'Tis the season for festivity, and the world offers a smorgasbord of ways to celebrate. From world-class sporting events to mesmerising cultural experiences, here are a list of events to inspire and amuse you as we bid farewell to 2016 and welcome in a bright New Year.
1st - 24th DEC: Chriskindlesmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany
The grandfather of Christmas Markets is held in the cobbled square of Nuremberg’s old town. Munch on giant gingerbread and juicy sausages while browsing exquisite ornaments, and look out for the Christkind – a blonde beauty selected from hundreds of entrants.
1st - 4th DEC: Australian PGA Championship, Gold Coast, QLD
Dating back to 1905, this tournament is a big hitter on the Australasian PGA Tour. High profile players tee off amongst the gorgeous surrounds of the Gold Coast, with live music, great food and cold drinks enhancing the spectator experience.
Relax on a blanket under summer skies and let the Orchestra’s beautiful music melt your heart. Renditions of famous movie scores in addition to classical offerings make for a great family night out topped off with a dazzling fireworks display.
10th - 17th DEC: Mevlana Whirling Dervishes, Konya, Turkey
Disciples of ancient philosopher Rumi honour their deity by spinning in a dance known as sema. Dressed in voluminous white robes, the dervishes (Rumi disciples) dance a two hour show that is mesmerising in its symbolism and grace.
The Sydney to Hobart has become an icon of Australian summer sport, and is widely considered one of the most challenging yacht races in the world. Huge crowds gather at Sydney Harbour to send the crews off in style.
26th DEC - 28th JAN: Dubai Shopping Festival, UAE
It’s an extravaganza of retail indulgence where you can pick up a bargain, try your luck in one of many luxury raffles, and be entertained by hundreds of events across 70 malls and 6,000 shops.
28th DEC - 3rd JAN: Taste of Tasmania, Hobart
Foodies will delight in this waterfront festival, which offers up the state’s best produce and gourmet delicacies with the accompaniment of live entertainment and cultural activities. Each evening ends with a family-friendly movie at the open air cinema.
30th DEC - 1st JAN: Hogmanay, Edinburgh, Scotland
Scotland’s traditional New Year celebrations have been transformed into this lively festival, which boasts everything from celebrity concerts to traditional dancing en masse. At midnight, all festival participants join hands for the world’s biggest performance of Auld Lang Syne.
5th JAN - 5th FEB: Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, China
The largest ice and snow festival in the world is a marvel of frosty creation and quintessential winter activities, all set to a yearly theme. The giant snow sculptures are breathtaking in their intricacy and enhanced with festive lighting.
14th - 22nd JAN: Santos Tour Down Under, Adelaide, SA
The first stop on the international cycling calendar is a nine-day event where cycling professionals race through the streets of Adelaide and South Australia. A range of complementary events include concerts, dining experiences and family rides.
16th - 29th JAN: Australian Open Tennis, Melbourne, VIC
World-class facilities, heart-stopping athleticism and passionate audiences make the Australian Open about more than just tennis. There are plenty of dining and drinking options combined with live music to add to the ebullient atmosphere.
19th - 29th JAN: Sundance Film Festival Park City, USA
It’s all about encouraging independent film at this Utah event, which welcomes worldwide submissions of short and feature length flicks. Movie buffs can purchase an all-access screening pass, but single show tickets are great value for the experience.
27th JAN - 12th FEB: Quebec Winter Carnival, Canada
A wintry, Quebecoise version of Carnival, where revelers gather in the week before Lent to eat, drink and be merry. As well as snow sculptures and winter sports, there are traditional activities such as canoe and dog sled races.
28th JAN: Chinese New Year, Hong Kong
CNY in Hong Kong is a riot of red decorations and fabulous parades, with an overarching sense of tradition that is joyous to behold. Sample the auspicious specialty foods or squeeze into a crowded temple to pray for good fortune.
31st JAN: Up Helly Aa Fire Festival, Lerwick Scotland
Enjoy a Viking parade through the streets of Lerwich in Shetland, performed by a fantastically costumed members-only group. The crowning torch parade culminates in the burning of a Viking galley, and parties continue well into the night.
3rd - 5th FEB: Chiang Mai Flower Festival, Thailand
Chiang Mai blooms with a fabulous profusion of flowers during this festival. The locals flock to watch the parade of exquisitely attired Hill Tribe girls and Thai in traditional dress, which concludes with the crowning of the Flower Festival Queen.
10th - 12th FEB: Festivale 2017, Launceston
A unique three-day celebration of Tasmanian culture, filled with plenty of local food, wine, beer, arts and live entertainment. Held in Launceston’s historic City Park, this charming annual event started out as a street party but grew into a festival when thousands of visitors spread the word of Tasmania’s world-class offerings. Plan your Festivale experience >
Don a mask, dust up on your quadrille, and join the world’s best known Baroque fancy dress party. Days filled with costumed balls, glittering masks and magnificent traditional performances will transport you straight back to the Renaissance.
12th - 19th FEB: New York Fashion Week, USA
High-profile designers gather to display future fashions to eager press and discerning buyers. Tickets to the actual shows are almost impossible to come by, but spin off events make New York an exciting place to be and be seen.
13th FEB: South West Craft Beer Festival, Busselton, WA
This charming festival is a show case of craft beers from local breweries of all sizes. Swig a tasty brew or two, fill up at the food trucks, and enjoy live music ranging from DJs to acoustic acts.
24th FEB: Rio Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
You can’t help but be swept up in the energy of the seemingly endless parade of colourful costumes and spirited dancing. Celebrating in the street is a must, preferably with a song on your lips and a Caipirinha in your hand.
25th - 26th FEB: Eltham Jazz, Food & Wine Festival, VIC
Enjoy an exciting lineup of jazz, blues and rock artists, whose soulful performances are complemented by the sumptuous food and award-winning local wines on offer. There are plenty of chances to boogey to the beats at this family-friendly festival.
28th FEB: Mardi Gras, New Orleans, USA
Mardi Gras parades are made up of exclusive ‘krewes’ of masked revelers who frolic in gaudy costumes, much to the delight of the exuberant spectators, who compete for the glossy beads and tokens that are thrown from the floats.