Something Old, Something New

Photo courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk

Photo courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk

From every country to every family, there are traditions that carry on through generations and last for centuries.  Italy is a country with a long history of traditions and cultural events. Every day a new tradition is created and added to the rich culture of this country. Whether or not these new traditions continue forward, depends on those who participate in them.

First celebrated in 1094, Carnevale has become a centuries-old tradition celebrated from the very tip of the boot-shaped country to the top. For two weeks, people of all social classes and ages are able to come together and party till they drop, using Lent as a recovering period. Brightly colored masks and costumes litter the streets of Venice.  Carnevale opens with a bang with an event known as “The Flight of the Angel.” This event is meant to commemorate Turkish acrobats that impressed the crowds of the 16-century with tightrope walks high above St. Mark’s Square. Today, the “angel” flies about the square on a steel cable, directly above the mass of colorful costumes and cheers. Sure, the cable breaks the illusion of actual flying but it does serve its purpose. Who knows, maybe in the future the angel will “fly” via jetpack. Either way, natives and tourists crowd together for an opportunity to snap the “angel” on their smart devices, desperate to catch the moment to remember it forever.

Photo courtesy of Theguardian.com

Photo courtesy of Theguardian.com

Each costume wearer dons the ever famous Venetian mask. Carts line the streets of Italy months before Carnevale actually begins, providing natives and tourists alike with the opportunity to find the perfect mask to match their frock. Besides the obvious purpose of hiding one’s face, the mask was also a way for people to hide their identity and social class.

Without a proper identity there was no limit for how crazily one could party. Without an identity, there were no consequences. Hollywood latched onto the idea of these masks and used them to their advantage to better tell their stories. Phantom of the Opera or V for Vendetta, anyone?

From there, participants wander about the city via foot and gondola to experience the other events taking place. Most notable are the glamorous balls and performances both on the street and in the Gran Teatro in St. Mark’s Square. Finally, bid this tradition farewell with a bright fireworks show on the final night at midnight. After that, it’s back to responsibilities and the beginning of fasting. Insert unenthusiastic “yay” here.

Besides Venice, one of the most popular places to celebrate Carnevale is in Viareggio, a coastal town just about a half-hour away from Florence by train.  Donned with paper mache masks and detailed Renaissance costumes, people line the streets of this seacoast city to watch elaborately decorated floats pass by.  Everyone gets the chance to see the floats, near and far. Viareggio holds a parade every weekend for five weekends before Lent.

This celebration for many people is a time to forget about the stress and drama of their daily lives and indulge in the luxuries of Italian life.  Between amazing costumes and 24/7 parties, there are no worries when Carnevale is being celebrated.

Photo courtesy of Fest300.com

Photo courtesy of Fest300.com

No more than 25 minutes away from the nonstop party in Viareggio is a smaller town making large impacts on new generations. With only three colleges dominating the streets (Monash University, The University of New Haven and Polo Universitario), the directors of each of these three Prato colleges have come together to form Prato Campus Week.  Prato Campus Week began in 2012 when Kevin Murphy, the director of the study abroad program for the University of New Haven (UNH), came together with the directors of the other two colleges and agreed they wanted to create an event where students could come together for a week of fun and de-stress from finals. Similar to Carnevale, Prato Campus Week is a time for the participants to forget their stress and indulge in the many events taking place.

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/PratoCampusWeek

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/PratoCampusWeek

The events during Prato Campus Week change every semester, to ensure each group of students have different memories to cherish. Activities vary between music, sports, workshops and academics. Highlights from past Prato Campus Week’s include Human Foos Ball, the Australian barbecue and live music. While students are the only people who can partake during the games, natives and visitors to Prato of all ages are welcome to watch and cheer for their favorite University. This way, the traditional competitive side of both all the participating countries gets to shine. Modern day gaming becomes 10 times better when played on the ground of the only castle still standing in Tuscany.  Incomplete due to a war, Castello dell’Imperatore provides a large, grassy plain perfect for gaming.

On open day, there is an open house for the university, giving outsiders the opportunity to see inside UNH’s walls. In the afternoon a small band raids the narrow streets of Prato with music, while the students hand out freebies to onlookers. Spectators are welcome to march with the students during the parade or just watch as the band marches by. But we all know it’s more fun to march.

