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Best Winter Festivals Around the World

Renuka Savant Aug 28, 2020
Come December, and the Northern Hemisphere just freezes into a time-warped zone. So, here is bringing in some warmth to offset this chill with information about some of the most talked-about winter festivals and the events around the world.
Winter is nature's way of saying, "Up yours".
―Robert Byrne
You either love the winter, or hate it thoroughly. There simply can't be an in-between. The chill, the snow, the dim sunlight, along with nights that stretch into infinity―it could either fill you up with joy or dread.
But there are a few cities in the world that simply refuse to be bogged down by winter. In fact, they revel in the chill, and invite you to do the same. So, here's a list of the best winter events from around the world.

Best Winter Events

Carnival of Venice | February 16 to March 5, 2019

The historical Carnevale di Venezia traces its roots way back to the 11th century. In its modern avatar, it attracts millions of revelers and is regarded as one among the most photographed events in the world.
People dress in elaborate costumes, don their beautiful Venetian masks, and roam about on the streets of Venice, which are already decked up, reflecting the celebratory mood. The carnival lasts a little over two weeks, and culminates on Lent, forty days prior to Easter.
Watch out for...
This year, the famed Venetian masks have been inspired from European fairy tales, Arabian stories, along with the votive symbols of African and Mesoamerican cultures.

Québec Winter Carnival | February 8 to February 17, 2019

Touted as 'the biggest winter festival in the world', the Carnaval de Québec certainly is one-of-a-kind. It includes all the winter staples like dogsled races, masquerade balls, outdoor feasts, dance parties in an ice palace, parades, dramatic snow sculptures, and the omnipresent mascot, Bonhomme. The festivities go on for two weeks running up to Mardi Gras.
Watch out for...
The festival's snowcross competition will be held on February 10, 2019. The event will see competitors participate in an exciting snowmobile race on a 2,000 feet-long track, filled with sharp bends and high drops.

Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival | January 5 to February 28, 2019

This winter fest can certainly be counted among the most awaited events of the year. The beauty and scale of the ice sculptures is such that it just takes your breath away.
The technique is a blend of both, modern (laser-cut ice) and traditional (lanterns set in ice), and the result is something the world turns up to see. Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival begins on January 5th every year, and goes on for over a month.
Watch out for...
Although the festival officially begins on January 5th, you are welcome to visit as early as early December if you wish to view the sculptures being created by the artists. Most of the sculptures are complete by Christmas each year.

Sapporo Snow Festival | January 31 to February 11, 2019

The Sapporo Snow Festival sees million of visitors land on its shores to bask in all things wintery; be it ice skating, snow rafting, or simply admiring the massive ice sculptures on display.
Also on the agenda are some entertaining musical events, and sampling the delicious local cuisine and produce. The event is considered to be one of Japan's most famous festivals, and is scheduled for a week in February each year.
Watch out for...
The International Snow Statue Contest is a part of the festival each year. This contest sees over 10 international teams compete to win the title. The sculptures at the Susukino Site tend to have crab, cuttlefish, and even salmon frozen inside the ice, which is quite interesting to look at.

Mardi Gras, New Orleans | February 27 to March 5, 2019

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a riot of colors, an all-American celebration of Fat Tuesday celebrated with Creole-style cooking, loud and noisy parties, float parades, and thousands marching the streets.
Watch out for...
A lot of out-of-control revelers head to the French Quarter during the after hours, and possibly indulge into a lot of nefarious, non-Mardi Gras activities. So, if this is not you scene, avoid visiting the French Quarters after the parades.

Ottawa Winterlude | February 1 to February 18, 2019

Canada's capital hosts a stellar winter festival every year, lasting 3 weeks to mid-February. The dreary landscape and the bone-chilling temperatures make way for beautiful ice sculptures, entertaining concerts, ice skating playgrounds, and ice lounges.
Watch out for...
The Winterlude's uniqueness lies in the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world's largest naturally frozen skating rink. So, bring your skates and glide over the Rideau Canal Skateway.

Rio Carnival | March 2 to March 9, 2019

The Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro is perhaps the world's largest open air party, with an estimated 2 million people dancing, singing and partying on Rio's streets. It is a pre-Lent celebration, infused with Rio's several samba schools who put up some never-to-forget performances. The carnival begins on the last Friday before Lent, and ends on Ash Wednesday.
Watch out for...
The Champions' Parade will take place on March 9th, the weekend following Ash Wednesday. The Parade will see the 6 best samba schools of the year perform in front of a jam-packed audience.

Tromsø International Film Festival | January 14 to 20, 2019

How about a turn from the usual singing, dancing, and merriment? The Tromsø International Film Festival is an annual affair that sees the who's who of the Norwegian film industry present their best to international audiences. There is a spectacular outdoor theater, and the twilight skies of the Nordic winter provide the perfect setting for cinema.
Watch out for...
You get to interact with the industry insiders, watch movies in the incredible Norwegian outdoors, and attend award ceremonies as well.

Top of the Mountain Concert, Ischgl | April 30, 2019

As the top name in après-ski parties in the Austrian Alps, Ischgl has a reputation that is hard to beat. A Top of the Mountain concert is scheduled at the end of the skiing season, along with one on Easter, which see a lot of music industry bigwigs perform. These include Lenny Kravitz and Johannes Oerding.
Watch out for...
While the Easter concert (April 21, 2019) is the highlight of the festival, the party in Ischgl is on throughout winter. Scheduled events include skiing competitions, ice sculptures, parades, and parties.
As you can see, winters are not the time to hibernate. Winters are the best time to go out there and have the most rocking time of your life!