Delightful winters are knocking at the door. Fog and mist are ready to take over the atmosphere. The temperature will soon dip. And you are prepared with your hot chocolate and fluffy woolens. But it doesn’t mean that outdoor fun will stop. The season brings a carnival to celebrate throughout the world. The grand Christmas celebrations followed by New Year festivities are known to all. Apart from that, there are several other exciting winter festivals, which are celebrated with a great heart and enthusiasm in various countries.
Travelers around the world can enhance their travel experience by indulging in famous winter festivals and know about the culture. Overcoming the joy of Christmas and the more common customs of New Year parties, look at these top 7 winter festivals of the world that infuse warmth of cheer to the chill of winter!
Let’s walk to a winter wonderland and enjoy festivals of its culture and clans. Have a look!
Frozen Dead Guy Days
Winter Season is a lot more fun and exciting when it comes to a unique festival like this one. At the end of each winter, the town west of Boulder organizes winter festivals that are popular and are slightly goofy too. The festival features three days of events including van smashes, snowshoe racing, polar plunges, and coffin races. Yes, you read the last one correctly!
Frozen Dead Guy Days continue to be a world-renowned exhibition. This home-grown festivity pays tribute to Bredo Morstoel (aka Grandpa), who is frozen in a state of suspended animation and housed in a Tuff Shed on dry ice high above Nederland. The festival offers a unique feeling, which undoubtedly makes it a wild winter festival around the world.
- When: In March
- Where: Nederland, Colorado
Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival
Iceland is especially known for its white winters. But when the days are biting cold and nights are at their darkest, Aurora Borealis (also known as polar lights) lights up the sky. Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival celebrates both the winter world and the glowing sunlight after a long period of darkness. The annual festival is called Vetrarhatio in Icelandic and during this night-time festival, Reykjavik comes alive with art, music, sports, and culture.
Explore the museums, step in thermal pools, enjoy concerts and do it all while walking in the glow of the Northern Lights. Celebrating one of the world’s most interesting winter festivals, Reykjavik comes alive with beautiful light installations. Reykjavik is home to several fantastic hotels you can stay in according to your budget.
- When: February
- Where: Reykjavik, Iceland
Sapporo Snow Festival
The Snow Festival in Sapporo, Japan is a sculpture festival organized in February and is nothing like an average hometown sculpture competition. Instead, it is a grand celebration of all things that make winters in Japan special and exciting. Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido, one of the most popular destinations in Japan. Odori Park, which sprawls in the center of Sapporo city, you can see many distinct sizes of snow and ice artworks.
The main event is the city’s sculpture contest. It is the biggest winter festival and attracts more than 2 million visitors every year. It is an unmissable winter festival around the world. You also get to see other attractions like giant ice slides and extensive snow mazes. Savor Japan’s comfort foods served right from street stalls to keep things nice and toasty, all while moving across the street at night.
- When: February
- Where: Sapporo, Japan
Winter Carnival, Manali
The people of Himachal Pradesh greet New Year with great enthusiasm. Manali Winter Carnival is the best example of it. The fest is undoubtedly one of the most unique and brings interesting social experiences. It is one of the great opportunities to be a part of this lively winter festival in India. During the festival, you will find everyone in a celebratory mood. It opens the door to admire the beauty of the snow and enjoy the celebrations.
Winter sports, winter queen beauty pageant, the voice of carnival, folk dances, street plays, fashion shows, baby shows, and magic shows are some of the major attractions of this festival. You can try delicious local cuisines or buy souvenirs during the Carnival.
- When: January
- Where: Himachal Pradesh, India
Shetland Viking Festival
Up Helly Aa is the name of the Shetland Viking Festival that takes place on the last Tuesday in January. It features Scandinavian-descended Scots who have turned an old Yule tradition into a modern excuse to light things on fire. This is Europe’s largest winter festival, which is mainly a parade, where the locals lead a fiery procession through the town to throw torches into a massive longship. On the evening of Up Helly Aa almost 1,000 warriors or ‘guizers’, some in full Viking dress, parade in groups, known as ‘squads’. They also wear helmets and carry shields and swords. Each guizer carries a fencing post, covered with sacking material soaked in paraffin.
The troop is preceded and followed by raucous parties all over the town to make the area’s Viking ancestors proud. This festival is winter revelers of Lerwick that keep the winter chill at bay with their fire festival of Up Helly Aa.
- When: January
- Where: Lerwick, Scotland
The Venice Carnival
The beautiful city of Venice gets more beautiful in winter. The reason is its residents celebrate a festival that takes them back to the 12th century. As the Venetian version of Mardi gras, the city comes alive with music and hauntingly beautiful Venetian masks. It is one of the most interesting and popular winter festivals in the world, which is celebrated by the entire country with great enthusiasm.
The Venice Carnival began in 1162 to celebrate the Venice Republic’s victory over its enemy- the Patriarch of Aquileia. The people of Venice gathered in Saint Mark’s Square (San Marco) to dance and celebrate their victory. Venetians’ use of masks to conceal their identities was also banned at the time.
- When: January – February
- Where: Venice, Italy
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
The Harbin Ice Festival is one of the best winter festivals around the world. The festival is celebrated in China. In this festival, the country’s renowned ice sculptors create replicas of popular buildings with snow. More than 120,000 cubic meters of ice and 111,000 cubic meters of snow are used to create this winter wonderland. This festival is also one of the amazing snow festivals in the world.
Apart from that, snow slides, sledding, skating, and above two thousand snowmen are also made at this festival. During the festival, all the snow made buildings and other artworks are lit up with beautiful lights. The major attraction of this festival is the opening ceremony, which is done with fireworks, music, and great enthusiasm.
- When: January
- Where: Harbin, China
Winter is not a season, it’s a celebration, the most frigid period of the year. Take note of these interesting winter festivals and be a part of the festivities. Experience the joy of exploring new cultures and beliefs, while enjoying the low temperature. Indulge in a respite to the most wonderful destinations in the world and witness these lively festivals to make your trip memorable.