Sunday, 30 October 2016

Things To Do In Aruba - Islands Festivals


Carubbian Festival

The Carubbian festival was inaugurated in June 2011 takes place in San Nicolas every Thursday night from 6pm-10pm, showcasing the multicultural charms of Aruba's "Sunrise City." Tourists can purchase a package at their hotel including round-trip transportation.
The center of activities is a stage area where the audience can relax at tables and enjoy a diversity of cuisines from the region and a parade of local entertainers. The Main Street is closed to traffic becoming a pedestrian mall filled with colorful booths selling local food, local crafts and logo souvenirs, with fun activities for the entire family.

Bon Bini Festival*

Visit Fort Zoutman, the oldest building on the island, located in Oranjestad, and enjoy our famous Bon Bini Festival, a weekly local folk music and dance festival where you can catch the flavor of the island, its people, music, crafts, art, cuisine and hospitality.
"Bon Bini" means "Welcome" in Papiamento, and that is the perfect word to describe the enthusiastic environment of this festival. The festival takes place every Tuesday from 7:00-9:00 p.m. 

*Nominal Entrance Fee

Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival
The 13th Annual Soul Beach Music Festival will fly into Aruba May
22 - 27, 2013 for the most electrifying music festival event of the year. The 2013 Soul Beach Music Festival kicks-off Memorial Day Weekend, in Aruba's sun kissed paradise, with five days of power packed events. Join Soul Music Lovers from around the world and take part in amped up nightclubs, sizzling beach parties, music and comedy concerts. The 13th Anniversary of the Soul Beach Music Festival will be more spectacular than ever!!!!

Aruba Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival

This annual outdoor festival promises an impressive lineup of local and international musicians at Cas di Cultura. Headliners from past festivals were Michel Camilo, Praful and Randal Corsen, Ploctoons, Moonbaker, Cubop City Band, Paoli Mejias, David Sandborn, Izaline Calister and Isaac Delgado. 

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Denmark Holidays and Festivals

Denmark is an energetic European nation with a yearly calendar full of events. The Denmark holidays and festivals range from religious celebrations to royal commemorations and sporting spectacles. However, the music scene is held with great pride by locals, and boasts an unrivaled list of exciting music events throughout the year. The Rock Festival in Roskilde is the most anticipated celebration with the Copenhagen International Jazz Festival not far behind in popularity.

Rock Festival

The Rock Festival in Roskilde is the largest public event in the country. More than 80,000 people flock to the city, which is headlined by more than 170 local and international bands. It is usually held in July, with all proceeds going to charity so you won't feel bad about dropping too much dough. Roskilde is only 20 miles (35 kms) from the city of Copenhagen, so anyone in Denmark's capital can get here in less than 30 minutes.

Copenhagen Jazz Festival

One of Europe's most beautiful and inspiring times is the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, held every July. The Danish capital is picturesque enough, but with a series of concerts and performances ringing through the streets it's downright magical and it's no wonder so many fall in love with Denmark here.

Skanderborg Festival

Taking place just after the Roskilde Rock Festival in August, Skanderborg Festival is yet another exciting rock event in Denmark. The most alluring aspect (aside from the great bands) is the location. The concerts are staged alongside a lake, in the dense forests close to the city of Skanderborg.

Aarhus Festuge

Even though Roskilde is home to the largest concert event in Denmark, Aarhus is home to the most extensive annual festival. Lasting for about 10 days from the end of August to the beginning of September, visitors can enjoy a huge range of attractions and cultural shows, including musical performances, dance, films, cultural exhibitions, and delectable cuisine. The festivities are spread out over the entire city of Aarhus, including parks, community halls, churches, and other public buildings.

Night of Culture in Copenhagen

A truly magical experience for any epicurean or history buff, the Night of Culture in Denmark's capital is a splendid evening that is held in mid-October. More than 300 cultural sites around the city, some of which are only open on this night, open their doors after hours, including churches, museums, and galleries.

New Year's Eve Copenhage

Even though new year celebrations are held around the city of Copenhagen, tourists should make their way to Amalienborg Square. Thousands of locals and visitors gather here for the fireworks displays and a fascinating party atmosphere in full swing. The Royal Guard Parade is held in front of the square, providing insight into the Danish monarchy.

