Event-o-Rama: 10 Must-Dos in December

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in December:

  • Ring in 2014 with thousands of your closest friends for three days at Edinburgh‘s Hogmanay (December 30-January 1). Scotland’s biggest New Year’s party features music, dancing, fireworks, and general merriment–topped off with an icy group plunge in the River Forth. This festival is definitely bucket-list worthy.
  • Soak up the international art scene at Art Basel in Miami Beach (December 5-8), an annual show that highlights more than 250 acclaimed galleries–and stand-out works created by rising stars–from the world over. Panel discussions, ambitious installations, film screenings, and live performances round out the always edgy program.
  • Thaw out your winter chill by heading to the second annual Cozumel Scuba Fest (December 12-15), where divers from all over the world salute the Mexican island’s unique marine life and honor leaders in the field of ocean conservation. There are plenty of activities for landlubbers as well, including a gourmet food festival, stimulating lectures, and a gala dinner.
  • Start being nice, or else. It’s almost time for Krampusfest (December 5-21) in L.A., a sprawling celebration dedicated to the beast-like creature from Alpine folklore that plays bad cop to the munificent St. Nicholas during the Yule season. Highlights include performances by a troupe of Krampuses, a costumed run, and a ball–all culminating with a grand finale, the Krampus Rumpus, on the night of the winter solstice.
  • Toast the spirits of the season with a pint of craft beer at the 18th annual Holiday Ale Festival (December 4-8) in Portland, Oregon. From Belgians to Barleywines to Stouts and Sours, more than 50 incredible brews will be available to sample–including a few you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Pay homage to the “nomadic soul.” Travel to Cirque du Soleil’s birthplace, Montreal, to take in a performance of Varekai (December 20-30), a word that means “wherever” in the Romany language. Let yourself disappear into the elaborate enchanted forest set as acrobatic virtuosos spin the tale of what became of the Greek god Icarus after he collided with the sun.
  • Usher in the new year on a positive note at Hagoita-Ichi (December 17-19) in Tokyo‘s Asakusa district. The traditional festival, which takes place at Sensōji, the city’s oldest temple, features scores of open-air stalls peddling hagoita, decorative wooden paddles thought to bring good luck to their owners.
  • Witness an English town transform into a winter wonderland at the annual Festival of Angels (December 14-15) in York. Complete with impressive ice sculptures, craft stalls, and street entertainment, this festive jubilee is guaranteed to deliver a magical experience at an even more magical price: Free.
  • Looking for the perfect holiday gift? Get into the spirit with a shopping trip to Auckland’s 12 days of Christmas markets (December 2-12). Shoppers will escape into a winter wonderland patterned after the famous Christmas markets in Europe, complete with all the classic winter fare that goes along with them (think mulled wine and German sausages).
  • Get a taste for different cultures at the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland, a hilly region in northeast India known for the unique customs of its many tribes. In addition to admiring handicrafts and taking in musical and dance performances, festival-goers can sample Bhoot Jholakia, “the hottest chili in the world.”

What would you add to the list? Let us know what we’re missing by leaving a comment.

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