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Calendar of Events - Arts, Culture & History


  • Chinese New Year celebration
  • Pushkar Camel Fair
  • Rio Carnival

Africa

Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

Fes, Morocco

June 22-30, 2018
This is an ANNUAL event.


This wonderful spiritual festival, held annually in Fes, allows you to bump into whirling dervishes from Iran as well as mystics, chanters and dancers from all around the world. A festival celebrating the local culture of Fes is held concurrently. Both festivals allow visitors a wonderful insight into traditional life in the old walled city. Sip some mint tea, enjoy sufi chanting and of course all that delicious Moroccan food.

Mombasa Carnival

Mombasa, Kenya
November
This is an ANNUAL event.

Mombasa carnival is the most popular festival in Kenya which celebrates the traditions and ethnicity of tribes in Kenya. This vibrant festival is held in November in Mombasa, a city that has been influenced by African and Arabic customs for many years. For this reason, it portrays African and Arabian cultures exceptionally well. The main features of the Mombasa Carnival are multinational floats and colorful parades. Dance and music are also integral parts of this festival. You will find many people strolling through the streets in unusual costumes all day long. Stalls that sell a wide range of goods and special Kenyan dishes are also set up everywhere in the city during the Mombasa Carnival.

Asia

Chinese New Year

Various cities throughout Asia
Early to Mid January
This is an ANNUAL event.

Come and celebrate the Chinese New Year in all its glory in most areas of Asia. Mainland China and Hong Kong are the center points for the week-long celebrations, but China Towns in Bangkok, Singapore and Malaysia also have major celebrations. Experience Chinese culture, cuisine and mingle with the friendly Asian people.

Loi Krathong Day

All Over Thailand
Late November
This is an ANNUAL event.

This is one of the most popular festivals of Thailand celebrated annually on the full-moon Day of the twelfth lunar month. "Loy" means "To Float" and a "krathong" is a lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves. The festival starts in the evening when there is a full moon in the sky. People of all walks of life carry their Krathongs to the nearby rivers. After lighting candles and joss-sticks and making a wish, they gently place the Krathongs on the water and let them drift away till they go out of sight. For visitors to Thailand, the Loy Krathong Festival is an occasion not to be missed.

Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar, India
November
This is an ANNUAL event.

Held each November at the time of the Kartik Purnima full moon, Pushkar Camel Fair is one of India’s most highly-rated travel experiences, a spectacle on an epic scale, attracting more than 11,000 camels, horses and cattle and visited by over 400,000 people over a period of around 14 days. For visitors it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the colour and carnival-like atmosphere of one of the last great traditional melas, which brings livestock, farmers, traders and villagers together from all over Rajasthan.

Surin Elephant Round-Up

Surin, Thailand
November 19-20
This is an ANNUAL event.

The Surin Elephant Round-Up brings thousands to the Sri Narong Stadium, where some 250 trained elephants are assembled. The spectacular shows include elephant football, tug-of-war, demonstrations of log-pulling skills and a wonderful parade of elephants outfitted for medieval warfare. The fun begins in the week preceding the main event, with a parade through the streets and a market out by the stadium, which continues all week. On Friday morning, the "elephant breakfast" is the biggest mass feeding of elephants anywhere in the world, and many streets are lined with food for the giant animals to eat. The main event on Saturday and Sunday features a series of parades and demonstrations examining all aspects of a working elephant's life, and concludes with a 2000-strong parade, with elephants and participants in costume.

Songkran Festival

Thailand
April
This is an ANNUAL event.

One of the high spots of the Thai calendar is the annual New Year celebration, or Songkran, which falls on or around April 13, when the sun moves into Aries. This national holiday lasts for three days or more. The word 'Songkran' originates from the Sanskrit meaning 'beginning of the solar year'. The holiday-loving Thais therefore get to celebrate New Year three times each year: the Western New Year on January 1, the Chinese New Year in February, and the Thai New Year in April. Traditionally, Thais visit temples at this time of year to offer food to the monks and to participate in bathing ceremonies for Buddha images. At home, young people pour scented water into the hands of their parents and elders as a mark of respect and to receive the blessing of the older folk.

Another custom is the releasing of small fish into rivers and canals. This merit-making act is thought to come from the old practice of collecting small fish from dried out pools, to keep and later release back into the wild. These days, Songkran has turned into a water-throwing funfest, in which anyone and everyone is liable to get thoroughly drenched-a blessed relief in this, the hottest season of the year. The water-throwing custom may have come from the mythical belief that sea serpents or 'naga' bring on the rains by spouting water from the sea. Water throwing may therefore have been a rain-making custom to guarantee ample water for next year's crops.

Visakha Puja Day

Thailand
Early June
This is an ANNUAL event.

You do not have to be a Buddhist to visit Thailand and see how the Royal Kingdom of Thailand celebrates Visakha Puja Day on the 15 the Day of the waxing moon of the sixth month. Buddhists around the world celebrate Buddha's benevolence in sharing the fruit of his enlightenment to the world at large, in the hope of ending suffering in the world. If you come to Thailand during this time, you will experience meditation everywhere you go. People wearing white outfits gather at designated places and do their meditation, which is said to do a lot of good to their mind clarity.