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/PratoCampusWeek

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/PratoCampusWeek

According to Murphy, a parade-like event is not normally seen in Tuscany, especially in a party essence. He vouches for the new tradition, stating that “It’s magic. To see the people come out of their shops with smiles on their faces and to watch the people come together during this time. It’s absolute magic.” Murphy, along with other directors were able to coordinate an event that students not only looked forward to but fell in love with and continue to gush about long after they return to the states. Prato Campus Week is an original tradition that can last so long as the students, visitors and natives partake in the event.

Though Prato Campus Week and Carnevale have two very different beginnings and very different reasons for celebrating, they both serve the same function: bringing people together. With traditions like Carnevale, something old can inspire something new.

June Enchantments: The Best Celebrations for your Summer Vitality


Photo by http://throwedmag.co

If you identify your Travanality as a Culturist or a Wayfarer, then June would be a perfect month for you to travel. It marks the beginning of a season where you can explore the world while feeling the summer vibe in the air through arts and music. What are you waiting for? Get out there and experience the enthusiastic locals, rich cultures, traditions, and some of the most creative innovations. These fascinating festivals are perfect for your summer travel itinerary.

Portland Rose Festival, Portland, OR, USA, May 27th – June 12th


Photo by http://www.travelandleisure.com/

Of course, summer is never complete without flowers, nature, and other elements that symbolize vitality. Immerse yourself into some beautiful flora scents by flying west to Portland, Oregon. Widely known for its rainy weather, bridges, food and beer, it’s also known as the “City of Roses.” Each year, the city holds a Rose Festival from the month of May to June, depending on the harvestings of the roses. This celebration of roses can trace its history back to more than a century ago when the visionary city leaders branded Portland as “The Summer Capital of the World.” Today, the festival is deeply rooted at the heart of Portland’s popular culture with its emphasis on cherishing the community values like volunteerism, patriotism and environmentalism. At theTom McCall Waterfront Park, the city holds its Rose Festival Cityfair with amusement park attractions, fireworks, live performances, dragon boat races and many other amazing events. Get your 2016 season pass to enjoy the beautiful roses and mingle with the passionate Portlandians.

Dragon Boat Festival (duānwǔ jié), China, June 9th

If the Culturist in you is looking for a festival where you can immerse yourself into an ancient tradition, then the Dragon Boat Festival is the one for you. This traditional Chinese festival is celebrated every year in China, and other East Asian countries, on May 5 of the Lunar calendar. Historically, the festival is held to celebrate Qu Yuan, a famous Poet of the Warring States period of ancient China, whose suicide was to protest against the political corruption of the time. Today, the festival is celebrated in different ways. Many eat rice dumplings (zòng zì), drink realgar wine (xióng huáng jiû), and watch or even race the dragon boats. Some people also hang mugworts and calamus (herbs), or make an egg stand at noon to help prevent diseases and evil, with the hope to bring good-health and well-being for the family. The Dragon Boat Festival is a great gateway into knowing the traditions of Chinese culture and history, as it captures some of the best quintessences of the thinkings and the people.

Bali Arts Festival, Bali, Indonesia, June 11th – July 9th


Photo by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_f9Nf5PVBI

If you happened to be traveling in and around South Eastern Asia this June, then you will want to stick around for the Bali Arts Festival starting on June 11. Traditionally, this festival starts on the second Saturday of June and runs through the month of July, inviting both local and international visitors to join. It’s widely regarded as the largest Indonesian cultural feast as it is one of the most exciting celebrations of the year. Every day throughout the celebration, numerous exhibition and art performances are held at the Taman Werdhi Budaya Arts Centre in Denpasar. The art centre, normally a tourism attraction with Balinese sculptures and architectures, will be decorated with traditional coconut leaves and colorful bamboos to welcome the visitors from all over the world. Hundreds of performers of Bali locals, or even original troupes from surrounding islands and abroad, will be dressed up in traditional Balinese clothings to present the audience various art and music performances ranging from local dances to modern and international art exhibitions. Be ready to join the opening lavish parades on June 11 this year as they will be some of the biggest cultural shocks you might encounter in life. Check out here for events and updates.

