Events Worth Planning A Trip Around In 2013

Have you ever landed in a place to find out you arrived just after the town’s can’t-miss event of the year? Well, hopefully that won’t happen again this year. Gadling bloggers racked their brains to make sure our readers don’t overlook the best parties to be had throughout the world in 2013. Below are more than 60 music festivals, cultural events, pilgrimages and celebrations you should consider adding to your travel calendar this year – trust us, we’ve been there.

Above image: Throughout Asia, Lunar New Year is celebrated with lantern festivals, the most spectacular of which is possibly Pingxi. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

Kumbh Mela, a 55-day festival in India, is expected to draw more than 100 million people in 2013. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

January
January 7–27: Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah)
January 10–February 26: Kumbh Mela (Allahabad, India)
January 21: Presidential Inauguration (Washington, DC)
January 26–February 12: Carnival of Venice (Venice, Italy)
January 26–February 13: Battle of the Oranges (Ivrea, Italy)
During Busójárás in Hungary, visitors can expect folk music, masquerading, parades and dancing. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
February
February 3: Super Bowl XLVII (New Orleans, Louisiana)
February 5–11: Sapporo Snow Festival (Sapporo, Japan)
February 7–12: Busójárás (Mohács, Hungary)
February 10: Chinese New Year/Tet (Worldwide)
February 9–12: Rio Carnival (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
February 12: Mardi Gras (Worldwide)
February 14: Pingxi Lantern Festival (Taipei, Taiwan)
February 24: Lunar New Year (Worldwide)


Several cities in India and Nepal increase tourist volume during Holi, when people enjoy spring’s vibrant colors. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
March
March 1-14: Omizutori (Nara, Japan)
March 8–17: South by Southwest (Austin, Texas)
March 20–April 14: Cherry Blossom Festival (Washington, DC)
March 27: Holi (Worldwide, especially India & Nepal)


Many Dutch people wear orange – the national color – and sell their secondhand items in a “free market” during Koninginnendag, a national holiday in the Netherlands. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
April
April 12–14 & April 19–21: Coachella (Indio, California)
April 11-14: Masters Golf Tournament (Augusta, Georgia)
April 13–15: Songkran Water Festival (Thailand)
April 17–28: TriBeCa Film Festival (New York, New York)
April 25–28: 5Point Film Festival (Carbondale, Colorado)
April 30: Koninginnendag or Queen’s Day (Netherlands)


Up to 50 men work together to carry their church’s patron saint around the main square in Cusco, Peru during Corpus Christi. [Photo credit: Blogger Libby Zay]
May
May 4: Kentucky Derby (Louisville, Kentucky)
May 15–16: Festival de Cannes (Cannes, France)
May 20: Corpus Christi (Worldwide)
May 23–26: Art Basel (Hong Kong)
May 24–27: Mountainfilm Film Festival (Telluride, Colorado)
May 25-28: Sasquatch Festival (Quincy, Washington)
May 26: Indianapolis 500 (Speedway, Indiana)

2013 marks the 100th anniversary for the Tour de France. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]

June
June 13–16: Bonnaroo (Manchester, Tennessee)
June 13–16: Art Basel (Basel, Switzerland)
June 14–16: Food & Wine Classic (Aspen, Colorado)
June 21: St. John’s Night (Poznan, Poland)
June 24: Inti Raymi (Cusco, Peru)
June 28–30: Comfest (Columbus, Ohio)
June 29–July 21: Tour de France (France)

The annual observance of Ramadan is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Visit Istanbul, Turkey, at this time and see a festival-like atmosphere when pious Muslims break their fasts with lively iftar feasts at night. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
July
July 6–14: San Fermin Festival (Pamplona, Spain)
July 9–August 2: Ramadan (Worldwide)
July 12–14: Pitchfork (Chicago, Illinois)
July 17: Gion Festival Parade (Kyoto, Japan)
July 18–21: International Comic Con (San Diego, California)
July 19–22: Artscape (Baltimore, Maryland)
July 24–28: Fete de Bayonne (Bayonne, France)

Festival-goers get their picture taken at a photo booth during Foo Fest, an arts and culture festival held annually in Providence, Rhode Island. [Photo credit: Flickr user AS220]
August
August 2–4: Lollapalooza (Chicago, Illinois)
August 10: Foo Fest (Providence, Rhode Island)
August 26–September 2: Burning Man (Black Rock Desert, Nevada)
August 31–September 2: Bumbershoot (Seattle, Washington)


More than six million people head to Munich, Germany, for beer-related festivities during the 16-day Oktoberfest. [Photo credit: Creative Commons]
September
September 5–15: Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)
September 13–15: Telluride Blues & Brews Festival (Telluride, Colorado)
September 21–October 6: Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany)

Around 750 hot air balloons are launched during the nine-day Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. [Photo credit: Flickr user Randy Pertiet]

