Arts and Culture

Top 4 events not to miss this December

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With the excitement over Halloween dying down and the seasons on the move, there’s only one thing on people’s minds; the festivities that come with the end of the year. As we look ahead to December, the festive holiday period truly starts to set in, bringing with it Yuletide joy and merriment. Here’s what you have to look forward to around the world.

1. Art Basel Miami Beach

Miami, Florida, U.S.A. | December 3 – 6

To get a taste of what’s happening in the art world, combine a trip to the U.S.A. with a visit to the beachside oasis of Miami. This colourful city is hosting the incredible Art Basel Miami Beach, where works from some 267 international galleries are curated in an art extravaganza. 

Ranging from modern and contemporary pieces, plus some impressive larger-scale works, you’ll find everything from installations to sculptures, paintings, photographs and films throughout the various sectors that make up the event. 

As you take in the stretches of beaches, framed by art deco style architecture, wander across to Collins Park, where installations blend with the local scenery. Make sure you swing by SoundScape Park, where you can settle down on a bean bag to take in an outdoor film screening.

Check out the artistic historical records in the Survey sector, or the cutting edge, fresh works put together for Nova. Emerging talent has a place to shine in Positions, while seasoned masters put their work on display in Edition. 

2. Krampusnacht Festival 

Klagenfurt, Austria | December 5

If you were sad to see the back of Halloween, then fear not, as there is another spectacularly spooky event on the way. A festival unlike any other, Krampusnacht Festival is held annually across Austria, and is a haunting celebration of a centuries-old folktale of the demon, Krampus. 

Half-goat, half-demon, Krampus’ ghoulish face appears across town as the antithesis of the jolly character of Saint Nick – instead of delivering presents, Krampus is said to seek out all the naughty children in the land and hits them with a birch stick before carrying them off. 

The reason this festival falls on December 5 is that the following day is Saint Nicholas’ Day, so that children can awake and discover whether they have been rewarded for their good behaviour, or picked out as a bad apple by the devilish Krampus. 

All of this translates into a vibrant, kind of grown-up Halloween, and Klagenfurt is definitely one of the best places to get into the spirit of things. 

3. Strasbourg Christmas Markets 

Strasbourg, France | Month long event 

The enchanting city of Strasbourg is not just a beautiful destination, full of history and culture, it’s also home to one of the world’s best Christmas markets. Strolling through this charming city in winter is akin to stepping into a Christmas postcard – the old streets are bathed in the golden glow of fairy lights, with various stalls offering heartwarming food and drink to stay the brisk weather. 

First founded in 1570 as the Christkindelsmarik (market of the Christ Child), Strasbourg holds the title for hosting the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, as well as being the winner for the Best Christmas Market two years running.

Today, you’ll find many of the traditions from the Alsace region still strong today in the over 300 chalets that pop up throughout the city, selling local inspired food as well as arts and crafts, including Christmas decorations, bien sur!

You’ll find the market chalets in the Place de la Cathedrale, under the watchful gaze of the beautifully preserved, Gothic-Romanesque cathedral of Notre Dame de Strasbourg. 

4. Hogmanay 

Edinburgh, Scotland | December 30 – January 1 

This world renowned festival has became synonymous as one of the best places in the world to ring in the New Year, and for good reason. The heart of celebrations take place in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, and a place full of heritage and history.

Originally a pagan festival, Hogmanay is a time for people to prepare the way for the best possible start to the coming year, involving a clean out of the house, and paying off bills or debts. Fireplaces are cleaned and new fires lit, as well as fireworks set off in spectacular fashion. 

Local traditions range from banging street parties and parades to the famed ‘Loony Dook’, where only the bravest of the brave charge into the icy waters at South Queensferry in the name of charity. If you choose to experience the bracing ocean yourself, you’ll soon warm up by one of the bonfires.

There’s also the torchlight procession to join in – as the grand opening to the festival, this sees thousands of participants carrying wax-based torches (like giant candles) through the streets of Edinburgh. Just make you you get in quick to secure your tickets to the various parties and local events, as many will begin to sell out as December approaches! 

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