Wednesday 30 November 2016

Burundi Holidays and Festivals

Throughout the year, Burundians celebrate different cultural traditions and remember various historical events like Independence Day, Unity Day, Anniversary of Rwagasore's Assassination, as well as the Assassination of the late President Ndadaye. Other festivities .commemorate various religious traditions, but most celebrations are centered on culture. There are no fixed dates for these events, but the Centre Culturel Francais in Bujumbura can give you information on performances and festivities during your visit.

The Mancala games (football games) are exciting to watch. There are many local Burundi holidays, but the liveliest and largest celebration happens on New Year's Day, when you can expect feasts, traditional dancing and drumming. Ask your hotel if you can get tickets to Burundian drummer performances, which are a delight to see.
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Tuesday 29 November 2016

Cameroon Holidays and Festivals

Cameroon holidays and festivals are a lot of fun for travelers in the right place at the right time. Generally held in the larger cities of Douala and Yaoundé, but there are a few in the smaller regions, as well. From celebrations of the arts like the Festival National des Arts et de la Culture to traditional showcases like the Ngondo Festival, events in Cameroon have a lot to offer.

African Music Market

Music lovers should definitely attend the African Music Market or the Le Kolatier, as it's known colloquially in Cameroon. This festival which takes place every two years in Douala is an amazing gathering of some of the best African musicians in the region. These individuals and groups come together in the spirit of collaboration to perform a celebration of the region's vibrant music. There are also interactive activities like seminars, workshops and a fun trade fair.

Nyem-Nyem Festival

Held during July in Ngaoundéré, a city in the Adamawa area, the Nyem-Nyem Festival is held to commemorate the resistance movement of the Nyem-Nyem people against German control. Locals come out in full force, showing their support for those who fought for the region's independence. The occasion is marked by cultural dances with full traditional attire.

Culture Week

Observed in either August or September, Culture Week takes place all over Cameroon. The youth travel back to their villages to pay respect to their families and ancestors. The week also involves music shows, wrestling matches, sports games and traditional dances that involve sacred masks.

African Theater Festival for Children and Young People (FATEJ)

November in Cameroon marks the exciting arrival of the FATEJ. Held every two years in Yaoundé, the festival brings together young people from across Africa and around the world to participate in theatre workshops delivered by industry professionals. The event is a great opportunity for troupes around the country to hone their craft in a cosmopolitan and collaborative environment.

Festival National des Arts et de la Culture (FENAC)

FENAC is the largest festival in Cameroon that has no religious affiliation. Simply a celebration of the country's vibrant arts scene, artists from all over help to grow the event and promote the rich heritage of the region. Taking place in Moroua in December, FENAC is characterized by lively parades, colorful music and dance shows.

Ngondo Festival

Also taking place in December, Ngondo is a celebration of one of Cameroon's many ethnic groups. Held in the city of Douala, the festival's main goal is to showcase the arts and culture of the Sawa people who mainly inhabit the region's coastal areas. The event takes place on the banks of the Wouri River and it's a wonderful time to see the streets taken over by dance, song and friendly competitions like canoe races. The lucky travelers who can make it here during this time are bound to have a good experience.
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Monday 28 November 2016

Algeria Holidays and Festivals

Throughout the year, Burundians celebrate different cultural traditions and remember various historical events like Independence Day, Unity Day, Anniversary of Rwagasore's Assassination, as well as the Assassination of the late President Ndadaye. Other festivities commemorate various religious traditions, but most celebrations are centered on culture. There are no fixed dates for these events, but the Centre Culturel Francais in Bujumbura can give you information on performances and festivities during your visit.

The Mancala games (football games) are exciting to watch. There are many local Burundi holidays, but the liveliest and largest celebration happens on New Year's Day, when you can expect feasts, traditional dancing and drumming. Ask your hotel if you can get tickets to Burundian drummer performances, which are a delight to see.
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Sunday 27 November 2016

Kenya Holidays and Festivals

Kenya celebrates a number of national and regional events and festivals throughout the year, usually connected to religion, historical events or African arts. Music, food and dance feature heavily in the celebrations, which usually emphasize family, community and unity. The vast majority of the population is Christian, so the major religious Kenya holidays of Easter and Christmas are also public holidays. The country's 11 percent Muslim population means that Islamic traditions are also observed, mainly near the coast, which had a historically stronger Arab influence.

East African Arts Festival

In March each year, Nairobi hosts the East African Art Festival, the biggest of its kind in the region, which attracts competitors and spectators from around the world. The three-day event showcases art, music, theater, music, fashion, literature, architecture, sculpture and traditional crafts. It is hosted by the Kenyan National Museum.


