Visit any of these annual celebrations in March for a unique insight into each region’s culture.
Grape Harvest Festival, Mendoza, ARGENTINA
March 2017 (exact dates TBC)
Officially established back in 1936, this harvest celebration brings the region’s wine growers and makers together with the community and is an integral annual event in the Mendoza Province. And it’s the biggest too as the culmination of smaller festivals that take place throughout the province during Argentina’s summer months. More than 20,000 festival revellers arrive for the event’s parades, fireworks, performances and freely flowing wine to taste. The main event happens in the Frank Romero Day Greek Theatre, where hundreds of actors and dancers take part in a spectacular show, which could only be upstaged by its setting, in this especially scenic wine region in the foot of the Andes.
Bali Spirit Festival, Ubud, BALI
19-26 March 2017
This celebration of yoga, dance, music and wellbeing is now in its eighth year, having proven popular each time it returns. World renowned teachers lead yoga, dance and meditation workshops throughout the day, with seminars for those wanting to gain an understanding of a range of topics from nutrition to Mayan astrology. The creative arts will also be showcased, with art installations and activities on the agenda. By night, international artists will then take to the world music stage. Bali‘s cultural heart, Ubud, is the stunning backdrop for this event, with most of the action taking place at Purnati Centre for the Arts and ARMA Open Stage and Museum.
Food and Fun, Reykjavik, ICELAND
1-5 March 2017
Co-founded by Iceland’s celeb chef Siggi Hall, this festival was established to inspire people to combine the nation’s outstanding cuisine with the region’s outdoor adventure and Reykjavik’s vibrant nightlife. Top chefs collaborate with the city’s most acclaimed restaurants to create special Icelandic menus, then on the final day of the event each chef competes by coming up with their own unique Icelandic three-course meal that focuses on locally sourced ingredients.
Spring Equinox, Chichén Itzá, MEXICO
19-22 March 2017
In the ancient Mayan city of Chichén Itzá, people from around the world gather at the great pyramid of Kukulcán during the spring and autumn equinox. Just twice each year, the light and shadow of the late afternoon create the illusion of a snake slithering down the pyramid’s steps until it reaches the snake-head sculpture at the bottom, which the Mayans believed was a manifestation of the serpent god Kukulcán. Now, people come to see the light show in appreciation of the Mayans and their great achievements.
Kakku Pagoda Festival, Shan State, MYANMAR
10-12 March 2017
During full moon in March, the last month of Myanmar’s lunar calendar, thousands of people from the region gather at Kakku pagoda to mark the occasion. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in local life as the Pa-Oh ethnic people arrive in traditional dress – many by bullock cart, which are sometimes decorated for the festival – to pay homage to the archaeological site. The 2,000 stupas of Kakku are said to date back many centuries and have religious significance to the Pa-Oh people. Kakku is close to Taunggyi in the Shan Province, so could be combined with a trip to the village of Hsipaw and the highland town of Pyin Oo Lwin.
13 March 2017
This week-long celebration is celebrated across Nepal to welcome the arrival of spring and summer in the hope of a rich harvest. People take to the streets with coloured powder paint and water balloons, as everyone dowses each other in colour and water in honour of the tradition. At the beginning of the festival period a bamboo pole is erected in Kathmandu’s Basantapur Durbar Square, with coloured strips of cloth hanging from it, representing good fortune. Bonfires, music, dance and traditional sweets are all a part of the celebration.
Narvik Winter Festival, NORWAY
17-26 March 2017
Established by French legionaries, in honour of the good relations between the French and Norwegians, this festival dates back to the Second World War. But, it also pays homage to the workers who built a railway through the mountainside to connect Kiruna and Narvik at the end of the nineteenth century. The winter festival has now grown to become an internationally renowned event, with as many as 50,000 people passing through. Music, dance and theatrical performances fill the event calendar, as well as literature and arts exhibitions.
Cape Town International Jazz Festival, SOUTH AFRICA
31 March – 1 April 2017
In its eighteenth year, this jazz festival is now the largest music event in Sub Saharan Africa, attracting over 37,000 people each year. Over two days, both South African and international musicians take to five different stages, with the addition of a photographic exhibition. Incorporate the music festival into your exploration of Cape Town’s culture, arts and outdoor pursuits – not to forget its exceptional restaurant and bar scene.