Winter Jazz Event

Spice up a cold winter holiday in Denmark by participating in the Winter Jazz Event. Lasting 10 days between January and February, more than four dozen spots host the event which has become so popular it now spreads across several Nordic countries.
culled from www. iexplore. com

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Festivals in Bhutan

Have you ever seen monks performing sacred Cham dances alongside cymbals smashing whilst horns are blowing? From folklore performances to naughty clowns – locals flock from the surrounding villages dressed in their best clothes to receive blessings and watch the festivals. Bhutan's festivals are known as tshechus. These are Buddhist festivals in honour of the Buddhist Saint Padmasambhava, popularly known as 'Guru Rimpoche', the saint who was responsible for introducing Buddhism to Bhutan.
Here are a handful of festivals celebrated in Bhutan which make for an incredible experience when visiting this beautiful and intriguing country:

Trashigang Tshechu (Featured in the Bhutanese Epic Group Tour)

This festival takes place in the courtyard of Trashigang Dzong which is perched on a cliff overlooking two rivers. Pilgrims gather around the edge and monks look out from balconies on the first and second floors. The view of the Trashigang from these balconies is magnificent. As the monks perform their dances their swirling robes appear as spinning tops on the stone paved floor. Pilgrims travel from as far as the Indian border and Brokpas (a semi-nomadic community) make the journey from Merak and Sakteng.
Mongar Tshechu (Featured in the
Bhutanese Epic Group Tour)
The region of Mongar in eastern Bhutan is famous for its exquisite wood carvings and is known as the 'Bastion of the Zhongarps'. The exciting and colourful three day tshechu is held here annually in November and is witnessed by people from as far as Trashigang and Lhuentse. The festival offers numerous mask dances and is one of the most important events the area has to offer.

Druk Wangyel Tshechu

The Druk Wangyel Tshechu is a unique festival performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or lay people. It is a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country. This one of a kind tshechu is performed against the backdrop of the magnificent Jigme Singye Wangchuck mountain range.

Gomphu Kora Tshechu

Gomphu Kora is one of the temples where Guru Rinpoche, the great tantric mystic, meditated. It is a small temple in front of a huge black rock, where he is said to have vanquished a local demon in the shape of a snake. Each spring, people from all over eastern Bhutan descend upon the narrow valley, dressed in all their finery, to partake in the festivities, worship and to reunite themselves with their past. Traditionally, this festival was an occasion for the people of eastern Bhutan, to choose their spouse.

Paro Tshechu

The five-day Paro Tsechu is held each spring, from the 11th to the 15th day of the second month of the Bhutanese calendar – usually late March or April – at the Paro Dzong (Rinchen Pung Dzong). This Tsechu is one of the largest festivals in Bhutan with pilgrims travelling from neighbouring districts to participate in the festivities. The first day of the festival is usually held in the courtyard of the Dzong and includes dances such as the 'Black Hat Dance' or 'Dance of the Lord of Death and his Consort'. On the final day, a giant appliqué thangka or Thondrol, is unrolled and displayed before dawn.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Belize Holidays and Festivals

Belize offers its visitors an eclectic and fun-filled calendar of cultural festivals and special Belize holidays spread throughout much of the year. The International Costa Maya Festival celebrates the ancient Mayan heritage on Ambergris Caye each August with dancing, music and parades. Each November the Garifuna Settlement Day showcases the unique culture of this essential Belizean group in Punto Gordo, and of course February's Carnival is as fun as anywhere else in the Caribbean region.

San Pedro Carnival

A highlight of virtually every nation in the Caribbean region, Belize is no exception. Every February, the week before Lent, Ambergris Caye transforms into a huge street party with costumes, parades, music and all kinds of fun for kids and adults alike.

Baron Bliss Day

Baron Bliss Day honors one of Belize's founding fathers with a regatta in the harbor next to the lighthouse where the man is buried. Horse races, cycle races and other fun events are scheduled in Belize City along the waterfront every 9 March.

San Jose Succotz Festival

Held to celebrate the patron saint of the town in Cayo District, San Jose Succotz is one of the more down-to-earth cultural festivals in Belize. It blends the traditional marimba music, dance and food of the mountainous interior every April.

Cashew Festival

A great excuse to spend a day or two in one of Belize's top national parks, Crooked Tree Wildlife Reserve is the setting for Cashew Festival every May. The park's Creole village shows off the amazing cashew in ways you can only dream of, adding to the overall scene.

Toledo Cacao Fest

Showcasing the enduring enchantment of chocolate for three days in the middle of May, arts and crafts complement the informative side of Toledo Cacao Fest that teaches how the ancient Maya used the cacao bean for many purposes.

Lobsterfest

June 14-19 is a chance to indulge in this sumptuous sea creature in every manner imaginable. Coastal communities all along Belize's coast like Placencia, San Pedro and Caye Caulker all put on a fun day of eating lobster, drinking and having a good time on the beach.

International Costa Maya Festival

One of the premier cultural events in Belize every August, for a week San Pedro brings the heritage of the Maya to Ambergris Caye for an extravaganza of cultural performances, parades and the nation's top beauty pageant.

Garifuna Settlement Day

Celebrating the arrival of this special ethnic Caribbean group to the southern coast of Belize in 1832, this annual event happens only in the southern towns of Belize like Punta Gordo every November 19.It's a great chance to see more of this important component of the nation's ethnic diversity.

