Visit any of these annual celebrations in December for a unique insight into each region’s culture.
Festival de Santo Tomas, Guatemala
13-21 December 2017
Set up high in the mountains north of Guatemala‘s Lake Atitlan, the indigenous town of Chichicastenango is the setting for this fascinating religious celebration of dance and acrobatics. On St Thomas’ Day, December 21, after a week of dance, parades and fireworks, the revelry reaches its peak when long wooden poles with ropes hanging from them are climbed by the colourfully costumed dancers.
Mount Popa Nat Festival, Myanmar
5-6 December 2017
Not far from Bagan, Mount Popa sits in national park, with Popa Taungkalat monastery at its peak. On the full moon of the month of Natdaw [December], people from across Myanmar gather to hike to this important pilgrimage site, which they believe is home to the most venerated spirits, known in Myanmar as Nats.
Hmong New Year Festival, Laos
Early December 2017
By hiking into the mountains from Luang Prabang in Laos, you can visit the Hmong village situated in the lush mountainside, where this community lives. Having come from China in the eighteenth century, the Hmong people now strive to preserve the distinctive culture and way of life that they’ve developed. Using traditional Hmong instruments, the villagers perform in colourful costume, to celebrate their new year.
25 December 2017
Across the world Christmas is celebrated as either a religious celebration, family occasion, or just an excuse to indulge. In Colombia’s City of Eternal Spring, Medellin, the celebration is one that involves everyone, with each street and park festooned with decorations and Christmas lights, as well as a month long program of events across the city. Festive light displays run alongside Medellin River, where food and drink vendors take up residence and street performers entertain the crowd.
New Year Celebrations
31 December 2017
There are unforgettable New Year celebrations around the world, from the sandy shores of Rio de Janeiro, to overlooking Cape Town from Table Mountain – there are plenty of places to choose from to see in 2018.