Come October, and the global culturati swings into top gear. It’s a new theatre season, folk and Sufi music pervade the atmosphere, jazz steps up the beat, and local traditions and festivals step up the ante. As the seasons turn, we thought we would share our own calendar of awesome events around the world from October to March. Vivid and vibrant, festivals and events are a great way to introduce culture to your children. They are also an incredible celebration of the spirit and leave you feeling warm, happy and uplifted!
In India, Jodhpur is the place to be in October. More specifically, at the Meherangarh Fort, where the finest folk musicians from across the Indian North West come together for the Rajasthan International Folk Festival, fondly known as RIFF. In a tribute to the indigenous communities of the Thar Desert, this super spectacle of folk dance, music and community is a fabulous experience.
Jodhpur can be combined with Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Ranakpur and Udaipur to create a terrific journey through Rajasthan.
In Germany, Oktoberfest is celebrated in high spirit, and you probably want to find yourself in Munich. One of Germany’s most fun, cultural and simply enjoyable cities to roam around in, Munich is well worth the visit any time of year – but especially over Oktoberfest. People spill out of the city’s “biergartens” and bars, the music is lively and the vibe is filled with tons of fun.
Munich can be combined with Leipzig, Dresden, Potsdam, Berlin, and Prague to create an incredible journey through Bavaria.
What better way to celebrate November than Diwali! India literally steps into the limelight during this festival, which is celebrated with joy and happiness across the country by everybody. From sacred pujas to wild Diwali parties, and we must not forget, the sweets – Diwali is a gorgeous time to be in India. One of our favourite places to visit for Diwali – Delhi! The capital literally lights up and everyone is immersed in a spirit of festivity.
Delhi can be combined with Amritsar, Jaipur, Agra and Varanasi for an awesome and inspiring Diwali sojourn.
On the other side of the pond, the USA is celebrating Thanksgiving! There are few bigger holidays in the USA, celebrated with the same amount of exuberance, than this holiday. Foodies, put your bibs on! This is when the old world traditional cuisine of North America comes to the forefront. Whether it’s that roasted Turkey bird, golden corn on the cob dripping with melted butter, or green bean casserole, topped off with a dollop of cranberry jelly, we guarantee you won’t be moving for several hours after the feast.
Some of our favourite places to spend Thanksgiving in the USA include Vermont – for the Fall colors, Washington DC, and Seattle (if you’re looking for your Turkey with a slightly Asian glaze!)
Christmas & New Year is universal and few holidays have the same charm and appeal. A few of our favorite Christmas moments include… the Christmas celebrations and New Year’s events in Austria – Vienna is a top favourite! From it’s Christmas markets to its incredible concerts, operas and balls, Vienna really comes to life in the week between Christmas and New Year.
You can combine a visit to Vienna with a trip to Salzburg and the Benedictine Abbey at Melk.
Christmas in the sun! Celebrate your “white Christmas” on a beach in the Southern Hemisphere – Rio de Janeiro is a great place to start and then continue the wild revelry in the sunny south in the island province of Santa Catarina as you jump the waves, all dressed in white, over Reveillon!
Start your Brazilian revelry in the heavenly environs of Rio de Janeiro, before flying south to Florianopolis to explore the beauty of Santa Catarina.
Or if you’re looking for that white and snowy Christmas, then there are few more inspiring places in the world than St. Petersburg, Russia. From its mystical incense filled Orthodox Churches, to its beautiful choirs, added attractions are the St. Petersburg Philharmonic’s music festival a couple of days after Christmas, rounded off by the opulent magnificence of the Tsar’s Ball at Catherine’s Palace. It doesn’t get better than this.
St. Petersburg combines perfectly with Moscow. There is no better time to explore the Tsar and Tatar heritage of Russia than in the peace of winter when the summer tourists are in abeyance and the theater is in full swing!
South India’s cultural calendar swings into high gear from mid-December to mid-January with the Marghazi Dance & Music Festival in Chennai. Marghazi brings to life the classical dance and music culture of Tamil Nadu, celebrating some of the finest artists in India’s southernmost state.
Chennai is beautifully combined with a visit to the ancient temple towns of Mahaballipuram and Madurai, and the colonial charm of Pondicherry.
Ah yes, you’re still recovering from the debauchery over New Year’s, but it’s a new year, a new beginning and you need to aim high! Head to Ahmedabad in Gujarat for the International Kite Festival! Compete with the best and most colourful kite enthusiasts as you take to the winds!
Ahmedabad is a wonderful place to start a journey into Gujarat and the magnificent landscape, tribal culture and wildlife of the Great Rann of Kutch.
The Kochi Muziris Art Biennale is one of Asia’s edgiest art events. It runs each year from December through March in the heart of Fort Cochin. Watch artistes of every hue and style bring their work to life in this stupendous event of art and culture.
Cochin can be combined with a relaxing sojourn along the backwaters to Kumarakom and a beach break at Kovalam. In January the weather is perfect!
Another noteworthy event on the January calendar – Jaipur LitFest. One of the most prestigious literature festivals in India, Jaipur LitFest is a super platform to hear more about Asia’s emerging authors in a global context.
Jaipur is one of the major cities of the Golden Triangle and can also be combined with Jodhpur and Udaipur.
And if you really want to keep the celebrations rolling, Chinese New Year in 2017 kicks off on January 28! There’s no bigger celebration in the Middle Kingdom than the ringing in of the New Year!
Beijing and Shanghai are must-dos in China. If you want to see the Chinese countryside, head south west to Lijian, Dalian and Kunming or into the countryside outside of Shanghai!
It’s back to Rajasthan in February. The Thar Desert echoes with sufi music at the World Sacred Spirit Festival in Nagaur and Jodhpur. Truly one of the most soul-stirring experiences on the global cultural calendar, this is an event worth chalking into your diary today!
Jodhpur and Nagaur are a trip in themselves. Explore more of Rajasthan by heading up to its North Western region to Bikaner and Gajjner.
Mumbai comes to life in February! Kick off with the Kala Ghoda Arts and Crafts Festival, a week long extravaganza of art, literature, dance, music and crafts. This delightful street festival brings South Mumbai to life as everyone comes out to celebrate the indomitable spirit of the city.
Mumbai can be combined with a trip to the vineyards of Nashik, or a short trip down to Goa!
We would be remiss not to mention Carnevale! February is Carnevale month across the world. From Goa to Rijeka, to Venice to Salvador de Bahia. Carnevale spirit is a heady frenzy of fun and craziness. Lose yourself to the rhythm and join the party!
Life’s a party – plan your vacation in Brazil, Italy, Croatia or India around Carnevale celebrations!
It’s Spring! What better way to celebrate than with Holi! This multicoloured multicultural festival is truly a celebration of life! Get your hands dirty as you play with coloured powders and bring back the child in you!
Holi is everywhere but nowhere better than in North India! Rajasthan, Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh are all super options to experience the festival of colours!
Prague comes to life in March with the Spring Music Festival. Celebrate Prague’s incredible theater culture with a fabulous repertoire of western classical music.
Prague can be combined with Budapest, Vienna, Krakow, or the Czech Countryside.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg! Call us today to plan your cultural calendar across the world and soak in the incredible range of art, music, dance and diversity!