PanAmerican Day

PanAmerican Day honors the Mestizo culture of Belize in Corozal and Orange Walk with revelry, music, dancing, parades and some serious partying every October 9th. Horse races and all kinds of fun run for a week in both towns.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

OLOJO FESTIVAL OF ANCIENT ILE IFE By MCPHILIPS NWACHUKWU & APPOLOS IBEABUCHI OZIOGU

The people of ancient city of Ile-Ife are mostly traditionalists who still uphold the religious practice of their forebears. They worship a lot of deities and as a result they celebrate a great many traditional festivals to propitiate or pacify or appease the deities.

Some of these deities are: Orisa Oko (deity of agriculture); Ogun (deity of iron); Obatala (deity of creation); Esu Elegbara (trickster deity); Osanyin (deity of medicine);Ifa (deity of divination), Erinle (deity of forest); Orunmila (deity of fate) etc.

There are also prominent ancestors that are also deified and worshiped like Oduduwa, Oranmiyan and Oluorogbo . There were 401 deities that resided in the ancient city of Ile-Ife. Thus, the Ife people have diverse cultural festivals that they celebrate annually, which among them is OLOJO festival.

Olojo festival is an age-long tradition of the ancient city of Ile-Ife which is celebrated by the indigenes of Ile-Ife. It began during the reign of the third Ooni of Ile-Ife. Though the date of Olojo festival inception has not been determined, but it is said to be between 11th and 15th century and the celebration usually begins in the middle of October each year.

It is celebrated in honour of the revolutionary deity, Ogun (the god of iron).Th festival is celebrated to commemorate the importance of Ogun; to exhibit the solemn belief of the Ife people on Ogun deity to usher in prosperity and abundance of agricultural products, as well as the well-being of the people for the year.

Olojo literally means "Owner of the day". The Olojo festival is a programme, marked with great pomp and pageantry. It is celebration occasioned by prayers, songs, dancing and merry-making. However, before the festival commences proper, the sitting or reigning king, Ooni of Ife would go incommunicado or into seclusion for a period of five days to communicate with the 401 deities that resided in the ancient city of Ile-Ife.

He engages himself in special prayers and ritual sacrifices along with seven high priests. Within this period, the Ooni will not eat any natural food, but spiritual food and alligator pepper with kola nut. During this period also, the high priest will be coming to see the Ooni to perform some rituals, turn-by-turn for consecutive five days.

Olojo festival is a three-day event.
The first day, which is normally Friday, is called "Ilagun" day. The second day, being Saturday is called "Olojo proper while the third day being Sunday is the grand finale and for merry-making. Thus, before the commencement of the festival on the first day, the Ooni of Ife would first of all emerge wearing the sacred beaded crown "Ade Aare" which was believed to have been empowered by the deities. After that, the chief priest, Osogun with other chiefs including the priest and a representative of Ooni would immediately proceed towards the Okemogun (the shrine) to prepare the Ogun shrine before the Ooni would come out in the open. There, the chief priest would make some incantations while the other chiefs that accompany echo "Esei" (meaning, Amen).

At the shrine, a dog is tied, while the Osogun and other seven chiefs move round the shrine seven times before the Osogun (chief priest) would finally cut the dog into two halves. Immediately after the ritual killing, the entire people of Ife around will shout "Ogun yee" (meaning, the ritual has been accepted).

The totems for ceremonial ritual include: dog and kola nuts (which are to be shared among the people at the shrine). Other items are salt, palm oil and palm wine. During the festival different  songs are sung in praise of the Almighty God for a peaceful festival and for the reigning Ooni.
*culled from www.vanguardngr.com

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Bahrain Holidays and Festivals

As a Muslim country, Bahrain holidays are usually devoted to Islam and part of a formal schedule that changes from year to year, depending on the lunar calendar. The biggest annual events go by the name Eid—meaning 'celebration' in Arabic—which these tend to mark the end of the most solemn religious periods of the year. As Islam is very much a religion centered on the family, celebrations of these occasions often take place behind closed doors, with extended families gathering to enjoy great feasts in residential compounds.

Muharram - Islamic New Year

One of the most highly anticipated events of the year, a ban on alcohol is strictly enforced as a measure to promote purity. The Islamic New Year is celebrated in January, just as the Christian New Year, so the two events often merge together into one month of celebration.

Ashura

On the 10th day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar, Bahrain's Shi'a Muslim majority gather to commemorate the martyrdom of Hussain ibn Ali. For most, this is not a festival, but a sad period of intense grief and mourning. It is notable to see how the local population assembles and commemorates the day in a series of processions and traditions.

