Where to go in December

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From Christmas in New York to electronica in Goa, here are 10 global events to watch out for

If you’re planning to travel in December 2012, here’s a quick guide to 10 things you can do, see and experience around the world before the year ends.

What: Hot Air Balloon Festival
Where: Karnataka, India
When: December 2012
Why: Organised by Karnataka Tourism, the Hot Air Balloon Festival will take place in three different regions—Mysore, Hampi and Bidar—from December 2012 to January 2013. Around 30 hot air balloon enthusiasts from all over the world will be participating in this four-day event. That’s not all. You, too, can experience the thrill of flying in a hot air balloon during the festival and get a bird’s eye-view of lush-green state.

What: Réveillon
Where: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When: 31December 2012
Why: Rio de Janeiro, being a warm winter destination, hosts the popular New Year’s celebration Réveillon every year. The second largest festival after the Carnival, different stages are set up at the Copacabana Beach for artists and performers in exotic carnival costumes. Thousands of revellers congregate at the beach to party till the wee hours and at midnight a spectacular firework display takes place, bringing in the New Year in grand style.

What: Christmas and New Year’s Eve
Where: New York City, USA
When: December 2012
Why: New York City in December is the perfect place to celebrate a traditional Christmas and an exciting New Year’s Eve. With the streets covered in snow and a holiday spirit lingering in the air, you can do your holiday shopping at the several well-decorated and well-lit stores across the city. There are several concerts and shows that take place around this time. Go for the ice-skating at Rockefeller Centre, where on Christmas day you can witness the tree lighting—a classic NYC experience. New Year’s Eve at Time Square—where it is all about your loved ones, singing, dancing and the New Year’s countdown—is an experience you shouldn’t miss if you are in the city. The last minute of the year is lit up by the giant Waterford Crystal Ball that is lowered toward the crowd. The ball eventually disappears as the lights are turned off, but the celebrations continue into the New Year.

What: Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal
Where: Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong
When: 16December 2012
Why: The 25th Anniversary of Andy Warhol’s death—the foremost figure of America’s Pop Art movement in the 20th century—is being celebrated with the Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes EternaI exhibition, which will look at Warhol’s successful career between the 1950s and the 1980s. The exhibition will display over 370 items from the collection of the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, till March 2013. This includes paintings, drawings, photographs and screen prints by Warhol, and archival objects and photos documenting his creative and famous life. There will also be screenings of Warhol’s films and videos to provide a broad view of his life as an artist.

What: Sunburn Music Festival
Where: Goa, India
When: 27to 29December 2012
Why: One of the most successful electro-house music and dance festivals in Asia, Sunburn is thronged by tourists from all over the world who come to enjoy this three-day event held at the Candolim Beach in North Goa. With an A-grade DJ line up, the Sunburn Music festival is not one to be missed.

What: Chichibu Yomatsuri
Where: Chichibu City, Japan
When: 2and 3December 2012
Why: Chichibu Yomatsuri is the festival of the Chichibu Shrine, which has a history dating back to over 2000 years. The events begin on 2nd December, which is the eve of the original festival called Yoiyama. The next day, the most exciting scene of the festival unfolds when the Kasaboko and Yatai—floats weighing around 20 tons each and lit up with countless lanterns—climb up a steep slope with a mikoshi (a portable shrine). The sounds of the drums and flutes fill the air as the crowds chant, “Ho-ryai! Ho-ryai” as fireworks light up the clear winter evening sky.

What: Global Village
Where: Dubai, UAE
When: December 2012
Why: With 70 participating countries in 36 pavilions, including eight new ones, more than 50 fun rides and 26 restaurants offering food from around the world, this event at Global Village is a must-visit. One of the highlights at this ongoing event ending on 2nd December is the 3D mapping show being screened at the blue globe dome. Not only that, but throughout the month up until March there is a Chinese Circus, trapeze artists and a tightrope performer. Street shows feature Emirati performers, a lion dance, a drumming circle and a fire show, while the cultural shows include a Bollywood dance troupe, Polynesian dancers, a performance with Australian Aboriginals and African shows with artists from Ghana and West Africa. 

What: The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Where: Sydney, Australia
When: 26December 2012
Why: If you feel like enjoying summer in December with a little sport, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is one to go for. Over the past 67 years, this race has become a big part of Australia’s summer sport. No regular annual yachting event in the world attracts such huge media coverage than the start of this race at Sydney Harbour. It is an annual affair and perfect for sea and sun loving travellers.

What: Kerstbier Beer Fest
Where: Essen, Belgium
When: 15and 16December
Why: For those who missed the Oktoberfest, head to the Kerstbier (Christmas) Beer Fest organised by O.B.E.R (Objective Beer Tasters of the Essen Region). You can taste and judge the different brews, and if you return a glass at the counter you get a full refund of your paid amount, though the glasses make for great souvenirs. Here you can taste more than 150 Belgian Christmas and winter beers, including Gluhkriek—a beer best served warm.

What: Valentino: Master of Couture
Where: London, England
When: December 2012
Why: The exhibition being held at Somerset House goes on till March. It starts off with a private view of Valentino's world through photographs from his personal archive. This offers an intimate portrait of the life of the couturier. The exhibition then progresses into a couture fashion show—where roles are reversed with visitors walking the catwalk—featuring 130 Valentino haute couture designs. There is also a special viewing of a collection of films, which give you a behind-the-scenes look at Valentino’s life as a craftsman and artist.

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Kanika Chopra

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