Thursday 15 June 2017

Pisa Events And Festivals

Leading magazines for upcoming Tuscany / Pisa festivals and events are regularly published and there are weekly event guides that are readily available. These detailed guides contain up-to-date listings of events throughout Italy, with a focus on Pisa and the Tuscany region and are aimed specifically at tourists and visitors.

These magazines are a useful source for shopping, dining and entertainment in Pisa - providing you with a varied choice of things to see and do in Pisa, Italy. One of the most popular magazines for information about Pisa events and festivals is the free weekly 'Indizi e Servizi', which is readily available at newsstands and some hotels.


*1st January - New Year's Day

*6th January - Epiphany

*Early April - Easter Monday

*25th April - Liberation Day and St.    Mark's Feast Day

*1st May - Labour Day
29th June - Local Feast Day

*15th August - Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

*1st November - All Saints Day

*8th December - Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

*24th December - Christmas Eve

*25th December - Christmas Day

*26th December - Boxing Day / St. Stephen's Day


Pisa's largest traditional event in the annual Gioco del Ponte (Game of the Bridge), which takes place on the last Sunday in June. It involves twelve teams from both the north and south banks of the city staging a number of battles, including pushing a seven-tonne carriage across the Ponte di Mezzo, Pisa's old Roman bridge. This historic event was first recorded in 1568 and still features medieval costumes.

Also in June is the Festa di San Ranieri, when Pisan's honour their patron saint by lining the River Arno with torches on June 16th. All the city's waterfront buildings and also the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa are beautifully illuminated. The next day there is the Regatta di San Ranieri, where four rowing teams race in costume in honour of the patron saint of Pisa.
Italy's four main maritime republics (Almalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice) take turns to hold the Regatta della Antiche Repubbliche Marinare, which is held in Pisa during late May or early June. This involves four eight-man crews racing against each other on the River Arno, together with much festivity and many parades.

Also popular are concerts at the Teatro Communale Verid, in Via Palestro, and for more offbeat and modern shows, including the occasional rock concert, visit the former church at Via San Zeno. Pisa also offers an exciting arts cinema, Cinema Nuove, which is situated in the Piazza Stazione.

*culled from

Festivals In Seychelles

Festivals For more than two centuries, Seychelles has been a melting pot of races, religions and traditions, fusing diverse ethnic strains into a trilingual Creole nation. One of the most important cultural extravaganzas in this tropical island paradise is the annual Creole Festival. The oldest 'pan creole' event in the world, this unique celebration is usually held during the last week of October in the Seychellois capital of Victoria.

The underwater life is revered during the annual SUBIOS festival, a testimony to Seychelles' eco-friendly commitment. SUBIOS is an impressive underwater film and image celebration that features a broad range of competitions for both locals and visitors. The festival helps in promoting the Seychelles and raise international awareness of the ecosystem.

Snugly located outside the cyclone belt, Seychelles is an excellent sailing destination. The Seychelles Sailing Cup, an international sailing race, is open to both amateurs and professionals. Different types of sailing boat can participate in the contest. Water sport addicts will enjoy the excitement of racing through the tropical water around the breath-taking islands.

Regatta is a well-liked charitable event organised by the Seychelles Round Table Association. It parades a range of lively activities that includes a Miss Regatta beauty pageant, a Mr Regatta bodybuilding contest, trade fairs, games, various exciting water sports and other athletic events. The activities are mostly based along the popular Beau Vallon beach. Tiny stalls are lined up along the street, and tasty smells of local gastronomic treats compete with the smell of the sea.

Ravello Concert - The Biggest Italian Music Festival

Ravello Music Festival, Italy's biggest musical event, kicks off on 3rd April and marks the start of the 30th anniversary celebrations. The festival has always been one of the most prestigious and sought after occasions in Italy's calendar and the sheer musical extravagance attracts many visitors who come almost every year to witness the best musical talents performing at a beautifully crafted stage that has a scenic view of the sea as the backdrop.

Since this year's festival marks the 30th anniversary, the Ravello Concert Society have made some major (and not so major) changes to some aspects of the event in keeping with the interests of the audience as shared by visitors over the years. Now this is a spectacle that should not be missed for anything.

Major Changes to the Festival

Change is an important aspect of life and without it, things can never be taken to the next level. The interesting part about the recent modifications is that the festival has remained constant in terms of certain aspects for the last 30 years. Never before has any such change been introduced for the festival. But on this special milestone occasion, the RCS has decided to bring the following modifications.

