Tag: Events

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 your travanality 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

Oktoberfest

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

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

cannes

 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

vivid-2013-2

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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