Awakenings Festival, Recreatiegebied Spaarnwoude, Amsterdam, June 25th – 26th

The Awakenings Festival is  the most vital and crazy festival this summer and a must see on your list. This techno music festival was first organized by the ‘Monumental Productions BV’ in 2001, in Recreatiegebied Spaarnwoude, Amsterdam. Since then, it’s held annually in June bringing in over 40,000 people. Named as one of the Kings of Techno Festivals, Awakenings has numerous fun, exciting musical events featuring some of the most well-known techno producers and DJs like Adam Beyer, Dave Clarke, Nina kraviz and more. Along with famous artists, the event also provides world-class quality sound systems and the most up-to-date technologies to make sure the performances are the finest sound quality. When you enter Recreatiegebied Spaarnwoude, you can see not just one, but eight stages, two of which are open-air, one semi-open and three are tents. If you are a fan of electronic music and blood-pumping summer parties, then join the crowd at the Awakening. Are you ready to be galvanized?

Enchanting January: Indulging in a sparkling New Year


Photo courtesy of turismoincanada.blogspot.com

For some, the end of the holidays means a time to relax and enjoy the view of a winter wonderland outside their windows. For others around the world, this is a time to celebrate and embrace the cold, or warm, weather with skiing, entertainment, and century old traditions. Whether you are trying to partake in the winter season or head to a much warmer location, there are many festivals around the world for every traveler’s preference.

Harbin Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival, Harbin, China
January 5th – February 2016

The 32nd International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is Harbin’s main tourist highlight.  Started 17 years ago, this event has become the world’s biggest winter festival.  Visitors can enjoy beautiful ice sculptures and snow art in the Sun Island Scenic Area, Ice and Snow World, Zhaolin Park and Central Street. The festival starts and ends with a bang! A huge fireworks display on January 5th opens the event and the visitors get a chance to smash the sculptures with ice picks when the festival closes down in February.  The scale and size of the sculptures and the beautiful lighting is what sets this festival apart from all the others.  Visitors can also enjoy and participate in many of the events at the festival such as:  The New Year Concert, Ice Lantern Garden Party or National Cross-country Skiing Championship!

If you’ve had your fill of ice sculptures, check out crazy swimmers as they take a dip in the frozen Songhua River, or visit the Siberian Tiger Park.  You can also take time to stroll down Central Avenue. This one-mile corridor, lined with 77 ornately designed buildings, half of which are historic landmarks.

World Buskers Festival, Christchurch, New Zealand
January 14th – 24th, 2016

For over 23 years now the SCIRT (The Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team) World Buskers Festival has been a highlight of the summer months and the events calendar in Christchurch. Held during New Zealand’s summer, December through February, the World Buskers Festival will host over 60 performers of all types. Ranging from street performers, to comedians, to fringe artists, and musicians, these performance acts are a little bit off the wall. With so many performers, there is definitely something for everyone. “Songs to Make You Smile,” is an old-fashioned cabaret act of tunes from old-school songwriters (Cole Porter, Irving Berlin) to appeal to a slightly older demographic. Tip Top Buskers Kid Pitch is perfect for kids which is held next to a playground near the Botanic Gardens and includes acts including hula hoopers, jugglers, and comedic acrobats. This is definitely not your average festival.

Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah, United States
January 21st – 31st, 2016

The Sundance Film Festival is currently underway in Park City, Utah.

Photo courtesy of geektyrant.com

North America’s most famous film festival is a compelling combination of show, snow, and showbiz, equally popular with intellectuals and the pop-culture paparazzi. This 10-day festival is really two festivals. The first weekend is glamorous filled with industry parties, sponsor-led celebrity events, and world premieres. The second weekend is when you can try to catch whatever film has received a lot of buzz. Sundance specializes in documentaries and with more than 100 films being screened, there’s a wide array of choices to please everyone’s tastes. Visitors new to Sundance are sometimes surprised by the lack of glamour of where the films are shown. You might be in a gymnasium, a high school auditorium, or a tiny sliver of a theater that had better days half a century ago.

Park City is a quaint little town with great restaurants, shops, and lots of live music venues.  Some of the most fun you’ll have is grabbing a drink with  strangers to debate about films  you just saw on the big screen. If you love to ski or snowboard, there are three great resorts, Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley, and Canyons Resort, within close proximity. The Sundance Film Festival is deservedly one of the most celebrated film festivals in the world and its location makes it perfect for a long weekend visit in the winter.

