A chill is in the air, and winter is being celebrated all over the globe. Although holiday celebrations vary by location and preference, we can all come together to appreciate this season that is so unlike any other. The festivities of this season date back as early as the Neolithic age, when the Winter Solstice brought times of celebration. In the modern day, this snowy season can be celebrated in the following five ways (and more!) around the globe.
Number Five: Hogmanay in Scotland. Hogmanay falls on the last day of the year; sort of the equivalent of how we celebrate New Year’s Eve. “First-footing” is a tradition for this holiday, where neighbors and friends become the first to enter a home in the new year. Upon entering, it is customary to bring presents, libations, and cakes. In days of the Vikings, festivities for this celebration included lighting bonfires and torches, and rolling flaming tar barrels down hills. Today, the holiday features lots of blazing attractions, such as the large, flaming balls in Stonehaven, and parades that glorify the ancestral Vikings.
Number Four: Fur Rendezvous in Alaska. In Alaska, citizens hold a multi-day festival in late February to celebrate the winter season. Deemed “Fur Rendezvous”, or “Rondy”, this festival features icy sports and games, sled racing, bonfires, and a torchlight parade. Possibly the most unique event of the Rondy is the annual “Running of the Reindeer”. During this run, contestants are pitted against reindeer in a dash for the finish line. Alaskans sure do know how to have a good time!
Number Three: Quebec Winter Carnival in Canada. The Quebec Winter Carnival is a yearly celebration hosted from the end of January until mid-February. Worldwide, it is one of the largest winter carnivals. Events featured include sleigh rides, ice skating, parades, giant snow slides, a snow bath, shows, and breath-taking snow sculptures. None of the festivities, however, would be quite as fun without an appearance from Bonhomme, the snowman mascot of the carnival!
Number Two: Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China. For most of January and February, the city of Harbin is all decked out in white for the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival. The city of Harbin designates tours and getaways to get the most of the attractions and scenery, and are definitely worth looking into if you’re in need of a vacation! Attractions feature huge, artistic, snow and ice sculptures, an ice lantern show, “China’s Snow Town”, a Siberian Tiger park, Harbin Polarland, and much, much more! This is definitely a spectacle you will want to add to your bucket list.
Number One: Carnevale in Italy. Carnevale is very similar to what we celebrate in the states as Mardi Gras. Overall, it is an extensive winter festival celebrating the season with masquerades, parades, parties, and lots and lots of confetti. Along with this festival comes a myriad of pranks and jokes, per “A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale,” anything goes at Carnevale. Costumes are a must for Carnevale, so don your masks before Shrove Tuesday to get in on the fun!