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Fireworks explode above lantern-illuminated floats during the Chichibu Yomatsuri, or Chichibu Night Festival. (Photograph by The Asahi Shimbun, Getty Images)

Event-o-Rama: 5 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: 

  • Get into the holiday spirit at the  Carol Ships Parade of Lights Festival (December 5-23), where more than 50 boats decorated in twinkling lights will take to Vancouver‘s waterways. Take in the festive spectacle from the shore for free or buy a ticket to hop aboard one of the festooned ships and get up close and personal.
  • Witness a dazzling display of cultural heritage at the Chichibu Night Festival (December 2-3) in Chichibu City, a two-hour train ride from Tokyo. This annual celebration, associated with the local Shinto shrine, features some of Japan’s most impressive floats, elaborate fireworks, mouthwatering street foods, and amazake (sweet rice wine) to keep paradegoers warm.
  • ‘Tis the season to shop ’til you drop, and there’s no better venue than Strasbourg’s Christmas market (November 28-December 31). One of Europe’s largest and oldest holiday bazaars featuring more than 300 chalets (stalls) spread out in 11 areas around the city center, this Alsatian extravaganza is truly bucket-list worthy.
  • Celebrate Brazilian song and dance on National Samba Day (December 2) in Salvador de Bahia. Join locals in the historic center of northeast Brazil’s largest city to experience the rhythmic revelry first hand. You’ll have a hard time standing still.
  • Ring in 2015 honky-tonk style at Nashville’s annual Bash on Broadway (December 31). The free event features a star-studded musical lineup (headlined by Lady Antebellum), fireworks, and confetti cannons. Can’t be there in person to watch the oversize red music note drop 115 feet to usher in the new year? Have no fear: The Music City festivities will air on ABC.

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