Milad Al Nabi

The most widely-celebrated festival in Bahrain, Milad Al Nabi honors the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. Uniting the two predominant Islamic factions on the island— the Sunnis and the Shi'ites— both revere the memory of this important Muslim figure, although they celebrate the occasion on different days. Taking place annually in April, processions, feasting, and storytelling set a backdrop of fervent celebration.

Independence Day

Each June, Independence Day is the time when all the citizens of Bahrain forget their differences in caste, religion, and social hierarchy and celebrate with fireworks, opera, and festivities that span day and night. It marks the day in 1971 when Bahrain regained its independence from Britain after being part a protectorate state for more than a hundred years.

Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr

The holy month of Ramadan is seen as the 'festive season' by Muslims, a period of charity and reflection. During daylight hours, Muslims are required to fast, but the evenings are especially pleasant as families go out to enjoy themselves over dinner and special Ramadan tents. The culmination of Ramadan is known as Eid Al Fitr, a three-day celebration of feasts and good deeds.
*culled from www.iexplore.com

Friday, 14 October 2016

Sudan Holidays and Festivals

As an Islamic country, Sudan holidays and festivals are centered on the Islamic calendar. Important days like the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, celebrated on Mawlid an-Nabi, and Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of a month of fasting, are big occasions across the entire country. There are, however, also a few non-Islamic events which tend to celebrate common cultures and the joys
of life.

Mawlid an-Nabi

Kicking off the Sudanese festival
calendar in February is Mawlid an-Nabi, which celebrates the day the Prophet Mohammed was born. This is one of the few Islamic celebrations in which travelers can partake as the festivities are taken out of the home and into the streets. Stalls with food and sweets line the streets and locals dance and sing until late into the night. The atmosphere is electric and the day is undoubtedly enjoyed by all.

Sham Al Nassim the Spring
Holiday

Held every year in April is the popular Spring Holiday, which takes place the very first Monday after the Christian Easter holiday. The reason for the festival is yet to be determined but that does not deter locals and travelers alike from having a swell of a time. The day
is characterized by displays of music, dance, and all-round festiveness.

Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)

Sudan is an Islamic nation, which is
why Eid al-Fitr, a holiday celebrating the end of the holy month Ramadan and the end of the fasting period, is a big deal.
Celebrations are held all over the
country in August, with mass
ceremonies taking place in mosques everywhere. The main events on the day are largely family-based, with families gathering for a veritable feast,
the exchange of gifts, and a look back at the month and what it meant in their lives.

Eid al-Adha (Feast of the
Sacrifice)

Another important Islamic day, this time in October, is the Feast of the Sacrifice. The story in the Koran which tells the tale of Ibrahim and his willingness to sacrifice his first-born son to Allah resonates strongly with people of the
Islamic faith. So strongly that believers around Sudan slaughter sheep and hold great feasts with family and friends. The festival usually lasts for two to three
days, during which time there are
several trips to the mosque.

Sufi Holiya Festival

Also in October is the traditional Sufi music and dance festival. The Holiya festival is a mass display of cultural brotherhood and kinship. Held in honor of Sudanese saints and sheiks, the festival is characterized by the gathering of people of all ethnicities and
social rankings, who dance and hug in the street. This part of the festival is called Hadra. The festival-goers sing along to traditional hymns and songs –
called qasaids - and hold a large parade that passes through many culturally significant landmarks. For travelers, this really is one of the most spiritually uplifting and most inspiring traditions to witness in the region.
*culled from www.iexplore.com

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Andorra Holidays and Fetivals

Andorra holidays are traditionally based on the Catholic high holy days, although they are also strong on the cultural aspects of the principality's long heritage and always feature folk dance
and music. In addition, the state holds a major jazz festival, the Montserrat Caballe Singing Contest focused on opera, classical music concerts, and other similar events. Most festivals take place between May and October when getting around the country is easiest
with nicer weather. Festivals are
popular with visitors and focus on
snow, food, and much more.

Big Snow Festival

Held in March at Arinsal ski resort, this fun event features a variety of live music, skiing and snowboarding, contests, and parties in all the resort's bars, clubs, and pubs.

International Women's Clown
Festival

This popular annual event delights
Andorran residents and tourists alike in May, and brings together female clowns from several countries around the world
including the USA, as well as audiences from many regions.

Montserrat Caballe Singing
Contest

Young, talented classical singers from across the world compete every May for the coveted prize and title of being Monsterrat's greatest performer. Caballe, one the world's greatest sopranos is Catalan, and the contest draws many opera fans.

Andorra la Vella Village
Festival

Beginning on the first Saturday in
August, this traditional and much-loved event is celebrated in the capital city for three days. Other towns including Canillo, Ordino, and Encamp also celebrate their own village festivals in summer.

