kiwis. Next year’s commemorations will be all the more poignant as 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli. Here is the official Australian website.
5. Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, Morocco, Thursday 22 May – Friday 30 May Fes is probably my favourite place in Morocco. The twisted winding alleyways in the bazaars lined by copper pot stores, intricate lanterns, carpet vendors inviting you in for mint tea and hopefully a sale, shops selling leather wares overlooking colourful tanneries – it’s a hive of activity, noisy, overwhelming, and wonderful. Quintessential Morocco. How do you make it even better? Time your visit for this celebration of traditional music from around the globe. There are both paid and free events. Find out more here.
6. Inti Raymi: Incan Festival of the Sun, Sacsayhuaman, Cuzco, Peru, 24 June As much as the lack of toileting facilities along the Inca trail scares me, I really want to tackle it one day. Since it’s wise to spend a few days in Cusco acclimatising to the altitude prior to beginning the trek, you might as well time your visit for this ancient festival. Even if you feel strongly against attending a ritualistic pagan festival, you can still enjoy the street entertainment, including traditional folk dances and Peruvian music.
(Source: Wikipedia, by Cyntia Motta)
7. Naadam: The Festival of the 3 Manly Sports, Mongolia, Saturday 11 July – Monday 13 July If you’re going to go to all that effort of visiting one of the more off-the-beaten-path tourist destinations, you might as well time it with this colourful sporting spectacle, where you’ll be entertained by centuries old traditions of wrestling, archery and horseback riding.
(Source: Wikipedia, by Zoharby)
8. La Tomatina, Bunol, Spain, Wednesday 26 August Get involved in the world’s largest food fight, eat lots of paella, and enjoy the dancing, parades and fireworks. Click here to view the official webpage.
(Source: Wikipedia, by Graham McLellan)
9. Arirang Mass Games, North Korea, Saturday 1 August – Wednesday Sept 9 I first read and saw photos of the Mass Games in the Lonely Planet Korea book. Remember how spectacular the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony was? The Mass Games are like that – a spectacle of sports, dance and music chronicling the struggles of the DPRK with a bit of politics and propaganda mixed in. The 2014 Games were cancelled for unknown reasons, but they’re back next year as 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the Japanese occupation and the founding of the Korean Workers’ Party, and it is promised to be the largest and most impressive show yet!
10. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico, USA, Saturday 3 Oct – Sunday 11 Oct Remember how I once mentioned how much I love hot air balloons? Imagine witnessing over 600 of them drifting overhead! This was one for the ol’ bucket list the instant I heard about it! Check here for more details.
(Source: Wikipedia, by Eric Ward)
11. Day of the Dead, Mexico, Saturday 31 Oct – Monday 2 Nov This isn’t really quite so morbid as it sounds. It’s a weekend where family members gather to remember and pray for loved ones who have died. However, you will find skulls aplenty and people in macabre outfits and makeup around you.
(Source: Wikipedia, by Tomascastelazo)
12. Christmas, Lapland, Finland Here’s how you can really end the year with a bang! Say hello to Santa Claus at his village in Rovaniemi, meet a reindeer or 2, and fall asleep to the sight of the Northern Lights flickering overhead while you’re snuggled up cozily in a glass igloo. This would truly be a magical experience, and one that I’m saving up as a special treat for my nieces when they’re old enough.
Have you experienced any of these special events? Do you have plans to attend any of them next year? What other fun festivals and events can you recommend around the world?
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