Wakakusa Yamayaki, Nara, Japan
January 22nd, 2016

Wakakusa Yamayaki is a grass-burning ceremony held on Mount Wakakusa located east of Nara Park, Nara City, Japan. This fiery event begins at the sound of a blaring trumpet, when eighty-one acres of moorland at Wakakusayama bursts into flames. A religious procession heads from the Silk Road Exchange Hall in Nara Park to the base of the mountain with monks and priests from Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, and Kasuga dress in traditional costume carrying lit lanterns and torches.The sacred fire at Kasuga Taisha Shrine is carried down to a small shrine at the foot of the hill by a procession of Buddhist monks. The hill is ignited with the sacred fire and burns fiercely amid fireworks lighting up the chilly night skies above. Some say this tradition dates back to a 1,000 year old boundary dispute between two of Nara’s temples, Kofuku-ji Temple and Todai-ji Temple. Others say the mountain was burned to drive away wild boars or to exterminate harmful insects, even drive out goblins! Whatever the reason, this is one event that you will want to be part of.

Quebec Winter Carnival, Quebec City, Canada
January 28th – February 14th, 2016

If you’re a winter person, than the Quebec Winter Carnival is the festival where you can revel in the frigid surroundings to celebrate the joie de vivre of the Carnival season. There are so many events at the Québec Winter Carnival that you’re bound to miss something. There are a few parts of the carnival you must see. The Ice Palace located in the center of the festival is built with bricks of compacted snow, and lit with colored light displays to make the palace look like an iced dessert. The Palace is surrounded by snow and ice sculptures carved from blocks of snow by artists from around the world. The Canoe Race features over 50 teams from Quebec, Canada, France and the United States who navigate the frozen waters of the Saint-Lawrence River between Quebec City and Lévis. Make sure you dress warm to watch both the preliminaries and the finals. The Night Parades in Upper Town and Charlesbourg, which takes place on the second and third weekend of the carnival, are what some would argue as the best part of the whole carnival. Viewers get to the snow-covered streets to admire a parade of colorful decorated floats and zany characters dancing to lively music.

Joyous December: Celebrating a Season of Enchanting Festivals

Photo courtesy of www.scotsman.com

Photo courtesy of www.scotsman.com

‘Tis the season for hot chocolate, Christmas markets and New Year resolutions. There is no  better way to take in the holiday spirit than by traveling during the month of December which can be one of the most magical and enchanting experiences. These festivals are the perfect addition to your travel itinerary.

Klausjagen, Küssnacht am Rigi, Switzerland, Dec. 5th


Photo courtesy of http://jalenpixs.cf/christmas-traditions-in-switzerland/

Klaus procession is one of the most impressive St. Nicholas traditions in Europe. On the Eve of St. Nicholas Day in Küssnacht am Rigi, Switzerland, localscelebrate a mix of ancient pagan rites of chasing away evil spirits and blessing the arrival of the season of St Nicholas. A procession with around 200 Iffele(illuminated ornaments), followed by St. Nicholas and archaic noise from over 1,000 chasers is watched every year by up to 20,000 spectators. The streets echo with the ringing of heavy bells, the sound of horns and above all by strange triad rhythms of the brass music. This is definitely not your average Christmas celebration.

The Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, Dec. 12th


Photo courtesy of http://winterfestparade.com/

Staged on the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Winterfest is best known for it’s one of a kind Boat Parade. Private boats, giant showboats and corporate megayachts adorned with hundreds of thousands of lights, music, entertainment, decorations, celebrities, musical groups, beauty queens and other exciting entries are viewed by over one million spectators. Not only is the parade the largest, one-day, live audience of any event in Florida, but also the seventh largest one-day spectator event in the country! Other Winterfest events include the Black Tie Ball, Grand Marshall Experience and White Party.

