Mumbai: Each nation has its own cultural events reflecting the region’s philosophies, hopes, emotions and much more. Here is a list of popular cultural events you must add to your world travel bucket list next time.
Day of the Dead Parade
Launched in 2016, the Parade has been inspired by a similar scene set in Mexico City in the James Bond film Spectre. Held in the evening of November 2, it marks the start of the annual Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations and is a time when families honour deceased loved ones in the belief their souls return to earth to be with them. La Calavera Catrina (Dapper skeleton/Elegant skull) figures, which have a skeleton appearance and formal dress, skull imagery, costumes and body paint play a part in the celebrations and these have become the iconic Day of the Dead images that have been exported around the world. The parade has a theme every year. Last year it was ‘migration’.
George Town Literary Festival
The George Town Literary Festival is one of the most urgent, vital and provocative festivals in the region. Authors appearing at the upcoming edition from November 21-24 include 2019 Man Booker International Prize winner Jokha Alharti and 2019 EBRD Literature Prize winner Hamid Ismailov.
Alpine Cow Parade
In Switzerland, you know the clock will soon strike autumn when processions of cows crowned with flowers and hung with huge clanging bells, descend from summer alpine pastures to their winter barns before the snow. Authentic customs and traditions are enthusiastically celebrated on this festive occasion, attracting a large audience.
Led by cowherds and children dressed in embroidered traditional jackets and dresses, the festivities include more than pretty cows, on parade you can hear alpenhorns and yodeling, and see traditional dancing, flag-throwing and men marching to the tune of the cowbells around their necks. Regional crafts and food are offered, including, of course, cheese! This can be experienced in various regions of Switzerland including Gstaad and Lucerne.
Right time to visit: September to October.
FAWC! Food and Wine Classic
FAWC! (Food and Wine Classic), New Zealand’s biggest food and wine festival returns to Hawke’s Bay, and will be held at Black Barn Vineyards from November 1-10 this year. It will bring together celebrity chefs, local wine and food producers and champions of Hawke’s Bay’s thriving food and wine industry in a programme of masterclasses, a showcase of boutique wines and artisan foods, and a market place of cooking and tasting stations.
Known as the ‘fruit bowl of New Zealand’, Hawke’s Bay is a productive region of fertile soils and a pleasant climate, that also claims the crown of oldest wine region in New Zealand. Nearly 170 years later Hawke’s Bay has matured into the country’s second largest wine producer and provedore of an enviable array of other goods from the humble apple, avocadoes and honey, to artisan cheeses, olives, lamb, beef and seafood.
Hawke’s Bay is a long-time favourite New Zealand beach holiday destination with high sunshine hours and numerous visitor attractions including spectacular coastal scenery and a world-renowned collection of Art Deco era architecture. Hawke’s Bay is a five-hour drive from Auckland and four hours from Wellington.
From its humble origins as a fringe gathering of comic book fans in 1970, when barely 100 participants attended, Comic-Con has grown into one of the world’s biggest pop culture extravaganzas. These days it draws around 1,30,000 eclectic attendees every July – gamers, anime devotees, fantasy and sci-fi fans, and of course comics enthusiasts – to the San Diego Convention Centre for four days of workshops, screenings, previews of upcoming blockbusters, and, in the organization’s own words, a “celebration of the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.”
Mardi Gras, Louisiana
When you think of Mardi Gras in the USA, New Orleans, Louisiana instantly comes to mind. The most popular time to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras begins the Friday before Fat Tuesday. Arriving then will ensure you’ll see the most popular parades, like Endymion (Saturday), Bacchus (Sunday), Zulu and Rex (both on Fat Tuesday). Each night, bars and nightclubs will host parties along Bourbon Street and right in the heart of the French Quarter. But if you prefer bars that cater more to locals, check out Frenchman Street or Magazine Street. Mardi Gras in New Orleans ends promptly at midnight on Ash Wednesday, so don’t expect to continue partying late into the night on Wednesday morning.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico
Held annually in October with more than 500 balloons, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico is what the city touts as the largest hot air balloon festival in the USA and one of the largest in the world. That’s no surprise given the ornate designs on the balloons, with fractal and kaleidoscope patterns, and the backdrop of the Sandia Mountains. The fiesta is one of the rare hot-air balloon events where you can walk among the balloons and chat with the pilots, too.
Every year on the third weekend in May, the town of Oxnard celebrates its agricultural bounty at the two-day California Strawberry Festival. They have good reason to celebrate: This coastal community 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles is one of California’s biggest strawberry-growing regions, producing 36 million trays of the ruby-red fruit annually, according to the California Strawberry Commission. The weekend at Oxnard College Park brings in about 200 artists, 50 food vendors, and dozens of entertainers.
Once your lips are stained brilliantly red, wander beyond the food stalls. Among the buzz of cooking demonstrations, live concerts on three stages, kiddie carnival rides, magic shows, and face-painting booths, don’t miss a few stand-out events, like the Berry Best Dressed Baby Contest. Adorable toddlers dressed up as strawberries parade across the festival stage. There’s also a Berry Best Hat Contest – roughly the same concept, but for adults. All this revelry goes to good causes, too, with festival proceeds benefitting non-profit charities in Oxnard.