The festival has decided to abide by global timing standards (for such events) and in keeping with this, the show start time (during Spring and Autumn) has been moved to 7pm (instead of the previous 9:30pm). This is also a much needed change considering the bus timings (public bus service).

Concert goers would still be able to catch the last bus to their respective towns located on the Amalfi Coast.
*Concerts performed between 8 June and 13 September will commence from 9:00pm. However, you can still catch the last bus to the town if you attend these shows.

Ravello Art Center (formerly the Grand Caruso Wine Cellar) is a new recital hall that will receive further enhancements including a dedicated exhibition space. This facility has been restored and converted to a concert hall that has been designed especially for chamber music. The acoustics in this place is simply out of this world and you can be assured of the highest quality live music here.

Moreover, the seating capacity has been limited to 100 which ensures the maintenance of intimacy in the facility (an important factor for enjoying chamber music). This won't be a regular venue. All concerts held on a Sunday during Spring and Autumn would be hosted at this facility.

Important Events

While the entire festival in itself is special, there are certain important events that you need to look out for during your private Italy tour. Mark your calendars so that you don't miss out on any of these events.

3rd April, 2015: The festival would start with a piano recital by Fabrizio Romano
6th April:Haydn's Quartet
25th May:Beethoven's Quartet
11th June: Famous pop pieces performed by Valeria Vertuccio
22nd June :Mendelssohn's Quartet
26th June:DaniloBlaiotta will perform his own original compositions
11th and 13th August: Raffaele Maisano&MattiaMistrangelo performed by "Jazz takes on Classical". The speciality of this performance is that two individual pianos would be positioned as facing each other and would offer a spectacle comprising the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Jazz improvisations.

1st September:Giovanni DoriaMiglietta will give " A Tribute to Earl Wild "
6th September: The renowned piano-duo of Francesco Nastro – NelloMallardo will perform " Flying on the classics, from Brahms to Listz across the Jazz ".

12th October:Schubert's Quartet
These are but a glimpse of the immensely rich musical experience that you would get if you head over to this festival. For 30 years, the festival has managed to preserve the essence of music in this small region in Italy. If you love chamber music, then this is the place to be. Don't miss it for anything!

Sunday 11 June 2017

Carnival of Venice - A True Symbol of Venetian Culture

The Carnival of Venice is a true representation of Venetian tradition and culture. It is one of the prominent festivals in Italy, which is celebrated every year in Venice. The festival starts in the month of January and ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter. The festival is globally famous for its elaborate masks and fancy costumes. The carnival is highly appreciated across the world. Therefore, it brings thousands of tourists to Italy every year.

History of the Carnival of Venice

The history of the Carnival of Venice dates back to 12th century, when the Republic of Venice got victory in the war against Ulrico, Patriarch of Aquileia, (Ancient Autocratic Authority of Italy) in the year 1162. In the honor of victory, people gathered in San Marco Square and celebrate their triumph. For many years, the festival was banned under the rule of the King of Austria. But after a long time, it restarted in 1979 by the help local government to bring back the tradition and culture of Venice.

Significance of Masks in the Festival

Masks have been an important part of this festival. Wearing them during the festival is more than just fun for the people. It is a part of their tradition and culture. They wear masks to hide their social standing, so that there could be no distinction between the different social classes. Venetian masks are usually made of leather, porcelain and glass. The original masks were simple in design, which used to represent a symbolic and practical function. Today, most of the masks are made of the application of gesso and gold leaf. Some of the popular types of masks that are worn in this carnival are: Bauta, Colombina, Medico Della Peste, Volto, Zanni, etc.

Carnival of Venice Celebrations

The Carnival of Venice is the main highlight of the Venice city as tourists from all across the world flock to Venice to join the atmosphere of this amazing carnival. St Mark's Square is a prominent place for all major activities of carnivals, which is filled with a mass of masked party goers during the festival. Jugglers, acrobats and many street artists enchant beholders with their extraordinary performances and unique costumes. At night, masked balls are organized at different places around Venice. Guests reach to these places through a ravishing gondola ride and relish the party along with delicious gala dinner.