The Bagpipers' Gathering

A truly traditional annual occasion, the Bagpipers' Gathering celebrates the legend of Val d'Ordino's traveling bagpipers, known as 'buners.' Held in the second week of August, the event sees attendees thrill to the skirl of the pipes for an unforgettable experience.

Our Lady of Meitxell Day

The most-loved of all the Andorran
festivals, Our Lady of Meitxell Day was first held in 1873. The event honors the state's patron saint with its focus on a replica of the Chapel of Meritxell's sanctuary. People arrive from all over the principality on September 8 and a mass attended by prominent politicians
and priests is held in the chapel. All
businesses and shops are closed, and a torch procession, dancing in the streets, music, parties, and concerts are part of the celebrations.

Narciso Yepes International
Festival

This festival which takes place in
October in Val d'Ordino is named after the famous guitarist. International orchestras and musicians alike arrive to
perform, and it's a popular attraction for the classically-inclined.

Andorra's International Jazz
Festival

Another shining star on the event
calendar, the International Jazz Festival takes place in Escaldes-Engordany and has featured jazz greats such as Miles Davis and Fats Domino. Hugely popular,
the entire town joins in the celebration, both on and off the street.
*culled from www.iexplore.com

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Cote D'Ivoire Holidays and Festivals

Festivals in the Ivory Coast are often a celebration of cultural traditions. With a good number of the population adhering to the Muslim faith, religious events
related to Islamic beliefs are widely
observed. Côte d'Ivoire Holidays also include celebrating different pieces of history, many of which are
characterized by festive parades and colorful performances.

Carnival in Bouaké

The Ivoirians version of Mardi Gras, this week-long carnival is one of the mostvwell-attended events in the Ivory Coast. It is held in Bouaké in March each year.

Fête du Dipri

This eccentric April celebration is held in the town of Gomon, where people perform different kinds of rituals in order to exorcise and drive evil spirits out of the village. The event starts at midnight
and continues until late afternoon the following day.

Independence Day

Ivory Coast's Independence Day is
celebrated on August 7 each year to
commemorate the country's liberation from France. The event is marked by all kinds of cultural activities, lively performances, parades, and other festivities.

Fêtes des Masques

The most popular of all the Ivory Coast events, Fêtes des Masques, or the Festival of Masks, is an annual event held in November. It is a time to pay homage to the forested spirits embodied by the villagers who wear colorful
costumes and masks. The celebration is held in the northern region in the town of Man.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day (December 25) is
celebrated by local Christians with all-night church services that start on Christmas Eve (December 24) and end at 6:00 a.m. During worship, you can expect singing, group dancing, poetry recitation, skits, testimonies, prayers,
and a sermon. Ivoirian Christians do not exchange gifts on Christmas, they wait until the new year to signal good prosperity.

Islam-Related Holidays

Major Muslim holidays are celebrated and observed in the Ivory Coast. These include the period of fasting known as
Ramadan and the post-Ramadan feast known as Eid al-Fitr. Tabaski, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, is observed by religious families. The event dates vary according to the lunar calendar.
*culled from www.iexplore.com

Monday, 10 October 2016

Senegal Holidays and Festivals

Senegal's most famous sporting event, the Paris-Dakar Rally, has been held in South America since 2009. However, there are tons of Senegal holidays and lively festivals to enjoy, most of which
are stunning showcases of Senegalese music and art. The Senegalese ring in every New Year by drumming and celebrating at the Abéné Festivalo and wind down each year with the Les Blues
du Fleuve acoustic blues concert series. Contemporary artists from across Africa seize the opportunity to display their talents at the Dak'art Biennale, held only once every two years.

Abéné Festivalo

The annual 10-day drumming festival in the Casamance community of Abéné begins at the end of December and extends into the New Year. The djembe
and percussion players may be the
festival's main event, but visitors can also enjoy nightly dancing and
traditional Senegalese wrestling
matches. This celebration of
Casamance culture attracts performers and visitors from across West Africa and even as far as Europe.
Senegal Independence Day
Senegal celebrates its independence day on April 4, the day the territory first became independent from France as
part of the short-lived Federation of
Mali. Schools are closed for two weeks and most Senegalese spend this national holiday visiting family and friends. Drill teams and color guards from Senegal's military and police forces march down Dakar's streets during Senegal's largest Independence Day parades.

Dak'Art Biennale

This colorful Dakar festival may only take place once every other May, but it is well worth the wait. The festival attracts contemporary artists from throughout Africa, who display their paintings, sculptures, and other masterpieces in galleries and venues across Senegal's capital.
St Louis Jazz Festival
Each May, St Louis hosts one of Africa's largest jazz festivals, where legends such as Joe Zainul and Herbie Hancock perform alongside no fewer than 30 new artists every year. The event has expanded to include soul, blues, and even rap performances held in venues
across St Louis. However, Senegal
River cruises may be the most romantic ways to enjoy these unforgettable musical performances.