Mendocino Whale Festival
California’s North Coast is a hot spot for whale watching any time of year, but your chances for spotting the giants are best during the annual northern migration (typically March through May) as they head back to Alaska. Thankfully, Mendocino Coast Whale Festivals bring more to the table than just an opportunity to stare at the ocean, waiting to see a spout or a fluke. All three annual March celebrations, which take place on concurrent weekends in the villages of Mendocino, Little River, and Fort Bragg, are timed to coincide with the annual gray whale migration to maximize your chances of a successful sighting. But each town also has offerings worth a visit no matter how many of the massive mammals you manage to lay eyes on.
Dubai Food Festival (DFF)
Dubai is a gastronomic paradise with 6000+ restaurants. A celebration of all things gastronomic, Dubai Food Festival 2020 will feature 17 days of irresistible delights. There will be so much to see, do and, of course, taste. From discovering the city’s Hidden Gems to incredible three-course meals at fine-dining restaurants (Restaurant Week) for just AED 199. Foodies can also flock to Jumeirah Beach for the swyp Beach Canteen, sip limited edition coffees at their favourite cafes, and book tours, master classes and unique feasts (Foodie Experience and Taste of Dubai) as part of the DFF. The festival is spread all over the city, from iconic malls and high-end restaurants to backstreet markets. Popular places like the JBR, City Walk, and Jumeirah Beach remain main highlights of the fest.
Dates: February 21 to March 9, 2020
The Seychelles International Carnival of Victoria also called as the Creole Festival is a three day-long event, generally held in the month of October on Mahé Island every year. With participation from 30 countries around the world, visit the island during this period to witness a fun-filled parade where different countries showcase their cultures through singing, dancing and acrobatics. It brings together participants ranging from children to the elderly citizens working together to showcase a chosen theme depicting and promoting the Creole culture. The festival attracts tourists and is an opportunity for international participants to join in the performance alongside local artists.
Marrakech Film Festival
The 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival will take place from November 29 to December 7, 2019. Celebrities like Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Agnès Varda, Robin Wright, Guillermo Del Toro, Thierry Frémaux, Christian Mungiu, Yousry Nasrallah, Jilali Ferhati, and others will be in attendance. Every year during this festival, tributes are paid to Bollywood movies and the presence of Bollywood movie actors is certain.
30th Macao International Fireworks Display Contest
The annual Macao International Fireworks Display Contest – universally acclaimed as one of the best of its kind – takes place on the Macau Tower Shorefront from mid-September to October 1 every year. Over the years, more than 100 international teams from China, the Philippines, Thailand, Chinese Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia, the UK, Switzerland, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain have participated in this world-class pyrotechnic shoot-out. Many visitors choose this time of year to come to Macao to enjoy an exotic holiday illuminated by spectacular displays in the night sky that can be enjoyed from many vantage points on the Macao Peninsula and Taipa Island.
Venue: Sea Area in front of the Macau Tower
Dates: September 7, 13, 21, 28 & October 1, 5
Sculptures By The Sea Bondi
The spectacular Bondi to Bronte walk gets an artistic makeover into a sculpture park with dozens of brilliant, wacky and playful sculptures for the festival. With over 100 pieces to admire, as well as thought-provoking interactive sculptures on both the beaches and the rocky outcrops overlooking the ocean, it’s the perfect place for a family outing on a warm evening.
Location: Bondi, Sydney
Dates: October 24 – November 10
Each year, Sydney becomes a canvas for brilliant light installations and projections. Vivid Sydney attracts more than 2.3 million visitors and sees historic sights – including the Sydney Opera House, Customs House and Taronga Zoo Sydney – illuminated in brilliant colour. The program also includes big-ticket music performances, creative conferences, talks, and workshops.
Venue: Sydney Harbour, New South Wales
Dates: May 24 – June 14, 2020
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Food and wine lovers in their hundreds and thousands each year indulge in bespoke events that fill Melbourne’s labyrinthine network of restaurants, laneways, lights-turned-down basements, dizzying rooftops as well as spilling into spectacular regional Victoria. The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is all about supporting and cultivating the very things that make Melbourne – and the surrounding regions – a gastronomic playground.
Location: Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Dates: March 6 – March 22, 2020
Field of Light
As darkness falls, 50,000 solar-powered stems crowned with frosted glass spheres slowly transform a swathe of land before the rock into a magical field of coloured light. The installation, by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro, is also known as Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku – “looking at lots of beautiful lights” in the local Pitjantjatjara language.
Location: Uluru, Northern Territory
Dates: Until December 31, 2020
Munich is Germany’s beer capital – and the Oktoberfest is a byword for beer all over the world. When the first Oktoberfest was held back in 1810 to celebrate a royal wedding, nobody could have dreamt it would go on to become such a famous event. Since that time, the world’s biggest beer festival has been held every year in September/October on the Theresienwiese grounds, bringing smiles to people’s faces in classic Bavarian style with oompah bands, beer fresh from the barrel and plenty of good cheer.
Anyone interested in the history of the festival can find out more on a guided tour of the famous Wies’n site, available since 1995 in several languages.