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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Handy calendar for must-attend events abroad

Sneha Mahale, Hindustan Times   January 12, 2014
First Published: 14:51 IST(12/1/2014) | Last Updated: 14:56 IST(12/1/2014)

Globetrotters have more reasons to travel than just the carnival in Rio, Oktoberfest in Germany and bullfighting in Spain. If you seek to explore the world beyond the fests in India, here’s where you should be heading to this year. 

January
Ati-Atihan, Philippines
With endless dance and music, Kalibo seems to be a melting pot of celebrations throughout the duration of the fest. Set to take place from January 10 to 19, the last day has an almost Mardi Gras-like atmosphere with street dances and locals donning eccentric costumes.

February
Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan
For seven days of the month (February 5-11), millions of tourists flock to Japan to catch a glimpse of snow statues and ice sculptures that dot the area. Odori Park, the grounds at Tsudome, and the main street in Susukino are major venues to host this event.   

March
Battle of the Oranges, Italy
Spain’s La Tomatina may be more popular, but the biggest food fight of Italy takes place in the city of Ivrea, where one can witness participants throwing oranges at each other. The fruit represents weapons and stones and are meant to be tossed at people riding in carts (representing tyrants from history).   

April
Naghol Land Diving, Vanuatu
The original adventure sport sees local men take the plunge off a rickety wooden structure. The vines need to be tied to their ankles in such a way that just the hair of the divers touches the ground. This apparently guarantees a bountiful harvest.

May
Combat des Reines, Switzerland
Bullfighting is certainly passé. This year, make a trip to Valais to see Heren cows have a go at each other near Alpine villages. Held in spring, the ‘Battle of the Queens’ is a major tourist attraction and the winner is sold at a commendable price.    

June
Bumba Meu Boi, Brazil
Amalgamating Indian, Portuguese and African influences, this event essentially revolves around a folk lore of an ox’s death and subsequent resurrection. Narrated through costumes, song and drama, the story takes on different forms depending on which region you are in.

July
Calgary Stampede, Canada
Tracing its origins to 1886, when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first fair, this annual rodeo festival attracts more than a million visitors every year. Competitions, exhibitions, parades and stage shows are held on the sidelines.    

August
Burning Man, USA
This is one of the rare events in which thousands gather at one spot at a particular time of the year to form a temporary metropolis dedicated to art and self-expression. The venue for this festival is Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

September
Galway Oyster Festival, Ireland
Celebrating the start of oyster season, this annual food extravaganza has often been billed as “one of the greatest shows on earth”. Incidentally, the festival was started as a means to extend the tourist season.

October
Iceland Airwaves, Iceland
Held in their capital city, Reykjavík, the focus of the five-day fest is to showcase new acts from within the country and across the globe. However, tickets for the musical fiesta are sold really fast, so you need to book them months in advance.

November
Melbourne Cup, Australia
One of the wealthiest horse races held in the year, it brings together the world of sport and glamour on one platform. A popular event in Melbourne, it is looked forward to annually.

December
Mevlana Whirling Dervishes, Turkey
Go one step closer to the divine by attending this spiritual fest dedicated to the 13th century poet, Rumi. The whirling is more to do with finding inner peace and devotion than just a way to make you dizzy.  


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