Kaay Fecc

This Dakar festival held between late May and early June is a celebration of traditional and contemporary dance from across Africa and the rest of the
world. However, the focus is on African choreographic expression,
entertainment, and education.

Gorée Diaspora Festival

This artistic festival was established to promote links between Senegal and the
descendants of the slaves forced to
leave Africa from Gorée Island.
Conferences and meetings filled with debates and discussions are held alongside lively dancing and musical performances. Many performers and visitors of African descent have rediscovered their roots at this emotional festival held between November and December each year.

Festival International du Film
de Quartier

Each December, Dakar hosts Senegal's largest film festival, originally created in 1999 as a showcase for Media Centre of
Dakar production trainees. Today,
filmmakers from across Senegal can have their productions screened at restaurants, museums, and other centers of culture throughout Dakar. Many Dakar institutions mount special
screens during the festival.
*culled from www.iexplore.com

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Chad Holidays and Festivals

There are 12 main Chad holidays, most religious in nature. Political events such as Independence Day and the Proclamation of the Republic are particularly festive, complete with parades and sports.

New Year's Day

January 1 is a national holiday in Chad. The New Year's Day celebration typically involves fun, food and festivities. All offices and shops are closed.

National Day

National Day is held every April 13 and is celebrated to honor Chad's
independence.

Labor Day

Like many other countries in the world, Chad celebrates Labor Day on May 1. Government offices and private businesses are closed.

Liberation of Africa

May 25 is the celebration of Africa's
liberation from colonial Europe. It is
observed in other countries like the UK, US, Tanzania, Spain, Kenya, and Ghana. There are plenty of street marches, school lectures and artistic rallies.

Independence Day

Chad's Independence Day is celebrated annually on August 11. This public holiday commemorates the country's freedom from France. Sports and political assemblies are common and delegates from around the world visit at this time.

Muslim Events

The Feast of the Sacrifice, Ramadan, and Eid-al-Fitr are among the notable Muslim holidays in Chad. These religious events are celebrated by Muslim communities across the nation and honored by other Chadians. The dates vary with 2012's festivities in August, but the traditions remain the same. During the holy month, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. The End of
Ramadan (Eid-al-Fitr) is celebrated
with prayer, festivals and food.
Proclamation of the Republic
Chad remembers the declaration of its  republic status every year on November 28. This day is all about fun and festivities, regardless of your religion. Some local communities organize political assemblies and sporting events.
*culled from www.iexplore.com

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Togo Holidays and Festivals

Togo is a society that encompasses 37 ethnic tribal groups, and the variety of
festivals celebrated throughout the year in different parts of the country reflects this diverse mix of African traditions. For example, Gbagba, which celebrates traditional African agricultural values, is one of the largest Togo holidays. Voodoo is also followed in Togo, an aspect which is reflected by the annual
Voodoo festival.

Gadao

Celebrated in the central city of Sokode, this three-day festival is usually held in March. Each day, different ceremonies take place: the purpose of the first day is to thank ancestors for their harvests; the second day is known as the "Feast
of Knives" and is a show of might dating back to the days of Semassi warriors; the final day is called 'Kosso' and is when women come to celebrate the role of warriors.

Evala

Held in July every year in Togo, this
festival of initiation for young ladies is held in Kabye land. Locals dress in traditional costume and there are
several dancing ceremonies.

Gbagba

Held every August in the Kpalime
region, this multi-day festival has three purposes: firstly, to worship the animist deities; secondly, to signal the end of the farming cycle with the harvest; and thirdly, to celebrate the beginning of the
rest period. There are many songs and dances performed, all with an
undercurrent of traditional African
drumming.

Voodoo Festival

This Togo event is held in the village of Glidji every September and celebrates the indigenous beliefs and the start of the new year. The highlight of the festival is a sacred stone, the color of
which predicts fortunes of the coming year. Blue indicates abundant harvests, red means it will be a year of war, black
means famine and floods, while white means the year will be blessed with luck. The festival is held 30 miles from Lome and is a time of year which many families use to reunite.
*culled from iexplore.com

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Benin Republic Holidays and Festivals

Benin has a rich and vibrant culture, and a religion which informs the daily lives of many inhabitants. There are several festivals linked to culture and if travelers are in the right place at the right time, they would be privileged to experience.
The Benin holiday called Voodoo Day happens countrywide in January and is quite the sight, while the Quintessence Film Festival in Ouidah in the same month is a hit with cinema-lovers.

