Image via @ ReneS
1. National Finals Rodeo
Where: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, USA
When: First week of December
People might say that Las Vegas is a festival itself, as it’s a place where the lights never go out. However, if you opt for a December trip to Las Vegas, you’ ll have the chance to personally experience the 10-day National Finals Rodeo, a.k.a. Rodeo Superbowl. The festival involves, the top 15 rodeo cowboys who compete each other, claiming prizes up to $5.5 million!
Image via @ globeseeker
2. Quema del Diablo (Burning the Devil)
Where: Guatemala City and Antigua, Guatemala
When: December 7th
According to local tradition the Devil lurks in house corners, under every bed and in the garbage bins. Therefore, on 7th December of every year the locals clean their houses and streets, setting the garbage on fire at 6 o’clock in the evening. Usually, on top of the burning pile they also throw a figure of the Devil. Certainly an unusual addition to our list of December festivals.
Image via @ Box of Badgers
3. Mevlâna Festival
Where: Sports stadium, Konya, Turkey
When: 10-17 December
On December 17th the Mevlevi Order celebrates the unification of their Mevlâna (master) with God after him passing away. On this date the Order performs its characteristic whirling dance to express their worship to their master.
Image via @ elkodanelko
4. L’escalade festival
Where: Geneva, Switzerland
When: December 11th
If you need a good excuse to dive into chocolate before Christmas, then l’Escalade Festival in Geneva is the ideal place to be, as it’s the biggest chocolate festival in the city.
Image via @ manalahmadkhan
Where: Kalasha Valleys , Pakistan
When: 10-day festival during winter solstice
Around mid-December in each of the three valleys of Kalasha area (Rumbur, Bumboret and Birir) the locals celebrate completing the harvest of their produce with music and dancing. Men are baking bread in the shape of …a goat, and women dedicate their songs to a local deity, Balomain. During the festival many goats follow their way to the celebrating fellows’ tummy, and your involvement is most likely to be asked, that is, to buy a goat to be eaten.
Image via @ Morla79
6.Procession de San Lázaro
Where: Santuario de San Lázaro, El Rincón, Cuba
When: December 17th
El Rincón on the outskirts of Havana is famous for its pilgrimage joined by up to 50,000 believers descending en masse on the venerated shrine of Lazarus, a saint known for his care to lepers and the poor.
Image via @ SBintl
7. Dewgal (Crossing of the cattle)
Where: Diafarabé, Mali
When: late December-early January
Stock breeders of the Fula tribe arrive at Niger River to attend one of the greatest annual festivals in Western Africa. When the river water reaches a certain point, the city of Diafarabé is flooded with cattle and people. Crossing the river is followed by great celebrations as it’s a time when families come together again, after men’s long travelling in the Sahara.
Image via @ Don Leman
8. Hogmanay (New Year)
Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
When: 29th December–1st January
For the Scottish, New Year is the most important celebration during the 10-day Christmas period, as clearly demonstrated with the Hogmanay festival in Edinburgh, where people flock the streets holding lighted torches.
Image via @ H Sinica
9. Sahara Festival
Where: Douz, Tunisia
When: 23–27 December
Had enough of Christmas lights and snow, or just need a change of scenery? Then go to Douz in Tunisia and get a taste of the Sahara nomads celebrating their culture. You will see camel races, hunting hares with dogs and many more.
Image via @ Porto Bay Events
10. Reveillon (New Year)
Where: Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When: December 31st
New Year in Rio de Janeiro is a unique experience for everyone. It’s probably the biggest festival after the city’s famous carnival. Two million people flock to this popular beach to welcome the New Year with lots of dancing and singing. Take our advice and do not bring a towel with you, as no space would be available, for sure.