Weather of Venice During Carnival

The beautiful Venice can be visited all year round, but if you're looking to avoid crowds, wintertime is a perfect time to go to Venice. The carnival of Venice also falls in the month of January, which is one of the coldest months in Italy. However, its coastal presence makes it a far better place to visit than many other parts of Northern Europe. The average temperature in January ranges here between to 10 to 14°C.

Thursday 8 June 2017

Top 10 Exciting Festivals In Edo State (Part 2)

6. Ukpe Festival (Esan/Ishan Clan)
As the name implies Ukpe (year) is celebrated in June by all the villages comprising Ewohiwi to mark the end of one year and the beginning of another. Homage is paid to ancestors to express gratitude to them for protecting the people throughout the year.

The festival is for a four day duration and held separately by the various village-firstly by Idumuagbor and lastly by Ikeken. The celebration features entertainment, service at the ancestral shrines, exchange of gift and traditional dancing.
The festival ends on a market day when everybody appears gorgeously and dances to the market- place in Ewohimi.

7. Ighele Festival (Esan/Ishan Clan)

Ighele festival is one of the most important festivals in Ishanland . It is celebrated annually in Ewu in the month of June and is significant to the inhabitant of Ewu because of the belief that Ighele brings peace and prosperity. Beside this idea, the festival appeases the ancestors of Ewa.

About a week to the festival the area which encloses the shrine is cleared and well decorated in the traditional norm of Ighele. The festival begins with gorgeous dressing. Young girls and adults appear in their best. The wearing of gold trinkets is commonplace and those who can afford coral beads also put them on, this young girl in company of the adult women dance round the town.

8. Oto Uromi Festival (Esan/Ishan Clan)

As the name implies, Oto-Uromi (Uromi land) is celebrated for a day in July or early August to appease the land of Uromi so as to produce good harvest. It is always held on an Uromi market day, always fived by the Onojie of Uromi acting on the advice of the elders and chiefs. An interval of 15 days is always given between the announcement and the date of celebration to allow for preparation.

It is a customary law that nobody goes to the farm on the day of celebration. Although the entire people of Uromi are involved in it, people from Umuwazi village called Egbele-Iwienbolo and Ikekiala, play a great role.

The ceremony is performed by Iwienbola people on a chosen spot where four sticks of chalk, four kola-nuts, some cowries, ripe pumpkin and a dog are used in appeasing the soil.

9. Ivbamen Or Ororuen Festival Of Ozalla (Owans/Oras clan)

Like other festival celebrated in various parts of Edo state. Ivbamen is celebrated annually for a week in April or May by Ozalla clan in Owan to initiate young men between 28 and 30 years of age into manhood. It also marks the end of one year and the beginning of another. The festival is as old as Ozalla clan itself.

Each celebrant participates in it for three consecutive times so that by the time a man of 28 reaches 30, he must have completed the full turn. No young man is allowed to participate in the festival less than twice and if any celebrant dies after performing the ceremony only once, for instance, it is regarded as bad luck for the person.

The date of ceremony is announced five market days earlier by the clan head with the co-operation of the chief priest of river Orhuen. The celebrants then start physical training to enable them run the eight-mile distance from the town to river Orhuen. They also make public announcements about their intention to participate in the festival and promise to bring to the elders information about any obstruction that comes their way.

10. Oriminyan Festival of Oguta- Evbiame (Owans/Oras clan)

Oriminyan is celebrated at Ogute-Evbiame in Emai Clan for three months (January- March), and in some parts of Ora and Iuleha. Although the festival is celebrated annually, a new age group is initiated every fourth year. It is celebrated to ensure peace and plenty in the town. The main features are masquerade dance in the evening at the centre of the town and merriment every five days and young men participate in the events. The masquerades wear marks and image and people regard them as heavenly spirits and not man-made.

The uninitiated is not allowed to come out at night on the first day of the festival when the masquerades parade the town and make awful sound. Women are also forbidden from seeing the enclave where the masquerades are clothed. Dances are held every five days- the market day during the three- month period. When an age group of 25 to 30 years is admitted into the village society as reaching maturity the women of that age group join the men in public festivities. It is usually an expensive undertaking.

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Top 10 Exciting Festivals In Edo State (Part 1)

Edo state has a very rich tradition of festivals and masquerades through which the people either appease the various gods and goddesses, purification of both the land and individual celebrant, initiate men or women into age-grades or as a traditional get-together. More than one hundred major festivals are celebrated in the state between September and March every year. 

