When you think of winter festivals, so often it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year and everything to do with snow, snow, and more snow. But, for sure, not everywhere around the world has these traditions and while we’re enjoying the frosty winter in the US and Europe, elsewhere it’s summer. If you want to embrace the world of winter festivals, check out this selection. You might find yourself jetting off somewhere exotic for a very different wintertime experience.
1. Up Helly-Aa, Lerwick, Scotland
This one is possibly one of the craziest winter festivals. The whole town of Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Isles, dresses up as Vikings in celebration of the islands’ history. The festival includes a ceremonial burning of a life size Viking long ship and is a good ‘ol knees up, with 11 hours of dancing, drinking, singing, and performing. As a visitor you won’t be able to join in the procession that is reserved for the locals, but you will be able to have a couple of drinks while you’re watching - that nip of Scotch will keep the chill away. The atmosphere is so lively and it’s such a great day out, you’ll be crazy to miss it on the 31st of January 2014.