In Kenya, Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays, marking the long weekend commemorating Jesus Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. Good Friday often sees processions through the streets with dramatic recreations of the Stations of the Cross, culminating in church services. Saturday often involves a bonfire outside the church and the lighting of candles and prayers inside, with Sunday being a feast marked by singing, bell-ringing, church services, and family togetherness.

Eid al-Fitr

Eid Al Fitr is an Islamic celebration that usually takes place in September, when the sighting of the moon marks the end of the Muslim holy month of fasting during Ramadan. Eid celebrations usually involve personal cleansing, communal prayers, charity donations, and three full days of feasting and spending time with friends and family. The celebrations are biggest along the coastal areas where most of the Muslim population of Kenya lives.

International Camel Derby and Festival

The annual International Camel Derby and Festival has been held on the outskirts of Maralal town in northern Kenya since 1990. The main feature is the camel racing which takes place over several days through semi-desert regions and is open to amateurs and novices. Visitors come from all over the world to take part or watch, and there are also cycle races, donkey rides, children's entertainment, and the opportunity to rent a camel for the day. The derby usually takes place in August.

Mombasa Carnival

November is when the city of Mombasa celebrates Kenyan culture with a carnival by the Indian Ocean. Artists, dancers, musicians and tribal people flock to take part in the concerts that make up one of Kenya's largest annual events. One of the major features is the main street parade with floats that showcase the different tribal identities across the nation. There are street stalls and opportunities for eating, drinking and dancing.

Jamhuri Day

Jamhuri means "republic" in Swahili and December 12 is set aside as a public holiday to celebrate Kenya's becoming a republic in 1964. The date is doubly important as the country also gained independence from Britain on December 12, 1963. The occasion is marked by dancing, parades and a speech from each of the eight Provincial Presidents. Many towns also host cultural performances, while families will often get together for meals. Fireworks are often a highlight and air shows have become popular in modern times.


Kenya's many Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25, which is a public holiday. The events are largely religious in nature, featuring church services, caroling and nativity performances. Houses and churches are decorated with balloons, flowers and green leaves and storefronts in the larger towns are bathed in fake snow. If parents can afford gifts for the children, it will often be books, practical items or a new outfit for attending church. Families get together to attend services then enjoy a feast, usually of roasted goat.

New Year

New Year celebrations begin the evening of December 31 with parties, music and church services, leading up to the midnight countdown which sees fireworks, music and cheering to welcome in the New Year. Church services and non-religious parties take place all across the nation, many of which continue after dawn. Nairobi has the biggest event, with musical performances and fireworks displays. Mombasa is known for its New Year beach parties, often hosted by local radio stations with live music and DJs.
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Saturday 19 November 2016

Burkina Faso Holidays and Festivals

Arts and folklore are the main elements of Burkina Faso's culture. The southwest region in particular is known for its myths and legends. In Ougadougou, a classic drama known as Nabayius Gou (translated to "empire goes to war") is shown every Friday. Music, dance, food, and other events are held throughout the year, along with different religious celebrations for the Muslim and Christian communities.
Festivals dates change regularly, and some only happen once every two years. Religious groups also follow their own calendars. Whatever date these fall under, they are definitely worth the experience not only for their delicious fare and beer, but because of the uniqueness of Burikina Faso holidays and traditions.

Tabaski Festival

In addition to Ramadan and the Feast of Eid al Ftir, Muslims of Burkina Faso also celebrate the Tabaski Festival, which involves sacrificing a ram. Traditionally, fathers of the house are tasked to purchase, slaughter and prepare the animal, while the women cook rice and sweet drinks. The date is dictated by the lunar calendar.

Festival International de la Culture Hip Hop

Otherwise known as Waga Hip Hop, this annual festival is one of the biggest of its kind in West Africa. This celebration of urban cultures is usually held in mid-October, attracting thousands of international artists and media. In addition to hip hop, the festival also celebrates beat-boxing and other forms of vocal tunes not only in Ouagadouga, but in other cities such as Bobo-Dioulasso, Koudougou, Fada N'Gourma, and Pô.

Festival Jazz

Held in Ouagadougou and Bobo, the Jazz Festival of Burkina Faso features some of the biggest names in music on the continent. It is marked by performances from established names, as well as rising stars.

Festival des Masques et des Artes

FESTIMA or the Festival of Arts and Masks feature inspiring performances from different masked dance troupes hailing from West Africa. The main objective of this biennial event is to protect and promote the rich tradition of mask-making in Burkina Faso.