October
October 4–6 & 11–13: Austin City Limits (Austin, Texas)
October 5–13: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
October 10–14: United States Sailboat Show (Annapolis, Maryland)


During Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), family and friends get together to remember loved ones they have lost. Although practiced throughout Mexico, many festivals take place in the United States, such as this festival at La Villita in San Antonio, Texas. [Photo credit: Blogger Libby Zay]
November
November 1–2: Dia de los Muertos (Worldwide, especially Mexico)
November 3: Diwali (Worldwide)
November 8–10: Fun Fun Fun Fest (Austin, Texas)
November 11: Cologne Carnival (Cologne, Germany)
November 28: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (New York, New York)
TBA: Punkin Chunkin (Long Neck, Delaware)

The colorful holiday of Junkanoo is the most elaborate festivals of the Bahamian islands. [Photo credit: Flickr user MissChatter]
December
December 2–3: Chichibu Yomatsuri (Chichibu City, Japan)
December 5–8: Art Basel (Miami, Florida)
December 26–January 1: Junkanoo (Bahamas)

So, what did we miss? Let us know what travel-worthy events you’re thinking about journeying to in the coming year in the comments below.

Beyond Machu Picchu: 6 Ways To Experience Peruvian Culture

Too many travelers land in Peru with only one thing on their mind: Machu Picchu. If you’ve come to the country with the sole purpose of crossing the Lost City of the Incas off your bucket list, then do what you must. But if you’re at all interested in Peru’s diverse and rich culture, don’t skip out on some other once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Base your trip around the exploits below and you’ll have real bragging rights when you return home.

Visit an Indigenous Community: La Tierra de los Yachaqs (The land of the Wise), a community-based tourism project, can connect visitors with people who knit Peru’s distinctive fabrics (pictured above), harvest food using traditional tools, create belts and wallets out of plants, or make cuisine based on ancient practices. Through the program, there’s also an opportunity to spend six hours walking a route between two Andean communities, the Amaru and Chumpe. Programs are offered both as daytime activities and as overnight homestays, and most communities are located just one hour from Cusco.

Eat Like a Local: From food-on-a-stick snagged at street stalls to culinary masterpieces presented on white plates, Peru’s culinary scene is full of flavor. Dining at local restaurants is not only affordable, but can open your eyes to varieties of quinoa, corn and potatoes that you never knew existed. If you’re daring, you might even find you like cultural delicacies such as alpaca steak or roasted guinea pig.

Explore Peru’s Markets: Peru’s artisanal and food markets are filled to the brim with great buys. At artisanal markets – including the enormous market in Cusco – you’ll find high quality handicrafts like scarves, pullovers, tapestries, sculptures, carvings, jewelry, musical instruments, purses and more. Buying these handicrafts not only supports the use of traditional skills, but it also helps families gain what is most likely a modest income. Produce and food markets such as Lima‘s crowded Mercado Central (Central Market), walking distance from the central Plaza Mayor and adjacent to Chinatown, offer a taste of what life is like for locals. Take in the sites and smells, chat with a vendor or crack open an exotic fruit such as the delicious cherimoya, which tastes like a mix between pear and pineapple.

Plan Your Trip Around a Holiday or Festival: If you’re looking to experience something truly novel, plan your trip to Peru around Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) or Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun). Both holidays mix pre-Columbian and colonial traditions, such as the carrying of saints and virgins on platforms at Corpus Christi, a tradition born out of the ancient ritual of bolstering mummies in a similar fashion at festivals. Inti Raymi, once the most important Inca celebration, involves a procession and ritual reenactments (plus colorful costumes, music, food and plenty of dancing). Although both of these are celebrated throughout the country, particularly in the Andean highlands, Cusco is known for having some of the best festivities.

Celebrate Peruvian Traditions: Beyond festivals, there are several other ways to become immersed in Peru’s cultural traditions. The family-owned Sumaq Hotel, located in Aguas Calientes (the stepping off point for Machu Picchu), offers an emblematic culinary tradition called pachamanca, meaning “earthen pot,” that dates back to the time of the Incas. Meat, potatoes, beans, yams and corn are marinated in special spices and then placed on hot stones and covered with earth for 2-3 hours. At the hotel, visitors can also take advantage of a local shaman, who can read your fortune from coca leaves or ask pachamama to make your deepest wishes come true in a mystical ceremony. The shaman, whose name is Wilco, is also available if visitors would like to become spiritually married (or have a spiritual vow renewal ceremony).

Take a History or Culture Tour: Making sense of large cities like Lima or deciphering the meaning behind Inca ruins is far from easy. To make sure you don’t miss anything, particularly if you don’t have a whole lot of time on the ground, consider hiring a guide. These experts can ensure you don’t stare at a pile of rocks with a blank look on your face, and instead understand the various meanings behind the structures. Guides tend to be flexible and open to any questions you might have, and in many cases are willing to cater tours based on your interests. From guided airport transfers to eight-day excursions, companies such as Gray Line and Viajes Pacifico employ locals and do all the planning for you, making it a less confusing and more educational experience.