Voodoo Day

Voodoo Day happens on January 10 every year and is viewed by the people of Benin in the same vein of importance as the Christian Christmas or the Muslim Eid. This public holiday attracts believers from all over West Africa and
the world to celebrate the unique and often misunderstood Voodoo religion. There are several ceremonies, the most
controversial of which is the sacrifice where a priest rips a chicken's neck off with his teeth. While not for the squeamish, this is quite something quite unique to witness in Benin.

Quintessence Film Festival

An annual film festival held in Ouidah, the Quintessence Festival is simply a celebration of local and international cinema that takes place in early January. Most of the films are in French with English subtitles. There is also a special selection of African films, of
which the organizers are especially
proud.

Gelede Festival

Taking place during the dry season
between March and May, Gelede is a festival which honors mothers in the community and to pay respect to their female elders. One of the more vibrant festivals in Benin, choreographed dances, singing, music, and drumming are loved by all. The men don large masks and walk around to amuse the women. The city of Cové is especially
known for its public displays during the period.

Waba Festival

The Waba festival is a recent initiative in order to facilitate and promote collaborative work between the visual artists in Benin. Held from June 5 to 9 in the galleries in Porto Novo and Cotonou, the event showcases works from around the country. The hope is to popularize art and start a mor passionate dialogue between all sections of society about the role that art plays. Exhibitions are open to the public and are well worth a visit.

International Festival of the
Dahomean Cultures

One of the last festivals of the year, the Dahomean Cultures runs for 10 days in December and is tasked with highlighting and celebrating the cultural diversity of Benin. Taking place in Abomey, the event showcases traditional songs, dances, folklore, and stories of the ancient Dahomey Kingdom and the many groups around the country.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Luxembourg Holidays and Festivals

Luxembourg's culture is heavily
influenced by the country's strong
Catholic beliefs with traditional, religious celebrations still a major part of the Luxembourg holiday calendar. Music and film festivals are also common throughout the year, and Discovery Zone and the Summer in the City are popular with both locals and tourists.

St Blasius

Similar to Christmas caroling, on
February 2 young children go door to door singing the song of St Blasius, usually carrying a liichtebengelcher (a wooden rod tipped with a small light).
Although the custom began as the poor begging for food, kids are greeted with candy or money.

Buerg Sunday

Held on the Sunday after Shrove
Tuesday, burning the Buerg is another traditional Luxembourgish custom which has been maintained over the years. The Buerg is a huge bonfire, comprising hay, logs, and brushwood topped with a crucifix.
Not unlike Guy
Fawks in the UK, it tends to be a
community event, complete with tasty servings of mulled wine and barbecued meats.

Octave

The most revered religious event on the calendar, Octave is an age-old
pilgrimage to Luxembourg Cathedral, dating back to 1666. Over the final two weeks of April, people from all over Luxembourg and regions of Belgium and
Germany flock to the capital to honor a wooden statue of the country's patron saint, St Maria. As the fortnight celebration comes to a close, a procession is held through the streets with the statue.

Wine Festivals

Local village wine festivals are a great way to get a feel for the real, rural Luxembourg. Usually taking place in the spring, the festivities are centered around music, food, and of course, wine. The whole community comes together for this light-hearted social gathering, tasting the fruits of labor of
the local wine makers and gearing up for the summer months.

Discovery Zone Film Festival

The recently launched Discovery Zone Film Festival is an exciting celebration of unique and original flicks and documentaries. In its first year in 2011, more than 4,500 visitors attended the event which showcased the region's best new films. Located across the capital's movie theaters and a exhibition space in Ratskeller, the week-
long festival held in March is expected to keep attracting more people and garner more prestige.

National Holiday

Although the country's history as an independent state is relatively short, Luxembourg National Holiday
celebrates the rich past of this charming nation. The holiday was officially created in the 19th century on the Dutch king's birthday; however, upon independence, the event was moved to June 23 by Grand Duchess Charlotte to
take advantage of the good weather. The festival traditionally begins with a torch-lit parade past the royal palace in Luxembourg City followed by an impressive fireworks display. The city then transforms into a huge street party with food stalls, bands, and many other
forms of jovial entertainment.

Summer in the City

The Summer in the City festival has
been running for more 15 years and
encompasses a wide-ranging collection of events and concerts. Starting in June and running until September, the festivities are free and include open-air art exhibitions, music festivals, and street performances. Each year around 1.5 million visitors experience the exhilarating and diverse events from the Blues'n Jazz Rallye to
Art Exposition.

Schueberfouer

This enthralling amusement fair which started as a traditional cattle and flea market is held at the height of summer on August 23. Taking place in Luxembourg City's Limpertsberg district, the festival is now full of roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and rides to suit all ages. Authentic stalls still remain, selling an array of goods from sweet nougat to household appliances.
The closing night also symbolizes the end of summer and is celebrated with an extravagant fireworks display.