Those celebrations offer opportunities for re-unions of members of the family and friends, it also offers opportunities to visitors to see and feel the rich cultural heritage of the state. More than one hundred major festivals are celebrated in the state between January and December every year.

Some of the festival celebrated in Benin/Edo State include:

1. Igue and Ewere Festivals (Benins Clan):

Igue and Ewere festivals which are perhaps the most colourful and crowd- pulling festivals in among the Benins are combination of various festivals. They are reminiscent of the past events in Benin history. Each of the events is connected with past Obas around whom Benin customs and traditions are woven. 

The Igue festival is celebrated annually by every reigning Oba and all Benin citizens at home and abroad to mark the end of the Bini year and to usher in a new one with renewed hope for peace and prosperity. 

The ancient Igue festival is akin to the white man's New Year ceremony. Before the innovations introduced by Oba Akenzua II Igue was normally celebrated during the month of September to climax a series of ceremonies, including Ugiododua, Ikpoleki, Rhor, Ugioro, Ugi' gun or Isiokuo and Ihiekhu.

Cows, goats, fowls and other beasts are prodigiously slaughtered to propitiate the spirits of the departed Obas and the various gods of the people.

Before the European era, the number of human beings slaughtered during this period of the year approximated in quantitative terms to that of the lesser animals. In those days, most of the ceremonies were held at night, a situation which made the lives of the ordinary citizens most insecure.

2. Eho Festival (Benins Clan):

Like Igue and Ewere festivals Eho is one of the popularly cherished festivals celebrated in Edoland it is an annual festival celebrated in mid-September. It dates back to pre-historical period and is occasions for paying homage to ancestors in every family unit; a period for cementing the unity of all brethren in the family fold and an occasion in which gifts are sent to fathers-in law.

Besides paying homage, the Binis believe that all who die hold meeting and appoint a time for answering prayer and soliciting for their children on earth before a more Supreme Being who they call Osa. This is why Eho festival is celebrated at various homes within a given period which lasts from nine days to two weeks.

On the advent of new moon in September, Chief Iyase, the leader of Eghaeybo None (state ministers) tells the Oba that it is time for Eho festival. On the Oba's consents, he goes to prepare, Chief Iyase is always the first among the state ministers to celebrate it while Chief Ihaza is the first to celebrate it among the Eghaevbo-nogbe (palace ministers) it is after these two that other chiefs and commoners can celebrate.

Commoners sacrifice cocks, the chief's cows during the celebration. But kola-nuts cocoa-nuts and assorted types of wines are lavishly used irrespective of the celebrant's status in life. The rich and the well-to-do- also invite old women to their homes to sing traditional songs.

3. Ebomisi Festival (Benins Clan)

Ebomisi a contracted form of Obo- imwen-isi (the herbalist has no permanent station) Is celebrated annually between February and March in commemoration of a famous herbalist and magician.

The festival is celebrated for five days at various dates in the villages forming Ugo clan in Akugbe District of Benin. These are Ugoneki, Ugonoba, Ugo-Emoson, Okuekpen Okogo and Ugbayon.

Ebomisi hailed from Uwan on the Benin /Ifon road and was farming at a place later named after him .The town is today called Ugbogiobo (the chief herbalist's farm).

The date for the commencement of the festivals is fixed at a meeting of the elders including the high priest of Ebomisi after consulting oracle and necessary preparations made. 

Most of the festival is celebrated at the shrine and masquerades, usually seven in number, visit the village occasionally to dance and pray for peace, good health and prosperity among the entire sons and daughters of Ugo at home and abroad. It is only during these visits to town that women dance and take part in the ceremony.

All sons and daughters of Ugo visit home at the time of this festival to receive blessings from Ebomisi- the men from the shrine and women from the masquerades. Beside festivity which takes place in April at Ugoneki. This is called Isosun.

4. Ohonomoimen Festival Of Iuleha (Owans/Oras clan)

Ohonmoimen in the local language means 'it is all well for me'. As the name implies Ohonmoimen festival is celebrated annually between January and March by Iuleha clan in Owan to mark the end of a fruitful year and the beginning of another. It offers opportunity for expressing gratitude to God, through ancestral gods and the gods of harvest for all the good things of the past. Prayers are also offer for protection and fruitful harvest in the coming year.