Latin America

Barranquilla Carnaval

Barranquilla, Colombia
February 10-13, 2018
This is an ANNUAL event.

Barranquilla is famous for its annual carnival held 40 days before Easter week. It is one of the oldest in Latin America and is less commercial than the one in Rio. There are three days of intense revelry with dancing and singing amongst friendly and enthusiastic crowds, spectacular float processions, parades and beauty queens.

Founding Of Quito

Quito, Ecuador
December 6th
This is an ANNUAL event.

Celebrated the first week of December, Quito takes on a festive spirit as the locals take in bullfights, watch parades, attend street dances, and ride around Quito atop Chivas (open-air party buses complete with live music and drinks).

Inti Raymi

Cuzco, Peru
June 24th
This is an ANNUAL event.

Inti Raymi (The Festival of the Sun) is the ancient Incan religious festival in honour of the god Inti, and marking the winter solstice. Today's festivities involve a procession from Qoricancha to the Incan ruins at Sacsayhuaman where huge crowds await. Following speeches to the gods the procession continues to Cuzco. On the night before Inti Raymi the Plaza de Armas is crowded with processions and food stalls.

La Diablada (Devil's Carnival)

Oruro, Bolivia
February 09-12, 2018
This is an ANNUAL event.

This is a wild annual festival featuring a spectacular parade of devils, performed by dancers in garish masks and costumes. Revellers then gather in the town square for a thunderous exchange of water bombs. Gringos beware!

Rio Carnival

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
February 09-13, 2018
This is an ANNUAL event.

Rio Carnival is a wild 4 day celebration, 40 days before Easter. It officially starts on Saturday and finishes on Fat Tuesday with the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday after which one is supposed to abstain from all bodily pleasures. Carnival with all its excesses, celebrated as a profane event, can be considered an act of farewell to the pleasures of the flesh. It usually happens in February, the hottest month in the Southern Hemisphere, when the Rio summer is at its peak. There are carnival celebrations in virtually every corner of Brazil, the best-known ones taking place in Recife together with the neighbouring Olinda (in the North of Brazil) and Salvador. But the biggest and most famous carnival is undoubtedly the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

Salvador Carnaval

Salvador, Brazil
February
This is an ANNUAL event.

Brazil's second largest Carnaval is characterized by slow moving parades of bands atop long trucks loaded with speakers. Attendees can pay an additional cost to dance alongside the truck in a roped-off area alongside the moving truck. Salvador's historic Pelourinho old town hosts some of Carnaval's parades and concerts.

Tapati Rapa Nui

Easter Island, Chile
January - February
This is an ANNUAL event.

Tapati Rapa Nui is a two-week long celebration of Rapa Nui's rich cultural heritage that takes place at the end of January or beginning of February each year. Though it was originally created as a music and poetry festival in 1975, those who participated in the festival realized its potential to showcase the islanders' Polynesian heritage in more fun, diverse, and exciting ways.

World Tango Festival

Buenos Aires, Argentina
August
This is an ANNUAL event.

Born in the brothels of Buenos Aires, tango embodies, perhaps more than anything else, the brooding sensuality and passion of the Argentine people. A musical and dance genre which, at its best can evoke the eroticism of a Klimt painting or a Moore sculpture, tango is currently enjoying a thrilling revival in Buenos Aires. And this August the city celebrates its 10th annual World Tango Festival.

Billed by its organizers as 'the world's biggest tango extravaganza', it is, in fact, two events in one. It starts with La Festival - a nine-day celebration of tango shows and recitals, classes and milongas (dances), book signings, and film screenings at venues across the city - before morphing into the Mundial de Tango, the Tango World Championship, which pits the world's finest tango dancers against one another.

South Pacific

Art Deco Festival

Napier, New Zealand
February
This is an ANNUAL event.

A unique event found only in New Zealand. Every February, thousands of people travel back in time to glitz and glamour as they revel in the 1930s atmosphere created in the heart of the city. New Zealand’s Art Deco capital of Napier, celebrates its annual festival in February with over 200 events, including outdoor concerts, vintage car parades, fashions shows, steam train rides, great Gatsby picnics and so much more. Over 40,000 people flock from all over the world into Napier to see it transform back in time and enjoy this iconic event.

Australia's National Day

Sydney, Australia
January 26th
This is an ANNUAL event.

The largest single public event in the country takes place in Sydney on Australia's national day, 26 January. Tall ship and ferry boat races, military flyover and free outdoor concerts bring Sydney Harbour to life, while fireworks dominate the night sky over Darling Harbour.

Henley on Todd Regatta

Alice Springs, Australia
August 19, 2017
This is an ANNUAL event.

Only in Australia would you find an event like the famous Henley on Todd Regatta. Every August, the dry riverbed of the Todd River becomes a playground for locals and visitors from all over the world who come to participate or just watch all the quirky events that make the Regatta so special. From “rowing” and “kayaking” to “boogie boarding” and “sand shoveling,” all the events are done without the aid of water!