Winterlights

Marking the start of the holiday season, Luxembourg City is lit up with a series of colorful and bright decorations covering trees, buildings, and plazas throughout the romantic capital. Switched on at the end of November, the lights bring the city to life with Christmas markets selling traditional
handicrafts, sumptuous winter foods like pancakes and soups, and Christmas decorations in squares around the city. This is a brilliant time to visit Luxembourg and immerse yourself in the fun and festivities.
*culled from www.iexplore.com

Monday, 3 October 2016

El Salvador Holidays and Festivals

Most El Salvador Holidays and Festivals are religious in nature and take place in the summer, which is during wet season, though it rarely rains all the time. Easter is held in high esteem and main cities make a big deal out of honoring their patron saint. San Salvador has the biggest events, including the August Festival and Independence Day.

Holy Week

This important El Salvador Tradition is a religious festival known as Semana Santa in the Spanish-speaking world and features a carnival-like atmosphere
across Latin America. Best experienced in San Salvador with street parades and performance art, the week-long event is usually held in late March through Easter Sunday.

Palm Festival

The Panchimalco Flower and Palm
Festival in May is a good time to take in local culture. Admire beautiful floral arrangements and garlands displayed throughout the towns, villages and beach resorts nationwide. Accompanying the event is music and traditional dress.

July Festival

The best time to be in Santa Ana—
though perhaps not if you want peace and quiet—is Fiesta Julias which runs through the month of July. There are street parades, masses and cultural
events galore in this most colonial of Salvadoran cities. There are also
fairground rides and clowns for the kids.

August Festival

Of all El Salvador Holidays, Fiestas
Agostinas, in early August is one of the most popular ones. Held in the capital of San Salvador, a marching band wakes the city up at 4:00 a.m., after which parades, sports, food, and art exhibitions take place.

Balls of Fire Festival

This fun, fiery event in late August is held in Nejapa—just north of San
Salvador—and sees fire-throwers with elaborately painted faces on the streets and a general appearance of anarchy.

Independence Day

September 15 marks El Salvador's
independence from Spain in 1821 with flag-waving, parades and fireworks on the beaches, in the cities and mountain towns. The biggest national day celebrations take place in San Salvador.

San Miguel Carnival

November in San Miguel is party time, with beautiful dancing girls and parades to honor the San Miguel patron saint. Bands from the region play reggae, samba and funky, local merengue on the streets.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Azerbaijan Holidays and Festivals

There are several Azerbaijan holidays and events throughout the year. The busiest month is May, largely because of Baku's many food festivals and jazz concerts. A majority of the locals are Muslims so Ramadan (also called Ramazan) is one of the most important and highly anticipated celebrations in
the country. There are also plenty of
national days honoring important
historical events during the struggle for independence.

Gurban Bayram

Known as the 'Day of Sacrifice' or
'Qurban,' Gurban Bayram celebrates the end of the Haji pilgrimage and Abraham's sacrifice for God. A camel or goat is sacrificed to remember Abraham, who slaughtered a ram instead of his own son.

Ramazan Bayram

Ramazan Bayram (Ramadan) is
internationally known as 'Eid Ul Fitr,' which sees an entire month of fasting, ending on the day of the full moon. Sweets and gifts are exchanged between Azerbaijan family members and friends. The two-day celebration is lively and interesting with people flocking to the mosques to pray. They greet each other with 'Eid-Mubarak,'
which means 'May you enjoy a blessed festival.'

Novruz Bayram

The New Year of the Zoroastrian,
Novruz Bayram is considered a public holiday in Azerbaijan. Traditionally, a novruz table is adorned with candles, colored eggs, dry fruits, and sweets. Foods that start with the letter 's' (such as sumakh, sir, sabzi, sib, serkeh, and
sonbol) are served. The center of the table is never without a bowl of goldfish because it is believed that when the New Year comes, the goldfish will face north.

Victory's Day

Held every May 9, Victory's Day is
celebrated to honor the Soviet
Republic's triumph over Germany in
WWII. It is also to show respect for the veterans who died in battle.

International Women's Day

Held annually on March 8th, a global celebration honors women throughout the world, of which Azerbaijan takes part. There are presentations and films about women's issues, empowerment
workshops, etc.

Republic Day

A public holiday on May 28, Republic Day remembers the formation of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan in
1918.

International Baku Jazz
Festival

Azerbaijanis love jazz, and every year, Bazu plays host to various concerts put together by musicians and bands from different countries. Jazz artists fro Georgia, Israel, USA, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Russia, and Canada come to perform.

Day of National Salvation of
Azerbaijani People

June 15 is a state holiday celebrating Heydar Aliyev's return as the country's leader. Known for leading his people to significant social and economic changes, he ultimately improved the quality of life in Azerbaijan and brought
stability to the nation.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

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