Want to discover what’s going on around the world in December? Check out some of the amazing events kicking off across the globe this month and get some festive inspiration!
When? 5th December
Where? Tyrol, Austria
Experience the traditional Krampusnacht parade in Austria – a vibrant festival celebrating the mythical Krampus. The first whisperings of the Krampus date back to pagan times and the story passed down for centuries tells of a horned half-goat, half-demon that stalks the streets seeking out naughty children at Christmas time. Today, Krampusnacht is a holiday in many European cities, with tourists and residents heading out into the snow with lit torches to attend devilish Krampus-themed street parties and parades.
When? 30th December to 1st January
Where? Edinburgh, Scotland
Originally held during January and thought to date back as far Viking settlement, Hogmanay celebrates the winter solstice, with parties taking place all over the country; starting with a torchlight procession through the historic, cobbled city of Edinburgh. The festivities continue through to the 31st as locals host parties across the city and come together for the famous Edinburgh Hogmanay midnight fireworks. Freshen up the next day at the Loony Dook, an annual New Year’s Day swim in the River Forth at South Queensferry.
When? 17th November to 1st January
Where? London, England
Don’t miss the perfect opportunity to celebrate a white Christmas as London’s Hyde Park is transformed into the magical Winter Wonderland this month. The free Christmas festival is one of the biggest in the world and includes the UK’s largest ice rink. Sip mulled wine and browse handmade jewellery, crafts, and more, at the festival markets, enjoy live music and entertainment in the Bavarian Beer Gardens, or enjoy all the fun of the fair on one of the festival’s many rides and attractions. Situated in Central London, Winter Wonderland is close to iconic shopping areas like Oxford Street, Carnaby Street and Bond Street – ideal for some last-minute Christmas shopping.
Fête des Lumières
When? 7th December to 10th December
Where? Lyon, France
Head to the French city of Lyon to see the bright lights of Fête des Lumières, a beautiful festival of lights. The historic festival dates back to 1643 when the city was in the grip of the black plague. Frantic, desperate locals prayed to the Virgin Mary to stop the plague from spreading further, and when it started to fade away they were filled with joy. Centuries later in 1852 a statue of the Virgin Mary was raised near the Fourvière Basilica. When a storm stopped the celebrations, residents lit candles in the windows of their homes and this solidarity began a tradition that still holds true today. From 7-10 December, Lyon is filled with over 50 glittering light installations as artists light up buildings, parks and streets across the city.
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
When? 24th December to 25th February
Where? Harbin, Heilongjiang, China
The stunning annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival has delighted revellers since 1985 and sources its ice from the Songhua River. There are many themed zones, with the main attraction being the Harbin Ice and Snow World, which is made up of 180,000 cubic metres of ice. The city is best viewed at night, when LED lights make the sculptured town shine. Opening in late December, cold weather conditions and freezing temperatures mean that the sculptured ice city stays in place until late February.
Whirling Dervishes Festival
When? 10th December to 17 December
Where? Konya, Turkey
Experience the spellbinding beauty of the Turkish Whirling Dervishes, a mysterious dance of worship practised by the Mevlevi Order in Islam, in Turkey this month. Founded by 13th century Sufi poet named Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, the whirling dance symbolises the universe, with the right hand pointing to heaven towards God and the left to ground to pass his love on to the people. Backed up by a live orchestra and a chanting chorus, the show can be seen in Rumi’s hometown of Konya, Ankara, Istanbul and Cappadocia.
La Feria de Cali
When? 25th December to 30th December
Where? Cali, Colombia
One of the most important traditional celebrations in the region, the La Feria de Cali, otherwise known as Cali Fair, is a vibrant festival celebrating the region’s cultural identity. Dating back to 1952, the week-long festivities include bullfighting, beauty pageants and, of course, salsa dancing. Enjoy the party atmosphere, tropical music, flamboyant costumes, and more, as the festival kicks off with the El Salsódromo parade on the 25th and ends with a lively concert on the 30th.
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