During the coldest of days, it is very tempting just be tucked in underneath the blanket. But instead of hibernating, why don’t you enjoy the best offerings of the season. Some of the best festivals celebrated across the globe happen during winter. Here are 8 reasons why you should start packing and make most of the winter:
Sapporo Winter Festival
Around 2 million people from different places flock to the island of Hokkaido in Japan for the annual Snow Festival in Sapporo. The tradition started in 1950 when some high school students made six statues from the surrounding snow. The people soon followed, building bigger and bigger snow statues and turning the festivities into an international contest by 1974. Today, the snow sculptures take several weeks to complete and while the crowd waits, you can enjoy great food, ice mazes, ice slides, and live bands.
The next Sapporo Winter Festival will be held from February 7 through 13, 2011.
If you are into dog mushing, then you might want to join or witness a great race that test the condition of the dog and the skill of the rider to their limits. The trail of the race stretches 1023 miles following an old trail during the Gold Rush from Fairbanks in Alaska through Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. Around 50 teams sign up for the event which involves climbing 4 mountains ranging from 3,000 feet up and higher.
The upcoming race will kick off in Whitehorse, Yukon on February 5.
The Up Helly Aa Viking Festival is a tradition of the people living in Shetland Islands in the United Kingdom. The people dress up as Vikings during loud parades on the streets while carrying torches and axes. The fun with flames surely heat up the winter celebration.
The festival is held every last Tuesday of January during the end of the winter solstice. In case you can’t make it to Shetland by January, there are still fire festivals through February and March.
Frozen Dead Guy Days
This festivity is held just west of Boulder in Colorado. The Frozen Dead Guy Days are 3 days of fun involving van smashes, polar plunge, snowshoe racing, and coffin racing. These activities have a good chunk of history behind it. The tradition has its roots when back in 1989, a Norwegian immigrant’s body was dipped in liquid nitrogen for several years with the hopes of resuscitating the dead man, Grandpa Morstoel.
The icy activities will run from March 4 to 6 in 2011.
Winter Festival of Lights
The festival of lights illuminates the Niagara Falls, Ontario and turns a 5-kilometer stretch into a winter wonderland. Around 3 million lights brighten up the trees in combo with 125 animated displays that can amuse any pair of eye that will see them. The winter festival of lights will run through the end of January 2011.
La Fete des Neiges
This is the snow Festival held yearly in Montreal. Families can enjoy different activities at Parc Jean-Drapeau for 3 consecutive weekends. You can choose from skating, strolling, kick sledding, or ice hockey to name a few. Participants will discover the different facets of how winter should be enjoyed just like how the people from Montreal do.
The La Fete des Neiges will start on 22 January through the 6 of February 2011.
Polar Bear Jumpoff
If you want to feel the cold winter literally then go to Seward, Alaska. Enjoy the company of people wearing the funniest costumes imaginable and muster all the courage to jump into the ice cold water of Resurrection Bay. There is also the Ugly Fish Toss, ice bowling, dog sled racing, karaoke, and oyster slurping.
Just by its name, you know that this must be Buenos Aires’. Dance aficionados can strut their hearts out for 18 days of tango in August. The milongeros, or the best tango dancers of the land, celebrate their art to display to the world. Tourists and locals can also learn the passionate tango ritual with free lessons given by the experts.
Bluff International Balloon Festival
This balloon festival is in Utah every January. It gathers the most colourful hot air balloons from different parts of the globe and teaches kids about flying. Attendees also push for different causes like the rehabilitation of parks, art programs, and educational programs.
New Orleans Mardi Gras
The Mardi Gras is one of the best parties in the planet. Winter will be all about jazz and colourful parades along the street of New Orleans. It will also be about costumes, beads, and booze. Floats will be rolling out of the streets by February 25 2011 and celebrations will be through March 8.
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