ALL POSTS IN [Festivals and Celebrations]

Courtesy of WHOA Travel

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, we’re highlighting fearless female travelers around the globe who are celebrating the transforming power of travel and what women can accomplish together.

From climbing (and dancing) to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro with women from around the globe to featuring the leading ladies in travel at the Women’s Travel Fest to supporting local women finding work in India, here are the ways women are closing the gender gap and encouraging sustainable travel, ultimately opening the world for other women all over the world.

Courtesy of WHOA Travel

High-Altitude Dance Party on Top of Mount Kilimanjaro

Whoa, these women don’t just talk about moving mountains — they climb them together! WHOA Travel (Women High on Adventure) is leading its second annual Mount Kilimanjaro International Women’s Day climb. About 30 women from 10 different countries, including the US, Sweden, Estonia and Kenya, will summit the roof of Africa together at sunrise on March 8.  WHOA founders Allison Fleece and Danielle Thornton met while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro together in 2013. Knowing firsthand that no one climbs the mountain alone, the travel-loving duo believe in the power of showing the world what women can accomplish together. They also believe there’s always time for a little dancing and keep morale up on the 7-day trek with high-altitude dance parties.

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Photo Courtesy of Robin Bennefield

The biggest parties of the year in New Orleans and Rio are Mardi Gras and Carnival. But in Puerto Rico, it’s the San Sebastian Street Festival, or Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian, when thousands of Puerto Ricans and tourists pack the streets of Old San Juan the third week of January for 4 days of parades and over-the-top revelry.

There are no revealing costumes or skin-bearing for beads during this family-friendly festival that kicked off Thursday and lasts through Sunday. It features Puerto Rico’s hottest musicians and DJs on stages in 4 of the city’s largest squares.
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Photography by Claudio Cruz/ LatinContent/ Getty Images

The “Day of the Dead,” or Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, is a national holiday celebrated in Mexico on Nov. 1 and 2. Families and friends gather together to remember and pray for those who have died. Dia de los Muertos is famous for its ornately decorated skeleton costumes.

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ClauWau

Photography by Swiss-Image

Samnaun, Switzerland, has one of the quirkiest holiday traditions in the world. On Nov. 29, hundreds of Santa Claus impersonators will form teams and compete to win the title of Santa Claus world champions.

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Mickela dances with women celebrating at the Asrlar Sadosi Festival in Navoi, Uzbekistan.

Whose dream isn’t to dance around the world? Mickela Mallozzi, host and creator of the travel TV series Bare Feet, ”experiences the world one dance at time,” and boy, are we jealous. From reconnecting with her family’s roots while folk dancing in Italy to sweating it out with locals dancing salsa in Puerto Rico, Mickela discovers how different cultures express themselves without words.

A classically trained dancer, Mickela has performed on various other TV shows, including Sesame Street, the Today show and The Dr. Oz show, and she is the co-director of the Women’s Travel Fest, an annual conference for inspiring and connecting women through travel.

We caught up with Mickela — between her Riverdancing in Ireland and getting intimate with Argentines over tango — to chat about the intersection of travel, dance and culture.

Find out how Mickela got hooked on dancing around the world, how dance enthusiasts (read: amateur dancers) can join her as she moves around the globe, and what country she thinks has the best dancers. (Hint: It’s not the US.)

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Photography by Oktoberfest Zinzinnati

With the fall finally here, it’s a good bet that you and your friends will be headed out to arguably the most traditional festival of the season — Oktoberfest. And while I think it’s safe to say most of us won’t be making the trip to Munich for the official celebration (Sept. 20-Oct. 5), there are plenty of options stateside for a real taste of Germany. Whether it’s in a small town, major city, German beer hall or vintage barn, Oktoberfest is always great fun. But we’re not talking about the generic beer garden and polka band here. We’re talking about German-American communities getting down the same way their ancestors and countrymen have been doing across the pond for centuries. I mean, you wouldn’t go to a Mexican restaurant for St. Patrick’s Day, would you? Of course not!

So let’s break out the bratwurst, slap down some sauerkraut and, of course, tap the kegs on some of America’s most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations.

Cincinnati (Sept. 19-21)

Perhaps the largest and most popular Oktoberfest in the US is smack dab in the middle of the country —not surprisingly, in a city rich with German culture. Cincinnati (or Zinzinnati this time of year) plays host to thousands of Oktoberfest supporters, young and old, each fall with the city’s signature festival. With six blocks closed down for the party, there is plenty of room for you and your friends to don some lederhosen, down a few liters of beer and stuff your faces with German cuisine. Founded in 1976, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati may be best known for earning its place in the Guinness Book of Records by setting the mark for the world’s largest Chicken Dance at the time, with 48,000 people in 1994. The traditional dance is still going strong 20 years later, along with numerous other German games and dances throughout the three-day festival. READ MORE

Joe & Misses Doe Honey Beer

Joe & Misses Doe Honey Beer (Photography by Nancy Borowick)

Raise your steins! The annual 16-day Oktoberfest celebration, which pays homage to German beer, kicks off Sept. 20 in Munich. And if you’re not among the lucky few making a trip to Germany this year, Oktoberfest events in US cities including New York City, Miami and Cambridge, MA, will host their own celebrations, featuring their fair share of German brews, live Bavarian folk music, traditional cuisine and more. Then, mix it up — literally — with a visit to a local restaurant or bar for one of the following signature beer cocktails —  tasty concoctions made with both beer and liquor — to keep the party going. READ MORE

Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Photography by Lakeview Photography

Get a dose of Southern comfort at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival this fall. The weeklong event runs from Sept. 16-21 and is absolutely worth a trip to Bardstown, KY. This famous bourbon celebration started in 1992 to bring together popular distilleries in the region. Last year, about 52,000 visitors attended the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and this year’s turnout is expected to be booming.

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images News)

Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, is the hot travel destination in August for 2 reasons — the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In addition to visiting Edinburgh Castle, strolling along Rose Street and exploring the National Museums of Scotland, tourists heading to “Old Smokey” this month should add these 2 fun festivals to their travel itinerary.

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Paris Plage (Photo Courtesy of Reuters / Charles Platiau)

Celebrated on July 14, French National Day or Bastille Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution and the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. Celebrations are held all over France, but thousands line up along the Champs-Elysees in Paris to watch the oldest and largest military parade in Europe. These annual festivities aren’t limited to the celebration on the ground, but locals and tourists can look high above the crowds to see the Patrouille de France aerobatics team in action.

Bastille Day isn’t the only thing tourists should add to their agenda when visiting Paris in the summer. Here’s a quick list of 5 fun summertime experiences you don’t want to miss when vacationing in Paris.
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