Burning the Clocks, Brighton, England, Dec. 21st

Burning the Clocks is a unique festival of light and art that brings the city of Brighton, England together to mark the Winter Solstice. The festival was created in 1994 by the award-winning community arts charity, Same Sky, as a way to celebrate the holiday spirit regardless of people’s religious beliefs. Leading up to the event, people are encouraged to create their own unique lanterns made from willow canes or bamboo and white tissue paper. After carrying them through the city in a lantern parade, they pass them into the fire on Brighton beach, as a token of the year’s end.  A dazzling fire show is set in motion, in which a massive fire sculpture is ignited, live music plays and fireworks light up the sky!

Hogmanay, Edinburgh, Scotland, Dec 30th – Jan 1st

Hogmanay is the biggest street party in all of Scotland. Highlighted as one of the ‘Top 100 things to do before you die’ and recently the only festival to appear in the ‘Discovery Channel – Top 25 World Travel Experiences,’ Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party is one of the world’s greatest New Year celebrations. Festivities begin with the Torchlight Procession where participants carrying flaming torches in Viking attire, head along the Royal Mile and onto Calton Hill, where a replica Viking longship is set alight. Following the next day with the Street Party, The Old Town Ceilidh, live music at the Concert in the Gardens, and Candlelit Concert at St. Giles’ Cathedral all leading up to Midnight Moment. Consisting of four fireworks displays every hour starting at 9 p.m., these displays light up the skies above the capital from Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill.

The Scots don’t end there! The next day, thousands of people take part in the breathtaking Stoats Loony Dook at South Queensferry – the annual dip in the freezing River Forth which lies in the shadow of the world-famous Forth Bridges.The three-day event ends with “The Final Fling.” This closing event includesmusic, dancing and Ceilidh Callers from Edinburgh’s top ceilidh outfit, the Portobello Ceilidh Band.

Fall into November: Best Festivals to Experience the Beauty of the Season

By: Jennifer K. Velez, TWIP

The first frost of the year means getting cozy by the fire and hibernating until Spring for a number of us.  If you ask most Americans, that’s how they start their holiday season.  However if you are like us at TWIP, or you identify yourtravanality as a Wayfarer, then November is the perfect month to experience how cultures celebrate the transition into the holidays.

Dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead), October 31-November 2nd

Day of the Dead

Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

In Mexico, the spirit of Halloween lives past October 31st. Day of the Dead, also known as All Souls Day, is just the start of Mexico’s spirit-filled celebration. Families create altars (ofrendas) latent with candles, flowers and delicacies to welcome their deceased loved ones into their homes. For 24 hours the deceased relatives of Mexico are welcome to spend this time celebrating with their families. The streets open up with live music and homes are decorated with sugar skulls, marigolds and incense. These families spend the last day of Dia de los muertos cleaning tombs in the graveyard. Day of the Dead is becoming increasingly popular amongst Americans and Europeans.

Melbourne Cup Carnival, November 3rd

Since 1861 the Melbourne Cup Carnival has been known as “the race that stops a nation.” Each year the Victoria Racing Club holds races at the Flemington Racecourse. The carnival is one of the biggest events in sports and is considered a highlight social event of the year. Guests sport lavish clothing and women don eccentric hats. Many choose to participate in Myer’s Fashion Competition, which originated in 1962 with the hopes of attracting women to the event. Children can ride ponies and visit the animal farm, while parents lounge, drink and socialize. The Melbourne Cup Carnival has something for all ages.

Diwali, November 10-11th

MATHURA, INDIA - OCTOBER 31: Defying traditions widows of Vrindavan celebrate Diwali at their ashram at Vrindavan on October 31, 2013 in Mathura, India. These aged widows have been abandoned by their families or have fled their inhospitable homes, to make Vrindavan their home or their last destination. To kindle happiness in their twilight years, Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak has come up with the idea of organizing the festival of lights for these widows, locally called as matas. (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Photo courtesy by Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Each year India hosts a spiritual gathering known as Diwali, the Festival of Lights, to celebrate Rama’s return from exile and their victory of light over darkness. Diwali is a time of prosperity in India, as everyone comes together for this joyous spiritual celebration. The festival has proven to be the busiest and happiest time of the year in Nepal. Families share sweets, purchase fine clothing and other luxuries, shoot of fireworks and firecrackers, and string up lights. Those who are celebrating also light traditional earthen diyas (candles) and decorate their houses with colourful rangoli artworks – patterns created on the floor using coloured rice or powder. There’s no better time to experience India then during this beautiful and spiritual event.