Mardis Gras

Sydney, Australia

February 13, 2018
February 05, 2020
This is an ANNUAL event.

After 36 years, the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardis Gras is now the biggest event of its kind in the world. The event attracts over 10,000 people from around the world who come together to celebrate and support the LGBTQI community. Parades, parties and good fun fill the Streets around Hyde Park --- an event not to be missed when in Sydney!

Moomba Festival

Melbourne, Australia
March 10-13, 2018
This is an ANNUAL event.

Held over the Labour Day long weekend, Moomba takes place on the banks of the Yarra River and is designed to offer fun for all the family. Join in and celebrate the city's colourful, energetic life at Melbourne's largest, most treasured community festival. The Moomba Festival is a big part of our city's life, and is looked forward to by young and old. Moomba embraces everyone, and is a wonderful opportunity for you and yours to come and have a great time by the banks of the Yarra River.

Traditional highlights of the festival include the spectacle of our beloved Moomba Parade or the antics of the hilarious Birdman Rally where contestants aim to fly across the river by leaping off a four-metre platform with wings attached to their costumes.. All for a good cause. Kids will wonder at the delights of the Children's Garden presented by Ranger Roo, while bigger 'kids' will dig the awesome live music and adrenalin pumping water sports.

Mt. Hagen Sing Sing

Mt. Hagen, Papua New Guinea
August 10-13, 2017
This is an ANNUAL event.

Each year in August, Mount Hagen hosts the Mount Hagen Cultural Show, one of the largest cultural events in Papua New Guinea. Various regional, provincial, and even national tribal dance groups gather to celebrate their cultural heritage in the form of sing-sing. The colours, the headdresses, the face paintings and the sheer amazing spectacle of it all will take your breath away! Mt. Hagen is third largest city in Papua New Guinea located in the lush Wahgi Valley and is the capital of the Western Highlands Province. It is accessible by scheduled daily flights from Port Morseby.

New Year's Eve Celebrations

Sydney, Australia
December 31st
This is an ANNUAL event.

Because of the time zone situation it's the first big bash of the year. On Sydney's waterfront, with the graceful Sydney Bridge as a background, more than a million people gather to see the breathtaking display as 80,000 fireworks create a dazzling explosion of pyrotechnics. Over 600 million more watch the satellite broadcast worldwide. Sydney's New Year is one of the world's biggest free public events.

The Royal Adelaide Show

Adelaide, Australia
September 
This is an ANNUAL event.

The Royal Adelaide Show is South Australia's biggest annual event and features everything from carnival rides to handicrafts, cookery and champion livestock. Almost half the State's population makes the trip to Adelaide Showground for this important social event. Taking centre stage is the grand parade, where champion livestock is proudly shown off. Entertainment includes dance and gymnastics displays, wood chopping competitions, daredevil motorbike riding, precision driving teams, pig racing, sheepdog trials and fireworks.

Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow

Wanaka, New Zealand
March 30-April 1, 2018

Every 2 years, New Zealanders and International visitors come to Wanaka in the heart of the Southern Lakes Region for the famous ‘Warbirds over Wanaka’ Airshow. Renowned for its glaciers and nestled on the shores of an azure blue lake amongst might peaks of the the Southern Alps, Wanaka is only a couple of hours drive from Christchurch. The natural amphitheatre created by the mountains provides a backdrop of stunning scenery for the Airshow. The show features some of the most famous warbirds in the world as well as displaying modern jets of today—together they present a veritable feast of aviation attractions. On the ground, a variety of military vehicles, vintage tractors, vintage machinery and an aviation trade expo vie for the visitors attention.

Europe

The Oktoberfest

Munich, Bavaria, Germany
September 16-October 2, 2017
This is an ANNUAL event.

The Oktoberfest is a sixteen-day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany during late September (and running to early October). It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year, and is an enjoyable event with an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event. Oktoberfest biers are the beers that have been served at the event in Munich since 1818, and are supplied by 6 breweries known as the Big Six: Spaten, Augustiner , Hofbräu, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr.

The Munich Oktoberfest, traditionally, takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. In 1990, the schedule was modified in response to German reunification so that if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3 German Unity Day. Thus, the festival is now 17 days when the 1st Sunday is October 2 and 18 days when it is October 1. The festival is held on an area named the Theresienwiese (field, or meadow, of Therese), often called d' Wiesn for short.

Visitors also eat huge amounts of food, most of it traditional hearty fare such as Hendl (chicken ), Schweinsbraten (roast pork ), Haxn (knuckle of pork), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstel (sausages) along with Brezel (Pretzel ), Knödeln (potato or bread dumplings), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage ) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).

La Tomatina: The World's Largest Tomato Fight

Bunol, Spain
Last Wednesday in August
This is an ANNUAL event.

Each year in Bunol, Spain (in the Valencia region) the world's largest tomato fight commences. La Tomatina is the ultimate food fight. It is a festival for which people travel thousands of miles and all for the pleasure of pelting, and being pelted, by tomatoes. What a blast!

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