The rituals associated with Ohomoimen festival are carried out it three place know as sacred forests in the clan. These are OSEZE forest near okhijo village where the elders meet and appoint a time for the festival; OHIOJO forest and OSI forest where the images, drums and other appurtenances of the masqueraders are kept. The forest is out of bounds both for women and males not yet initiated.

Citizen within a particular age group are initiated every five years and these watch the forests during the festival. On announcement that a date has been fixed for the sacred forests harvest palm-nuts and from these nuts palm oil is made for the ceremonial lamps. The forest are also cleared and kept clean.

A curfew is imposed in the clan on the eve of the festival to allow the celebrants to convey materials to the sacred forests. That also stands as the last time people in the clan are allowed to climb palm tree and sing song other than festival songs. No light is to be seen outside during the curfew except when a pregnant woman is under labour when this does happen the family pays a fine of a she-goat.

5. Adu Ikukun Festival (Afemais/ Ivbiosakon Clan)

In Etsako there are several traditional festival which the people celebrate annually or biennially to commemorate certain historical events of cultural importance. Some of them are celebrated to mark the beginning and the end of the local seasons.

The Adu-Ikukun festival is celebrated by the people of Avianwu clan of Etsako. The clan consists of Fugar. Irakhor, Ogbona, Iviarun and Ivinone villages and to them the festival is of great significance. It is celebrated during the months of February and March to signify the start of the year.

As soon as the festival occasion draws near the various villages in Avianwu begin to organize 'clean up campaigns'. The English translation of Adu-Ikukua is to (throw away dirty) hence a clean- up campaign of all the surrounding in the area is organized.

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Tradition Of The Efik People

The Fattening Room (Nkuho)
The Fattening Room is an aged old tradition of the Efik people of Calabar, which has been greatly modified for today's generations. This ancient tradition is the training given to young women while they are in seclusion to prepare them for marriage and womanhood .

During this period the girl is being cared for by older women and is not allowed to come in contact with other people. She is put in a room where on a daily basis, is massaged three times, fed about six large portions of food (like poridge ekpang, plantain, yam fufu and assorted pepper soups), drinks three pints of water three times and gets plenty of sleep. This process ensures the bride gets a healthy waistline. 

According to the Efik people, they believe a woman who is full figured with a healthy waistline is beautiful.
In the Fattening Room the girl goes through domestic training of home economics (like cooking and housekeeping), childcare and how to respect and make her husband to be and his family happy. The older women give advice about their experience in marriage to ensure a successful one.

Another important parts of Efik cultural training are the cultural dances (Ekombi), folklore, folktales, songs and other forms of entertainment. Skills in artistic designs on Calabash and other materials are taught as well. All this to prepare her for marriage and womanhood.

At the end of the seclusion period, people all over are invited to witness the graduation ceremony to honor her success in passing through this ordeal. This ceremony is celebrated with traditional Efik dances (Ekombi) and other forms of entertainment. This big feast and merriment continues through out the whole day and night as families, friends and well wishers express their joy and happiness with gifts and donations to the bride. Finally she and her future husband embraces and dances welcoming everybody that have come to join the celebration. Everybody cheers the happy couple.


Nigeria is a country with so many different cultures and diverse languages. One of them is the Tiv people from Benue state (the food basket of the Nation) located in the middle belt area of Nigeria. Benue state is named after the River Benue. The Tiv people are from the middle-belt region of Nigeria. 

They constitute approximately 2.5% of Nigeria's total population, and over 6 million individuals throughout Nigeria and Cameroon. The Tiv are one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria and they are the dominant ethnic group in Benue state. Tiv language is spoken by about 6 million people in Nigeria, and a few speakers in Cameroon. The Tiv people are very friendly, cheerful and hospitable. They are famous for their rich cultural heritage, one of which is the Swange dance.

Swange is the name given to the traditional dance of the Tiv-speaking people of Benue state. It originated from Benue state, among the Tiv, Igala and Idoma people, an area located around the River Niger. The dance is characterized by rhythmic contortion in slow mode & vibrant display, typical of African dance forms. It has wonderful beat and beautiful rhythm. It is heavily percussion- based, aided by a traditional horn (Al-Gaita), which blows in an unbroken succession for as long as the drumming, singing and dancing continue.