Festival Panafricain du Cinema

Held in various countries throughout Africa, FESPACO or the Panafrican Film Festival celebrates film and filmmakers screening their best work and builds stronger connections and relationships between industry professionals. FESPACO attracts participants from all over Africa and beyond. The top prize is the prestigious Etalon de Yennenga award, which honors the best national film to showcase "Africa's realities."
Semaine National de la Culture
Also known as National Culture Week of Burkina Faso, this festival is the most widely celebrated cultural event in the country. It alternates with the Panafrican Film Festival and features a wide range of spectacles including trade fairs.
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Tuesday 15 November 2016

Dominican Republic Holidays and Festivals

Dominicans like to find any excuse to party. Each community has its own festival honoring its patron saints, while many nationwide religious events blend Catholic and African-influenced voodoo traditions. The February 27 anniversary of the Dominican Republic's independence from Haiti coincides with the last day of its annual Carnival. In August, there is another Dominican Republic holiday to celebrate its independence, this time from Spain, on Restoration Day.

Virgen de Altagracia

No Dominican religious day is more important than this January 21 tribute to the patron saint, the Virgin of Altagracia. It takes several days to make the pilgrimage to the basilica in the eastern community of Higuay where a 15th century painting of Altagracia hangs. The trip is just one of many smaller vigils and services held throughout the Dominican Republic and once the praying ends, the parties begin.

Juan Pablo Duarte Day

This late January celebration in honor of Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the biggest fighters for an independent Dominican Republic, is held on the closest Monday to Duarte's birthday, January 26. People lay wreaths and flowers on his tomb at Santo Domingo's Altar de la Patria and children march alongside military members in parades across the country. The liveliest celebrations take place in front of the statue at Duarte Park.


The final day of Carnival falls on February 27, the same day that Dominican Republic became independent from over two decades of Haitian rule. Although each community celebrates in their own way, no festival is bigger than the one in La Vega, where revelers wear devil horns and whack each other with balloons. Santo Domingo's Carnival culminates with a giant Independence Day parade along the Malecón.

Semana Santa

The normally vibrant Dominican Republic grinds to a halt during the annual Christian Holy Week celebrations, which usually take place in early April. Church services and parties are the two most important features of these Easter festivities. The Dominican Republic's Haitian community incorporates ancient voodoo ceremonies in their traditions.

Espiritu Santo

The sounds of conga drums and other African instruments ring throughout the Dominican Republic during this lively festival held in June, seven weeks after Semana Santa. The biggest Espiritu Santo celebration takes place in a community called Villa Mella situated not far from Santo Domingo.

Merengue Festival

The Malecón comes alive with the sound of merengue during this annual Santo Domingo festival, which starts in late July and coincides with the August 4 anniversary of the city's founding. Several of the world's finest dancers and musicians perform live while enjoying separate food and craft fairs.

Restoration Day

In 1863, the Dominican Republic regained its independence from Spain for the second time. Each August 16, Dominicans celebrate their 'second independence' by dressing in elaborate costumes and marching in street parades. The two biggest celebrations are in Santo Domingo's Plaza España and in Santiago, the city where the fight began.

Puerto Plata Festival

Fuerte San Felipe is the main location of this lively October festival on the Dominican Republic's north coast. The most talented folk, blues, jazz, and merengue musicians perform during the day's costumed parades, food fairs and dance performances. African spirituals are also part of the tradition.
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Wednesday 9 November 2016

Oman Holidays and festivals

There are a number of Oman holidays and events to boost tourism in the country. Many of these feature its rich culture and arts. The Muscat Festival held during its peak tourist season of January is the largest festival held in the capital showcasing the best in culture and the arts. Salalah has its own version held during its own peak season, Khareef season (mid-year).

Muscat Festival

The Muscat Festival is one of the biggest events, perhaps the biggest, in the country's tourism and cultural calendar. Held every January and February, the festival showcases Omani culture and heritage through artistic and cultural activities. There is also a circus and a large concert featuring local and international musical artists.

Traditional Boat Races

Also happening early in the year are boat races and sailing competitions to celebrate Oman's seafaring traditions. A Dubai–Muscat Regatta is held every January which see boats sailing from Dubai through the Straits of Hormuz toward Muscat. Boat races are also held in February wherein traditional boats such as dhows compete for a prize.

Sinbad Classic

A much awaited event organized by the International Game Fish Association is the Sindbad Classic. This event sees game fishing enthusiasts from all over the globe battle it out in a deep sea fishing contest in the waters of Oman.

Salalah Tourism Festival

While July and August may be too hot for a visit in northern Oman, these months are great for Salalah and the surrounding areas. During this time of the year, the region experiences Khareef season, a time when monsoon rains bring in life to the land, making for stunning tropical landscapes. This high tourist season is the time when cultural celebrations and parades are held in and around town to entertain both locals and tourists.

Cultural Theater Program

The Cultural Theater Program is an arts and culture festival organized by the Ministry of Tourism. Various performances such as folkloric music and dancing are held from December through to March at the Al Flayj Castle Theater and the Al Morooj Theater, both in Salalah.
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