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Publication: Travel Tips
Wild Winter Festivals

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Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

Jan. 1, 2008 

Hello and welcome to the New Year! 

Get ready to learn about some of the best Wild Winter 

P.S. If you're interested you can now post comments on this 
and recent issues on our forum at... Travel Tips Forum 


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Wild winter festivals
Trade your winter blues for dancing shoes
By Anna Vander Broek 

There's a reason most cultures around the world celebrate 
the winter solstice and the approach of spring. Some are 
religious, others are secular — all help fend off the short 
days, long nights and chilling temperatures. 

With the dark days upon us, what better cure for the winter 
blues than a party? With help from some party experts, 
we've found 10 of the best and biggest winter festivals 
from around the world. Some ring in the New Year (Scotland, 
the Bahamas, China), while others mark the advent of Lent 
(New Orleans' Mardi Gras, Rio's Carnival). Still others, 
such as Mali's Festival in the Desert and Quebec's Winter 
Carnival, are long-standing cultural traditions that 
honor the region's rich history. At least one is deeply 
religious: The Phalgun festivals in Kathmandu, Nepal, 
combine elements of Buddhist and Hindu rituals to ring in 
the Tibetan New Year. 

All are opportunities between December and March to leave 
the winter doldrums at home. 

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Ringing in the New Year with an out-of-this-world party is 
common around the world, but some countries do it better 
than others. Scotland's Hogmanay attracts upwards of 
100,000 revelers to the streets of Edinburgh for a massive 
end-of-the-year bash. (Smaller celebrations take place 
across the country.) Grab a loved one — and a glass of 
Scotch — and join in the traditional country dances. As 
midnight approaches, head to the Balmoral Hotel and raise 
a toast as the clock tower welcomes January 1st. 

If you're looking for a warmer New Year's celebration, head 
to the Bahamas for the local Junkanoo party. Each year, the 
streets of Nassau are filled with 1,000-person "crews" in 
extravagant, coordinated costumes, vying for the coveted 
Best of the Festival award. But this is no ordinary parade. 
Rather than a traditional marching line, the Junkanoo crews 
create a free-for-all mosh pit, with revelers rushing 
toward each other. It may sound similar to New Orleans' 
Mardi Gras or Rio's Carnival, but there's a unique Bahamian 
flair to this party. 


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For something more unusual, head to Africa, where the 
Festival in the Desert is one of the world’s most extra-
ordinary celebrations. First organized in 2001, in part by 
the nomadic Tuareg people, the Festival in the Desert is 
"one of the finest showcases of the diversity of global 
music and culture." The celebration takes place deep in 
the rolling sand dunes of the southern Sahara in Mali, 
marked by a stone archway known as the "Key to the Desert." 
During the day, participants enjoy camel parades and races, 
crafts shows, discussions of nomadic life and performances 
of tinde, the women's traditional singing and drumming. 
When the sun goes down and the temperature drops, the music 
begins. Although tents are the only accommodation offered, 
the artists, musicians and, of course, the camels make this 
a truly exotic experience. 

If you'd rather celebrate in a more modern setting, join 
the half-million partiers at Brazil's world-renowned 
Carnival, considered by many to be the world's biggest and 
best party. Be sure to take a few samba lessons ahead of 
time. More than anything else, this sensual dance embodies 
the indulgent, sexual and carefree attitude of Rio de 
Janeiro's most famous occasion. 

For some, the perfect winter festival must be, er, wintry. 
If you're among the snow-loving set, head north to Quebec's 
17-day Winter Carnival, which promises snowball fights, 
ice-sculpture gardens and an internationally renowned snow-
sculpture contest. It's also the perfect family-friendly 
festival, with kids' activities during the day followed by 
adult nightlife jam-packed with dances and parades. As 
Quebec celebrates its 400th anniversary, this may be the 
best year to attend — the 2008 parades promise to be 
grander than ever before. 

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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