Budapest Christmas Fair, November 27th-December 25th

The Budapest Christmas Fair does not disappoint as we enter our holiday season with cottage style wooden stalls, two outdoors stages and decorations for days. Passersby are intoxicated with the aroma of freshly baked goods and warm beverages. The Christmas Fair on Vorosmarty Square is placed in front of the Budapest basilica. The Christmas Fair is a way to keep the old tradition and culture alive. Like any Holiday Fair, visitors can roam, engage with craft stalls, enjoy tasting freshly mulled wine, baked pastries (Kurtoskalacs) or listening to live music. Thousands travel to Budapest each holiday to experience a traditional Hungarian Christmas.

Wherever you end up this November, do take advantage of these festivities. Whether you travel far or cozy up at home, get festive and creative! Autumn happens in the blink of an eye and before you realize, it’s Christmas!

Bewitching October: How You Should Experience Autumn Around The World

By: Jennifer K. Velez, TWIP

There’s no greater place for a traveller to gain a better understanding of a culture then to experience a festival where people come together to celebrate and appreciate food, listen and dance to live music, and much more. The changing colors and cooler days in October draws out locals and travelers to some of the world’s most famous events.

Oktoberfest, September 19-October 4


Photo courtesy of worldfestivaldirectory.com

Autumn in Germany symbolizes the beginning of a 16-day folk festival where six million people from around the world gather together in Munich to celebrate Bavarian culture and the start of fall. The original Oktoberfest was created to celebrate the royal wedding of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese where guests indulged in food, drinks and horse races. Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback, Oktoberfest has become one of the most popular yearly festivals celebrated worldwide. Today, festival goers can enjoy a variety of traditional beers ranging from pale gold to deep amber lagers and meats such as Scheinsbraten and Würstel. If these traditional German flavors don’t suit your taste, you can indulge in more malty flavored German and American influenced beers. If you cannot make it to Munich, fortunately there are smaller Oktoberfests held all over the world where one can enjoy the delectable delicacies of Germany.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, October 3-11

If you find yourself in Albuquerque around the start of fall, you may catch the annual ascension of hot air balloons. The fiesta is enchanting to new Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta visitors, as over 500 balloons take to the sky. You can see hundreds of colorful balloons floating up and over the city. For nine days a variety of events are held. In the evening, Balloon Glow allows enthusiasts to enjoy the sight of these magnificently lit balloons. Special Shape Rodeo allows for non-traditional balloons, such as animals, covered wagons, and everything else in between, to launch at the same time. Many have said that the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival is the most photographed event in the world. You don’t need to fly in a balloon to enjoy the fiesta. You can simply walk around, eat delicious food, and watch in awe as the sun sets over the Sandia Mountains.

Masskara, October 16-18

bacolod inns masskara images

Photo courtesy of citigrandinn.com

Every year 450,000 residents join together in the street exhibiting a multitude of vibrant masks in Bacolod, Philippines, “city of smiles.” Due to the depressed sugar cane prices in Negros Occidental, the government and local artists collaborated to lift the city’s spirits and created the Masskara Festival. Locals get together to exhibit gorgeous masks with plumes of feathers, exotic flowers, glitter, beads, sequins, and more. This is a sensory experience, with its bold colors, joyous music, and vibrancy. The festival is a reminder to the people of Bacolod to remain optimistic through times of misfortune and to always remember to smile. Don’t have a mask? No problem. Just put a smile on your face and you will fit right in.

May’s Festivals Around the World

By: Juliette Koronkiewicz, TWIP

May is a month of Spring.  It is a month of awakening and revitalization.  Twip has selected four massive events, each differing in style and personal outcome, we highly advise you to attend.  Check it…

 Vesak Festival: May 3rd

Buddhists release paper lanterns near Borobudur temple during Vesak Day celebrations in Magelang

There are few things in life that have the ability to truly sway thought and instill spirit.  The Vesak Festival of Indonesia has the ability to make one think deeper, but it’s hopes are to allow one to feel deeper.

This festival is a sacred Buddhist ritual that attracts the attention of thousands of Buddhist monks, Buddhist thinkers, and travelers alike.  The event surrounds and celebrates the three great events in the life of the Buddha: birth, enlightenment, and death.