Swange is a very popular Tiv music/dance which is played all over Tiv land and wherever they reside in large numbers. It is a contemporary, popular and urban recreational social dance that exhibits bodily movement akin to oriental dances. It is a dance with fast, slow, rhythmic and undulating movements, expressing youth and vigor which makes some refer to it as the 'boneless dance'. It is danced in unison by both men and women.

The dance uses the circle formation familiar in village dances and adapts traditional musical themes to highlife rhythms played on a combination of Tiv and Hausa instruments. The climax of an evening of Swange dance is provided by a solo dancer who improvises freely, using movements from many Tiv dance styles.

Swange dance is performed at various types of social and religious functions for the enjoyment of the old and the young. The dance is very popular and it is done in most festivals and other social events around the country. The dance particularly exhibits fluidity in body movement, a mimicry of the flow of the River Niger. 

The dance has been made more popular with the emergence of the musical duo, Zulezoo whose popular debut song 'Kerewa" featured Swange in its musical video. Zulezoo warmed the dance style into the hearts of many. The swange dance has brought fame to both the state and the nation.

Sulezoo and Ibro doing their Kerewa song

Monday 5 June 2017

Festivals And Traditions In Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are renowned for their year-round celebrations and fiestas, with a calendar of events ranging from deeply religious festivals to hedonistic, day-long celebrations. Among the most popular of Canary Island holidays for visitors to attend are Carnaval in February, when drinking and dancing take over the streets of Santa Cruz, and the June religious reenactments of La Orotava's Corpus Christi observances.

Three Kings Festival

While the rest of the world is recovering from Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, and attempting to stick to their resolutions, the people of the Canary Islands are preparing for the next festival in their calendar - the Three Kings Festival. Los Reyos Magos, as it is known in Spanish, celebrates the Epiphany on the eve of January 5. Parades march through towns and sweet treats and fancy dress are in abundance.

Music Festival of the Canary Islands

One of Europe's most distinguished classical music festivals welcomes some of the world's top classical performers to its stage each year from mid-January to mid-February. Stages are set up around the archipelago, with numerous acts playing simultaneously. Now in its 28th year, the festival provides a great alternative to spending the day relaxing on the beach, trekking, or kitesurfing.


March sees the most colorful and most spectacular festival of the archipelago's calendar occur. Carnaval takes place in February and is one of the best times of the year to visit the Canary Islands. No matter where you go, it is virtually impossible to escape it once in full-swing. The most elaborate celebrations occur in Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz where locals pull out their fancy dress and put away their inhibitions. The dancing, drinking, and downright hedonism goes on for days and gives Rio de Janeiro's Carnival a run for its money.

Festival of San Juan

June 23 sees Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, celebrate an ancient tradition inherited from the original settlers of the Canary Islands, the Guanches. Unless you know what is going on, you could quite easily think the people have gone a bit mad, as they take cattle down to the sea en masse to wash them. In addition, the Icod people set impressive decorations of flowers alight on campfires.

Corpus Christi Festival

Held in June, the Corpus Christi fiesta celebrates the establishment of La Orotava's Eucharist (Holy Communion). The town is adorned in multi-colored sand and the community reenacts biblical scenes. The festival get everybody excited, with people of all ages joining the celebration.

Saint Candelaria Festival

The celebration of the Canary Islands' patron saint, the Virgin of Candelaria, is hailed on August 14 and 15. During these two days, many Canarians go on pilgrims to the city of Candelria to pay their respects. The Feast of Saint Candelaria is held on February 2.

*culled from

Sunday 4 June 2017

Traditional Festivals in Germany in 2017 by Alicia Bones

Germany's famous Oktoberfest was
first held in 1810.
Germany is intent on preserving its history through its festival traditions -- but that doesn't mean you can't have fun, too. In typical German fashion, several of the country's popular festivals, including Oktoberfest and Christmas Markets, offer alcoholic beverages, rich food and celebrations of centuries-old traditions. Fasching, or Carnival, and Kinderzeche, or the Children's Party, mark historical events with traditional costumes, revelry and parades. Whether you want to attend a masked ball or watch a sword dance, you'll find plenty of traditional German festivals that combine age-old customs with modern carousing.


