FESTIVALS AROUND THE WORLD TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2018
JANUARY: Wakakusa Yamayaki, Japan
Every fourth Saturday of January, the officials at Nara Park light the eastern Mt. Wakakusayama on fire. There are a number of theories as to the origins of this festival, from driving away wild boars to disputes between temples, but regardless of the origin, it marks a beautiful and memorable ceremony at the start of the new year. Enjoy the festivities like drum performances, archery and sword demonstrations, food stalls and rice cracker throwing competitions. Once night falls, Buddhist monks take up bamboo torches from the Kasuga Shrine to the foot of the mountain, and so begins the sacred fire.
FEBRUARY: Tapati, Easter Island
Tapati is a Easter Island tradition that dates back only to the 1970s, as a celebration of Rapa Nui people and culture. Show up to enjoy dancing, singing competitions, and traditional sporting events such as swimming, canoeing, and horse racing.
MARCH: Spring Equinox, Chichen Itza, Mexico
The lost civilization of the Mayans left behind a wealth of archaeological wonders that you can discover while on vacation in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. During the Spring Equinox, be sure to visit the Pyramid of Kukulkan, aka El Castillo pyramid, which dominates Chichen Itza. Around 4pm on the Spring Equinox–in 2018, March 20—the pyramid’s shadowy stairway terraces create an illusion of a slithering snake.
APRIL: Vermont Maple Festival, St. Albans, QC, Canada
Every April, St. Albans plays host to the Vermont Maple Festival, celebrating the first harvest of the year. Welcome all sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) – take part in street stall samplings, tastings, exhibitions and fun demonstrations. Don’t miss the pancake breakfast and the crowning of the town’s Maple King and Queen.
APRIL/MAY: Cheung Chau Bun, China
On the 5th day of the 4th lunar month, China celebrates Cheung Chau Bun festival, an annual celebration just a mile from Hong Kong. For the festivities, locals create papier-mâché effigies of deities, prepare costumes, bake buns and build a bamboo tower to ward off evil spirits. It’s said to originate from rituals that were intended to fend off plagues.
MAY: Waisak, Indonesia
Waisak is Indonesia’s celebration of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death, observed in the full moon in May. Be sure to head to Borobudur Temple on Java for the best of the festivities. The temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest Buddhist structure in the world, hosts a ritualistic procession of. Buddhist monks in saffron robes carrying holy water and candles, and release puja lanterns into the night sky.
JUNE: Inti Raymi, Peru
The Peruvian Into Raymi is a festival of the sun, and marks the beginning of the Inca New Year. Though the Spanish conquistadors banned the ceremony in 1535, since 1944 there has been a historical re-enactment with colorful costumes and folk dances at the citadel of Sacsayhuamán.
JUNE/JULY: Bali Arts Festival, Indonesia
Bali’s capital Denpasar erupts over the summer in a month-long cultural festival. It opens with a parade at the Bajra Sandhi monument, and culminates at the Taman Werdhi Budaya Arts Center, with performances of traditional dance, music, ballet, mask dances and wayang shadow puppetry.
JUNE TO SEPTEMBER: Singapore International Festival of the Arts
The annual SIFA is a national performing arts festival of theater, dance and music, a major highlight of Singapore’s cultural calendar.
OCTOBER: Creole Festival, Seychelles
The Festival Kreol is the biggest event in Seychelles, a marvelous embracing of smells, colors, sights and sounds celebrating Creole culture, from art galleries to fairs to floating parades.
NOVEMBER: Loy Krathong, Thailand
A beautiful water festival in Thailand, festival goers celebrate the harvest by gathering around lakes, rivers and canals to release lotus-shaped rafts known as krathongs into the water.
DECEMBER: Art Basel, Miami, FL
In Florida for a Cruise from Fort Lauderdale? Stop by Miami for Art Basel, a contemporary arts fair celebrating sculptures, paintings, films and anyone who appreciates the arts.
What’s on your bucket list for 2018? Contact our agents at 503-224-0180 / firstname.lastname@example.org to start planning your trip today.