The ritual takes place during the first full moon during the month of May and begins with obtaining and storing holy water as well as lighting the holy Vesak torch at a sacred Indonesian temple.  It continues as the monks then receive offerings of by the local congregation as they progress in a chanting hymn towards the temple.

Trust us when we tell you there is no sight like that of the tranquil sunset cascading down over these magnificent Buddhist temples.  Discover, as lead by worldly examples, your own inner peace.  See as you were meant to see and be as you were meant to be.  While we’d like to describe it more, tell you all it has to offer, the truth remains that you just have to go and find yourself within it.

Cannes Film Festival: May 13th – 24th


When you reach the pearly gates and a large white bearded man asks you in a deep harmonious voice, “Was your life all that you’d intended?”  Odds are you’re probably going to say no if you’ve been to the Cannes Film Festival only to return to a life of normalcy—i.e. you didn’t marry a Cohen brother and spend the rest of your life reciting Fargo one-liners on a Mediterranean yacht.

Cannes Film Festival, or Cannes as it’s fashionably known, stands higher in another echelon when it comes to festivals of its kind.  It encapsulates the epitome of bliss wrapped in luxury, swank and art.  The two week event of the worlds finest film arm artists gathered together to share each other’s work has become something of a western world fantasy.   The flowing red carpets adorned with A-list stars glittering beneath both paparazzi lights and the South of France sun.  The up all night parties decked out in Italian knit garments.  The things we—the ordinary folk—have only dreamed beneath covers and pillow.

It doesn’t have to be.

Cannes, while at first glance would seem a detrimental dent in your bank account, does not always demand the preconceived coin you might think.  It’s feasible.  You need to do your research.  The importance, though, is achieving that feeling only Cannes can offer.

 The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling: May 25th

How bad do you want it?  Next time you’re at a fondue restaurant in New York or at the Mars Cheese Castle in Wisconsin, ask yourself: What am I willing to sacrifice for cheese?  If you can answer that question with “a mouthful of English sod” or “multiple fractures to my ribcage” you should be hustling across the Atlantic right now!

The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is something you may have caught on ESPN during a sleepless night or a 4 a.m. pizza puff indulgence (we’re not judging).  Now considered a global event of riotous fun drawing nearly 5,000 spectators, the concept is basically to chase a zooming wheel of cheese down a ridiculously long and treacherously steep hill in the English countryside.

While you may think you’re going to grab that cheese and saunter down the hill to victory, trust us, you’re dead wrong. Most people use what we call a Fashionable Tumble down the hill as the wheel of cheese reaches speeds of 70 mph ahead of them.  No joke.  The winner is crowned as the first to the bottom of the hill—catching the wheel proved impossible about 136 years ago.

Don’t let us dismay you though, the event has been taking place for hundreds of years and there’s a reason everyone keeps showing up…because it’s all about that cheese.

 Vivid Sydney: May 22nd – June 8th


There are no greater feelings of insulation like that of great festivals which incorporate mind, spirit, and action into one.  Vivid Sydney, beyond many realms of the typical notions of a festival, does that.  Mainly because no event of such grandeur and spectacle takes place in a global city setting.  When we think of the word “festival” things like Burning Man and Glastonbury come to mind.  But events like Burning Man are built inward whereas Vivid Sydney pushes far and wide in the spectrum of its impact.

Vivid Sydney promotes itself as a scene of “Light, Music and Ideas.”  It succeeds in incorporating all that each of those aspects has to offer…

The Light portion includes and interactive touch screen attraction that allows users that ability to literally PAINT the Sydney skyline using low energy LED lights.  It’s awe inspiring.

The Music heralds the top and creative talent from around the world to come and contribute to the festival.  Be advised and excited: this isn’t your run of the mill festival bill of music.  Oh no.  These are the musicians riding the very fine lines between genre indiscretion, futures of sound, and excitability.  Watch out.

And the Ideas aspect perpetuates itself almost as a giant TED Talk festival/Think Tank.  It’s wild.  There are idea discussions ranging from concepts of how to explore and promote the creative self, all the way to making smarter choices for livable cities.

There’s absolutely nothing to be even slightly fazed by when it comes to Vivid Sydney. This festival is—to be unapologetically cliché, but totally honest—all killer, no filler.

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