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9 alternative winter festivals

1. Fiesta de Santo Tomas, Guatemala

At the town of Chichicastenango they have 1 week fiesta (13-21 December) with lots of colours and people who come to see this. Dedicated to Santo Tomas, the locals get dressed in the traditional Mayan costume and special dancers twist rope around their bodies before leaping off a 30 metre pole that has been raised in the plaza, next to the Church.

2. Mevlâna Festival, Konya, Turkey

Celaleddin Rumi is one of the respected writers in history of Islam, for him it was believed that connection with God can be achieved through dancing. So, after his death around 13th Century a brotherhood with whirling dervishes started up this kind of dance (semu) as a worship. Enjoy this kind of mystical and spiritual journey on 10-17 December.

3. Thaipusam Festival, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  

Many devotees leave from Sri Mahamariaman Temple, where they will have to walk ,around midnight, on a 15 kilometer (approximately 8 hour) distance going to the Batu Caves. On the day of Thaipusam you will be shoked by all these devotees, by the way they show penance to Lord Murugan. Some have the kavadi (a decorated structure bearing the image of several deities including Lord Murugan) on their shoulders and pal kodum (milk pots) carried above their heads while others pierce their skin, tongue or cheeks with Vel skewers these are just to name some.. 
Prepare for this amazing festival at 23 January.

4. Up Helly-Aa, Lerwick, Scotland 26 January in Shetland, Scotland. 

This is all about Vikings!
If you are a wannabe Viking too, you have got to love this!
Thousands of residents are parading with special costumes and torches to celebrate the history of Shetland. After burning a life size replica of a Viking longship everyone parties with lots of drinks and dances on the streets for 11 hours straight.
Interested? Be quick because tickets are quickly sold out for January 26.

5. Ice and Snow Festival, Harbin, China 5 January to 26 February in Harbin, China. 

The 32nd Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival opens with a theme "Happy Ice Snow, Exciting City" on January 5 in 2016. The festival is featured by grand opening ceremony, fireworks display and a series of theatrical performances, ice snow activities in Sun Island, Ice and Snow Amusement World, Zhaolin Park and more venues around ice city Harbin. 
Take your warmest outfit and take part in various artistic, cultural and athletic activities which last almost one month! (starting from January 5)

6. Fiesta Grande, Andacollo, Chile.

La Virgen del Rosario the patron saint of miners, is held in high regard in Chile, a land dotted with mines. If you're in Chile in December, plan to be in Andacollo for the Fiesta Grande -a feast for the soul as well as the senses.
Thousands of pilgrims arrive in advance, swell the town, and camp where they can to be on hand for the ceremonies, including religious dances by costumed dancers, centered in the basilica as well as the secular festivities.
Experience this in Chile in 24-26 December.

7. Bikaner Camel Festival, Rajasthan, India 22-24 January in Bikaner, Rajasthan.

This Festival is really significant to the people of Rajasthan because in early times there were no automobiles and then camels were the only source of transport. For this, they dedicate these days (22-24 January) to these lovely creatures. Camels and owners dress up to their finest and colorful outfits and accessories to impress. The event features the famous camel dance, camel races and of course you will find here many products made from them.

8. Ati-Atihan Festival, Panay Island, Philippines

The Ati-Atihan is a festival in honour of the Santo Niño, celebrated in the third week of January.
The fiesta is celebrated in Kalibo on the island of Panay (Visayas) 19-25 January (with the last three days being the highlight!) in Kalibo on the Panay Islands. 
During the last three days of this week-long festival (fiesta), a parade is characteristic. A colourful happening with celebrants who paint their faces in many different ways and who are dressed in the most exceptional costumes. The dancing on the rhythms of the drums makes this festival comparable with carnival in Rio in Brazil!
You will Definitely Love It! It's free to participate while their motto is: “Hala Bira, Puera Pasma”, meaning “keep on going, no tiring”.

9. La Tamborrada, San Sebastian, Spain

Of all the festivals held every year in Spain, the Tamborrada in San Sebastian is the loudest. On January 20th at midnight, crowds pack Constitution Square, where the mayor raises the city’s flag to start 24 hours of non-stop drumming. Participants, dressed as cooks and soldiers, march in companies across the city. The celebration ends at midnight, when people congregate at the Konstituzio Plaza and the city flag is simultaneously lowered at various locations.
It is such a MUST to see this ! 

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created at

2015.11.20 16:37 Fri

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