Culture of Celebration
From Santacon in Portland to the Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong, from Christmas dinner in Cuba to New Year’s Eve on the beaches of Brazil, discover celebrations across the globe.
Recent Festivals and Events Articles
- California Coast Road Trip: Visiting Santa Cruz The seacoast city of Santa Cruz, with its ultra-liberal culture, redwood-clad university, and general sense of funky fun, prides itself on keeping things weird. Here’s what to see and do in Santa Cruz, California.
- The Burning of Zozobra Every fall a raucous chant fills the air in Santa Fe’s Fort Marcy Park: “Burn him! Burn him! Burn him!” It’s not a witch hunt, but the ritual torching of Zozobra, a 50-foot-tall marionette with long, grasping arms, glowering eyes, and a moaning voice.
- Festivals and Events in Half Moon Bay, California Half Moon Bay is a charming small town that takes full advantage of its beautiful natural setting during these festivals and events.
- Planning a Visit to Grímsey, Island of the Midnight Sun Grímsey is a windswept and secluded island that is as striking in beauty as it is difficult to reach. Here are tips, advice, and more on planning a visit to Iceland’s Island of the Midnight Sun.
- 12 Best Annual Festivals in Iceland There’s always something going on in Iceland—and whether it’s the Viking Festival in June celebrating the country’s roots, or the huge Iceland Airwaves music festival in the autumn, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a round-up of the 12 best annual festivals and events.
Featured Holiday Articles
- Visiting a Shinto Shrine on New Year’s Eve in Akan On New Year’s Eve, many people in Japan brave the snow to visit Shinto shrines and pray for good fortune in the coming year. Ruthy Kanagy invites us to experience the tradition through her eyes, from making an offering to warming up with grilled mochi and a cup of hot, sweet sake.
- Chaul Chnam Thmey: Happy New Year in Cambodia In many places around the world, December is a month filled with holiday celebration. In Cambodia, a predominantly Buddhist nation, the New Year is celebrated in April (right in the middle of the hot season) and is the most important spiritual and social event of the year. Author Tom Vater discusses how the holiday is ...
- Réveillon in Imbassaí In Brazil, it’s customary on New Year’s to get decked out in immaculate white and offer flowers to Iemanjá, Queen of the Seas. Resident Michael Sommers shares a fun, humor-filled experience of the end-of-the-year holiday.
- New Year’s Eve in Ecuador: Embracing Local Culture Instead of singing “Auld Lang Syne” when midnight strikes in Ecuador, residents set dummies on fire. Read on to learn more about the country’s biggest tradition on New Year’s Eve as Amy E. Robertson shares her experience of the holiday in Quito.
- Chun Jie: Spring Festival in Beijing Chun Jie celebrates the beginning of the new Chinese year. Like most Chinese holidays, its exact date varies slightly from year to year, depending on the Chinese calendar. Author Shannon Aitken discusses the holiday’s traditions and why this may (or may not) be a great time to visit Beijing.
- ‘Tis the Season of Salt Cod, Piñatas, and Ponche Mexico’s Christmas season is full of tradition and pageantry—though very few conifers. Julie Doherty Meade describes the various ways of celebrating, and she shares the story of her own first Christmas in Mexico.
- A Merry Cuban Christmas There’s a good reason that many Cubans have never seen Santa, and it’s not because he couldn’t get a visa—nor that it’s never been known to snow in Cuba. To Cuba’s young, bearded revolutionaries, Christmas was both religious and capitalist at the same time, so the holiday was officially banned. Christopher P. Baker discusses the ...
- Christmas Celebrations in Delhi Christmas is not the most feted day of the year for most people in Delhi, but it definitely does not go by unnoticed. Author Margot Bigg discusses holiday celebrations in India.
- Christmas in Paris: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire Nat King Cole probably didn’t have Parisian street corners in mind when he crooned the opening lines to the classic holiday tune “The Christmas Song,” but chestnuts roasting on an open fire are an annual tradition that adds a hefty dose of seasonal charm to the City of Light. Author Aurelia d’Andrea reveals the best ...
- A Queenstown Carol For those from the northern hemisphere, it’s a bit surreal to experience Christmas “down under.” Author Michelle Waitzman shares her first experience of the holiday in New Zealand, from a paragliding adventure she’d never forget to a shared meal that showcased the Kiwi community spirit.
Image at top of the Grove City Balloon Festival © J. Todd Poling, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.