arrow-down arrow-to-left arrow-to-right arrow-up bc-left check delete download facebook google-plus home map menu print search smiling three-lines top-left twitter youtube
December 2019

5 Cool December Festivals from Around the World

What are the best winter festivals to check out?

There’s no doubt that December is literally one of the “coolest” months in the year. The month of winter’s commencement is one also potentially filled with much warm merriment. From traditional festivals like Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve to more modern creations like Cyber Monday (where one sits in front of a computer’s warm glow instead of a fireplace), this final month of the year is replete with celebration.

If you’re an international traveller, there are also many festivals to check out around the world. The best winter festivals celebrate a wide variety of wonders. We’ll take a look at five December festivals you ought to check out.

New Year’s Eve (Worldwide)

We start the list with the biggest celebration of which any person can partake. New Year’s Eve celebrates the closing of the year, for better or worse, and usually ends in a brilliant display of fireworks. Some of the most notable places to watch the fireworks are in New York City, London, Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Cape Town, and Moscow. In New York City, people generally wait hours to watch the “ball drop”, an act of pure dedication as there are no public restrooms provided.

Al Dhafra Festival (Dubai)

Celebrate the culture of the United Arab Emirates with the Al Dhafra Festival. Bedouin cultural events include camel racing, date packing, the milking of sheep, falconry, and a camel beauty contest. If you fancy yourself an expert in camel aesthetics or are simply interested in learning more about the desert lifestyle, this cultural event is for you. In 2019, the Al Dhafra Festival runs from Dec. 9 to 24.

Klausjagen Festival (Switzerland)

The beautiful Swiss festival of lights, Klausjagen ("Nicholas chase") takes place in the town of Küssnacht on the eve of St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 5, 2019). With roots in pagan traditions, the festival now has a Christian slant. A parade of illuminated stained glass windows creates a wonderful sight. Music is played and celebrations are held in taverns across the city.

Chichibu Yomatsuri (Japan)

The Chichibu Yomatsuri (Chichibu Night Festival) is held each year in Chichibu, located outside the heart of Tokyo. It's one of Japan's top festivals for floats; you'll see elaborate decorations from lanterns to carvings of wood. Held each year on the 2nd and 3rd of December, the Chichibu Yomatsuri may be chilly, but warming festival food is there to keep you heated.

Burning the Clocks (England)

Tired of the commercialisation of Christmas? The Burning the Clocks festival held in Brighton, England might just be for you. Folks arrive to build lanterns of paper and willow, parading them through the streets and ultimately burning them upon the beach. It's a metaphor for the procession and culmination of the year, and perhaps one also of letting go. There is a unique theme each year (the theme this year pertains to the memories we share and the things we lose). The event falls on the 21st of December in 2019.

Which is your favorite December festival? Let us know on our Facebook Page, and be sure to “like” telc English for more articles on culture from around the world.