Fasching serves as the Catholic carnival for German-speaking countries. Lasting a little over a month, Fasching historically involved the temporary subversion of traditional roles -- men handed over power to women, for example -- and also included masked balls, plays and wild behavior. Modern-day celebrations still are based on their historic incarnations, with the biggest modern celebrations happening in Bonn, Munich, Düsseldorf and Cologne. Fasching celebrations often include Weissen Feste, or white parties, parades and open-air dances. In Munich, which holds the country's largest celebration, there are more than 800 masked balls during the season.


Beginning as a celebration of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, Munich's Oktoberfest now is the largest festival of its kind in the world. For a little more than two weeks, visitors can drink German beer, ride carnival rides, eat Bavarian specialties such as sausage and pretzels, and wear traditional costumes -- liederhosen for men and dirndls for women. In addition to drinking beer, visitors can watch the Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade, which consists of a parade of beer sellers followed by a brass bands and horse-drawn carriages, on the first Sunday of the festival.


Germany's famous Weihnachtsmärkte, or Christmas Markets, take place throughout the country. Most of the Christmas Markets are made to look like Victorian towns, with Christmas-light-draped booths selling lebkucken, which are gingerbread cookies, and gluhwein, which is hot mulled wine. In addition to food, Christmas Markets often offer handmade children's toys, wreaths and miniature houses. Some of the larger Christmas Markets also include holiday themed festivities such as Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, ice skating rinks and other family friendly attractions. Most of the country's Christmas Markets also have special events throughout the season, including choral concerts, fireworks and live music.


Dinkelsbühl's Kinderzeche, or Children's Party, is based on a 17th-century legend. In the tale, Swedes took control of Dinkelsbühl in the Thirty Years' War with the intent to destroy it. Children in the town went to the Swedish colonel and begged him to spare their town; being moved by their bravery, he eventually did. Since then, the children in Dinkelsbühl have been given a yearly party, which still includes a reenactment of the Swedish surrender, a parade and sword dances. Additionally, all of the children of Dinkelsbühl are given kinderzechgucke, a cone filled with sweets, to honor their 17th-century predecessors' bravery.

•culled from


Hatillo, a major agricultural area that produces approximately one-third of the milk consumed in Puerto Rico, is best known for the annual Festival de las Máscaras Festival of Masks), which has been held annually on December 28, since 1823, when the town was founded.

Tradition came with settlers from the Canary Islands. The meaning of this tradition is the Holy Innocents, or Santos Inocentes: the first martyrs of Christian faith from Matthew, a story in which small children were killed by King Herod in an unsuccessful attempt to kill Jesus. Brightly dressed men in masks, representing King Herod's soldiers, run through the streets in a vain attempt to find the Baby Jesus.

It is a very special day with lots of fun and a large meeting of masqueraders of all ages, who wear costumes according to tradition, typically covered from head to toe, and parade through their town and nearby towns all day, telling jokes and having fun, followed by a large crowd in a celebrated procession through the town and neighboring towns, and ending at the Hatillo town center. The parade includes modern floats where townspeople show their creativity in decorating them according to specific themes. Events also include live music concerts and competitions.

Saturday 3 June 2017

Gran Canaria - Festival News

The great pilgrimage festival Romería del Pino in Teror on Gran Canaria is soon at hand. This year over 300,000 visitors are expected from all the canary islands.

Starts in a week

The annual pilgrimage / festival starts on Monday 7th of September, and the whole event lasts a week. Many of the pilgrims are transported there by bus and the local bus company Global expects around 67,000 passengers during the festival week. But many pilgrims actually choose to walk one of the pilgrim routes to Teror located in the heart of northern Gran Canaria, about 20 km from Las Palmas.

This is one of the most popular festivals in the Canary Islands and is held in honor of patron saint "Nuestra Señora del Pino". Here can the Canarian politicians that matters be seen here along with Canarian bishops. But this is not just a religious festival, in the evenings there is music, dance and folklore in the central square.

About Teror

Teror is a charming little town with some fine examples of colonial-style architecture, where urban life is lived in the shadow of the Basilica de Nuestra Señora del Pino from the 1700s, which is dedicated to Gran Canarias patron. Legend has it that the Madonna appeared to some shepherds in 1481 in the top of a pine tree and since then Nuestra Señora del Pino (pine Madonna) plays a central role in people's daily life and in the history of Gran Canaria. When Pope Pius XII appointed her to the island's patron saint in 1914, the small town of Teror, with its sanctuary, became the island's ecclesiastical capital.

