Festivals Across the World

Kickstart the New Year with a series of festivals from different cultures across the globe.

Mardi Gras
February 12
Throughout Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, United States
Mardi Gras refers to the events of the Carnival celebrations beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras in French means Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lent season. Events include wearing masks, sports, competitions, parades, etc. It is the most famous Brazilian holiday where Samba dance is also a feature of the festival. Mardi Gras is at its biggest in Rio de Janeiro, where there are massive parades in large samba drones and more than 2 million people come together to celebrate.

Feb 1-9
Nelson, New Zealand
Started in 1992 by a group of musicians performing over five days in Nelson, this festival is now a biennial event. This year witnesses the 12th Adam Chamber Music Festival with performers from New Zealand presenting a programme that is rarely heard outside the festival environment, including performances by New Zealand string quartet, Goldilocks, Minguet Quartet and many more. The Magic Trombone (an opera in two acts) and the performance by the New Zealand Guitar Quartet also promise to be utterly captivating.

Australia Day
January 26
Throughout Australia
Previously known as Anniversary Day and Foundation Day, this festival commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Clove in 1788 and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia (then known as New Holland). However records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. It is presently an official public holiday and is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Honours List for the Order of Australia and much more. There are also fetes, concerts and citizenship ceremonies and the day is celebrated across communities and cities around the nation.

The Bermuda Festival
Throughout Jan & Feb
This is an annual performing arts festival, aimed at educating and inspiring through presentation of world-class acts. For two months Bermuda becomes a hub for cultural exchange and there are artists from a range of disciplines. The festival was conceptualised by Lord Menuhin who worked with the then governor of Bermuda Sir Edwin Leather and John Ellison who became its first chairman to launch the festival in January 1976. Some of the artists performing this year are Poncho Sanchez and his Latin jazz band at Fairmont Southampton, Pride and Prejudice performed by L.A Theatre Works, The Cashore Marionettes, Sitkovetsky Piano Trio and many more.

Burn’s Night
January 25
Annually celebrated in Scotland it commemorates the life of Robert Burns and his contribution to Scottish culture. The events include toasts and readings from Burns’ works. At the end of the reading, the haggis (a special ype of sausage) is ceremonially sliced into two pieces before the meal begins. The Scottish flag is often displayed at Burns’ Night celebrations.

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