In the past, planning our holidays has been based on ‘what country have I never visited but am desperate to see!”. More recently, when we have an opportunity to take time off work we’ve been trying to plan our trips more strategically by considering seasons and annual events. Here is a full calendar year of places to travel to.
Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Scotland
Why attend this festival? Known as the fire festival, the locals dress up as Vikings, march with torches and burn a boat! Up Helly Aa is held on the last Tuesday in January every year.
Rio Carnaval, Rio, Brazil
Few people have never heard of the biggest carnival celebration in the world. Rio Carnaval is a five day street celebration with parades, costumes, dancing and parties. Carnaval is held 40 days before Easter.
Carnival of Venice, Venice, Italy
Over three weeks from late January to mid February, Venice ‘sheds of winter’ with local performances and a mass of masked party goers. We’re heading here in a couple of weeks! So excited!
Chinese New Year, China
Also known as the Spring Festival, with Lion dances, dragon dances, endless decorations and displays – the Chinese know how to celebrate. The date changes based on the lunisolar calendar. You can read about my experiences from a visit to Hong Kong in 2011!
Mardi Gras, New Orleans, United States of America
Another annual carnivale includes a season of parades, masked balls and cake parties. You’ll find me at the cake parties. Mardi Gras is held in the two weeks prior to Ash Wednesday.
February or March
Taiwan Lantern Festival, Taiwan
When thousands of lanterns are lit and released into the sky. Yes please. You’ll find me there singing the theme song to ‘Tangled’.
Holi Festival, India
The festival of colours or festival of love. Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival known for its giant colorful dye fight.
Tulip Fields, The Netherlands
Even locals never overcome the awe of the rows and rows of colorful tulip fields that grow seasonly in The Netherlands.
Coachella, California, USA
A celebration of music, fashion and countless opportunities for celebrity spotting. My friend danced next to Leo DiCaprio and I have jealousy.
Cherry Blossom Season, Japan
There are a lot of beautiful places to visit during Spring time in Japan, including the base of Mt Fuji covered in cherry blossoms.
Glastonbury Festival, England
I shouldn’t have included this one because Beaton might still be crying over her missed tickets, but it’s the only event I can get for June (sorry Beats). Glastonbury is a 5 day performing arts festival including music, dance, comedy, circus, theatre and cabaret.
July may be peak season in Europe but it’s peak season because it’s the sunniest and warmest time of the year. As an Australian who cherishes the sun- this is the only time I will visit Europe. Blue skies over Cornwall, lavender fields in the South of France and swimming after a hot day in the Algarves – make the best of Europe’s summer!
August / September
Burning Man, Nevada, USA
A temporary community erected in the desert of Nevada that concludes with the burning of a large wooden man. Who even thought of this?
Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
It’s like the exhibition but for adults. Instead of show bags, you get beer. Instead of strawberry ice cream cones, you get pork knuckle.
There are several countries where you can spot increbile aurora lights. While they can be seen from March – October, the best time to see them is usually September.
Halloween, Salem, USA
Salem, home of the infamous witch trials, celebrates Halloween for a whole month. Don’t light the black flame candle!
Day of the Dead Festival, Mexico
A festival to honor the dead and celebrate the living. You might not have heard of the festival but you’ve probably seen these types of faces:
Did you know you can go to Bethlehem on Christmas Day? (I mean, despite the smart traveller warnings). Or you can see the Pope at midnight mass in Vatican City? Or you can go to Santa’s Village in Finland? Too many places, not enough Christmas days!