[All photos by Libby Zay]

Video Of The Day: Men Nearly Drop Saint Statue On Crowd At Peruvian Festival


Bearing the weight of a saint on your shoulders can be a heavy burden. Just watch the men struggling to carry their church’s patron saint around the main square in Cusco, Peru, at the annual Corpus Christi festival earlier this month and you’ll get a feel for the lumbering task. The video comes from this year’s festival, customarily held 60 days after Easter Sunday. It takes up to 50 men to carry these statues around the main square (and make a few signs of the cross with it at alters scattered about), and they only get a few breathers in between.

The act of carrying a statue in this way is a mix of pre-Columbian and colonial traditions. Back in the time of the Inca Empire, richly embellished mummies of esteemed leaders and ancestors were carried around the square on similar platforms during holidays. When the Spanish came, effigies of saints and virgins were swapped in and adorned with flowers, lace, mirrors, beads and other accessories. The custom stuck, and today Corpus Christi remains one of the most important religious festivals in the country.

This year, I was lucky enough to be in Cusco’s main square during Corpus Christi. The square and surrounding streets were overflowing with revelers, who danced, played music, shot off fireworks and enjoyed plenty of delicious Peruvian street food. I was so happy to be enjoying the festival that I almost got caught under the weight of a saint myself. Watch my own video after the jump.

Baby jumping at Spain’s oddest Corpus Christi Festival

Each week, Gadling is taking a look at our favorite festivals around the world. From music festivals to cultural showcases to the just plain bizarre, we hope to inspire you to do some festival exploring of your own. Come back each Wednesday for our picks or find them all HERE.

Every year Catholic observers around the world celebrate the holiday of Corpus Christi. The festivities represent a Christian feast in honor of the Holy Eucharist. But in the Spanish city of Castrillo de Murcia, they like to do things a little differently. With colorful costumes, religious processions, mystery plays, mock terror and a uniquely Spanish ceremony that involves jumping over babies, also known as “El Colacho.”

Starting in late May or early June and lasting for five days, visitors will witness a series of rituals that are a mixture of traditional Spanish folklore and religion, each designed to cleanse evil from the little town. It works like this: a group of local men representing evil are denoted as the Brotherhood of Santisimo Sacramento de Minerva. These men are responsible for organizing the celebration. They are then split into two groups; the El Salto del Colacho (the devils), who wear brightly colored red and yellow costumes and will later jump over the babies, and the El Atabalero, who dress in black suits with large sombreros and carry large drums. Oddly enough the men who play these strange roles do so as they feel their lives have been cursed in one way or another. Taking part in the ceremonies is believed to eliminate the evil perceived to be plaguing their lives.

Wondering what happens next? Keep reading below to learn more about one of Spain’s craziest festivals.

On the chosen Wednesday, the festivities begin with the Brotherhood terrorizing the town’s people with whips and batons. Their evil pranks last till Sunday when the holy activities begin. Citizens decorate their houses with flowers and create small altars. Wine and water placed on the altars represents the blood of Christ and the baptism by water. The Eucharist symbols are meant to be consumed by the procession observers.

The procession begins, comprised of clergy and local children who are celebrating their first Holy Communion. The group starts at the church, winds around town and returns to the church. This activity is symbolic of holiness, capturing the perceived evil and laying it before God.

Finally, the festival’s most curious ritual, the baby jumping, is ready to begin. Infants from newborn to 12 months of age, dressed in their Sunday best, are brought to the street and laid in two rows on full-sized bed mattresses. As soon as the procession ends, the men chosen as “the devils” burst out of the church and run down the street toward the babies.

One by one, they jump the full length of the mattresses and over the unassuming children. The devils immediately run out of the town. This bizarre sight represents evil being cast out of the town and taking the sins of the infants with them. The babies are considered to be as cleansed as if they had been baptized. A fresh start for the newborns and another year cleansed from sin in the Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia.

** Images courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons Project **

Drive a rental car to Florida for $1

I agree with Mike Barish’s recent post. Road trips do rock. I love grabbing some friends, jumping in the car, and blasting great music as we cruise down the highway or along back roads. If you love a good road trip…..and you happen to live in Texas or on the east coast……and you want to drive one-way to Florida…..and you just happen to plan on going before November 15, well then Thrifty Car Rental has a deal for you.

The car rental company is offering the rock-bottom-rate of $1 per day for renters willing to pick up the car at Houston Hobby, Houston International, Corpus Christi, Boston, Burlington, or Providence airports and drive it to one of nine airports in Florida before November 15.

Odds are that not many people will be able to take advantage of this offer, except perhaps some of the snowbirds, like my grandmother, who head south every winter. But if the circumstances are right for you, it is an awesome deal.

There are some additional restrictions though (yes even more than those above!). Availability is limited and you must make the transfer within seven days. Drive fast, grandma!
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