December is finally here and while most people in Europe will be sitting at home waiting for the weather to improve, some of you will be out partying and preparing for Christmas. So to get you into the festive mood, here is a list of ten of the best festivals from around the world this December.
Christkindlmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany
Christmas Markets are an institution in Germany and none is larger or more famous than the city market in Nuremberg. With 200 stalls and close to two million visitors, you can find plenty of Christmas cheer in Germany this winter. Just remember, make sure to visit the market in the evening, the scene is really spectacular!
Chichibu Yomatsuri, Chichibu Yomatsuri, Japan
Japan’s equivalent of the Rio Carnival, Chichibu Yomatsuri is a true spectacle. There are no scantily clad gyrating girls or men lathered in oil, instead you will find ornate floats decorated in lanterns, with gilded carvings and beautiful tapestries (it’s more of a family affair). Be sure to stay to the end, so you can The watch the massive fireworks display.
Mevlâna Festival, Konye, Turkey
The Mevlâna Festival is a ten day indigenous religious gathering of Whirling Dervishes. The people gather together to watch the Whirling Dervishes dance and listen to poetry recitations. The long flowing white robes, rhythmic beats and movements of the Dervishes is interesting to watch, and deeply spiritual.
Klausjagen, Küssnacht, Switzerland
Originally a pagan festival, Klausjagen has been turned into a chance to beat up Father Christmas for failing to deliver the presents you wanted last year. The event is quite a spectacle; there are the people carrying two handed sheep whips that are used to torture St. Nick, then there are the people wearing seven-foot paper lanterns on their heads and finally you have Father Christmas himself. Of course, the parade ends at the local, because beating up Father Christmas is thirsty work.
Fête des Lumières, Lyon, France
The Festival of Lights in Lyon is a medieval celebration in honor of the Virgin Mary that has been transformed as a result of 21st Century technology. Professional companies bring the skyline of Lyon to life in a multicoloured festival of light, video, music and sound.
Santa Run, Newton, Wales
What better way to get into the spirit and help Santa loose weight than joining in the Santa Run? All you need to do is throw on a Santa costume and prepare yourself for a fun run. If you’re lucky, you might even find out that you’ve helped to break a Guiness World Record.
Giant Lantern Festival, San Fernando, Philippines
Each neighborhood of the city of San Fernando produces it’s own lantern design, which can be up to five meters high. These lanterns are then paraded through the streets of the city to get everybody in the mood for Christmas, which is probably why the city is known as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines
Reveillon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Reveillon in Rio de Janeiro is one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. Around two million people pack Copacabana beach, waiting to see in the New Year. One of the best ways to view the celebrations is from one of the beachside hotels, or alternatively sitting out at sea on a fancy pleasure boat.
Kaiserball, Vienna, Austria
The Imperial Ball is held on New Years Eve at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. Unfortunately entrance to the Kaiserball starts at €65 per person for students and goes up to €450 per person for tickets that include a seat at the gala dinner.
Hogmanay, Stonehaven, Scotland
Hogmanay is the Scottish word for the last day of the year. In Stonehaven, people celebrate New Year’s Eve by swinging metre wide burning balls of flammable material around their heads as they walk up and down the highstreet. Probably not something you want to try after drinking too much whiskey.