In Teror there is still room for the traditional dishes. On the restaurants Canaries popular dishes are being offered: Ropa Vieja (chick pea stew) and Carne en Adobo (marinated meat) are some of the specialties. But Teror's real specialty is their sausages and blood sausages, which is not only eaten in Teror, but throughout the entire island. These sausages have a paté-like structure with spicy ingredients that suit most people.

Friday 2 June 2017

The 8 Best Festivals In Cuba

There's something about warm sunny weather that can easily put you in the mood for a good festival. Whether it's a celebration of music, dance, or food – there's just something magical about wandering around in glorious weather while indulging your senses. This is why the wide variety of festivals in Cuba are just so darn enjoyable. To start with, there are rather a lot of them, and since it's warm and sunny for most of the time, you don't need to wait for the summer months to get your festival groove on. There are so many Cuban festivals on offer, that it can actually be difficult to decide which ones are worthy of your time. Not to worry – we've got you covered, and so let's take a look at some of the best festivals on offer in Cuba.


Rio de Janeiro might have the best known carnival in the world, but Cuba's carnivals are better in so many ways. There are crowds, but you won't feel like a sardine when you're enjoying a Cuban carnival. There's everything you would expect, with street floats, spontaneous dancing, and music everywhere. The biggest (and arguably best) carnival takes place in Santiago de Cuba in late July. If you still have carnival fever, then head straight to Havana afterwards. Their carnival starts in early August, almost immediately after the festivities in Santiago de Cuba come to an end.


There's Cannes, Toronto, and Berlin, and yet one of the most remarkable film festivals in the world is one of cinema's best kept secrets. The rustic town of Gibara is home to the annual "Festival of Poor Cinema," a festival that showcases low budget independent movies. You'll see weird and wonderful movies all produced on a shoestring budget – films that definitely won't be competing with Hollywood blockbusters at your local cinema.


You wouldn't necessarily associate jazz with an island paradise, but Cuba does it amazingly well. The Havana Jazz Festival is in fact one of the most popular festivals in Cuba, playing host to both local and international artists. Held each December in venues across the city, the festival is basically a celebration of all things jazz, and you can see dozens of performances during its four day run. There's a lot of traditional jazz, as well as numerous artists who specialise in Afro-Cuban jazz, which is jazz intermingled with seductive Cuban beats.


Dance aficionados flock to Havana every two years for the ballet festival, held in the transcendent surroundings of the Great Theatre of Havana (Gran Teatro de La Habana). One of the few festivals in the world dedicated exclusively to ballet, it's also the oldest, having been around since 1960. Dance companies from across the world perform in the festival, which is held in October and November. The next scheduled festivals will take place in 2016 and 2018.


Not everything has to be a competition, although most global biennial art exhibitions seem to be. This is not the case with the Havana Biennial, which is amongst the most prestigious festivals in Cuba. It's a non-competitive event, simply designed to showcase artworks from artists who are traditionally underrepresented on the the global stage. Artists from anywhere can submit work, although the festival places an emphasis on arts practitioners from Latin America and Africa. The festival is held roughly every two years, just like the ballet festival, although the months and years can change. The festival has experienced issues with funding in the past, although hopefully it will be around for many years to come.


Cuba can be both figuratively and literally magical, especially if you happen to visit the town of Las Tunas in November. There's an annual magic festival where both amateur and professional magicians from the world demonstrate their skills. It's amazing that
festivals in Cuba can involve watching a woman being cut in half, before you head outside to enjoy a cold mojito.


Havana can come to resemble Broadway or the West End in October. The hottest tickets in town are for the Theatre Festival, a vibrant celebration of acting and stagecraft. Tickets are cheap, meaning many performances sell out rather quickly. It's a truly international festival, so it's not as though you need to speak Spanish in order to see a production that will be engaging and perhaps even haunting. The overall standards of the festival are high, so if you're not able to get tickets for your first choice, why not take a chance on whatever still has available seats?


No look at the best festivals in Cuba is complete without a celebration of cigars. Havana lights up each February for the annual Habanos Cigar Festival. "Habanos" is what the locals call Cuban cigars, and the festival is also a trade show. You might rub shoulders with professionals whose family have been making cigars for centuries, or dedicated cigar fans looking to stock up. There are all the expected activities, such as a look at the history of cigar making and tours of both major and boutique facilities, but the real joy of this festival is to sample the cigars themselves.

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