celebrations (16)

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People go to Majorca in the summer in search of beautiful beaches and great weather, but if you are also looking for fiestas and local culture, summer is the perfect time to visit as there are all kinds of fiestas and events taking place on this beautiful and lively island!  Many towns and villages have their own particular fiestas and open-air dances, not to mention music festivals where national groups and reputed international artists come to play.

In Majorca, summer kicks off on the eve of Sa

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During the time I lived in and have since visited Catalonia, this for me is one of the region's most charming traditions. 9008948276?profile=originalApril 23, 2015 might seem like just another Thursday, but in one special corner of the world, Catalonia, the Catholic feast day of St. George is an especially big deal. In Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona, and other parts of the northeastern Iberian peninsula, St. George’s Day (Diada de Sant Jordi) is celebrated as a kind of Valentine’s Day with an intellectual twist. The longti
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If you fly into San Jose international airport in Costa Rica , you may notice it's named for one Juan Santamaría.

On April 11, Costa Rica celebrated its national holiday Juan Santamaria Day , to celebrates the drummer boy in its onetime national army who heroically gave his life in a decisive battle in 1856 that ensured Costa Rica remained a free country.

Juan Santamaria’s courage and the country’s national pride and freedom are feted with parades and events all over the country on this day, espe

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Dublin on St. Patrick's Day - and Beyond!

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If, as the old saw goes, everyone’s a little Irish on Lá Fhéile Pádraig, as they say in Gaelic (even yours truly just found some Emerald Isle heritage thanks to DNA testing!), what better occasion to visit the the gateway to the Emerald Isle which bestowed this happy holiday upon us? With a lovely setting on Dublin Bay, split by the River Liffey, the city offers fine historic and modern architecture; fascinating sites and culture; and a vibrant urban life that will tickle your fancy no matter

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At New Year‘s, Brazil is party land. The New Year‘s Eve celebration on the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro is renowned, but it‘s not only there that they celebrate this very special date to the full. A party  is held in Salvador de Bahia with such a fantastic atmosphere that it is second to none – on a par with the Copacabana!

In fact, it is the preferred destination of many tourists and particularly Brazilians who do not hesitate to head for this wonderful place because they know that they

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Gun salutes across the United Kingdom set off four days of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth the Second’s accession to the throne. The festivities promise to be the most spectacular in the country for hundreds of years. The excitement over preparations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has been building up for months and has now reached fever pitch. Shops have run out of bunting but red, white and blue, the colours of the British flag, the Union Jack, can be seen everywh

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Fantasy Fest 2014 was my 12th adventure in Key West, Florida for what has been described as a 10-day Halloween celebration of epic proportions and one that can be described as “Mardi Gras on Steroids”—without the New Orleans side-effects.


New Fantasy Fest video here; youtu.be/qD-m21ILIPE

On this trip I met up with many of long-time Fantasy Fest friends at many of my long-time favorite Key West venues like Capt. Tony’s Saloon—which also served as the Krewe de Krazy Life’s Group meeting place ev

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2014-Envision-Festival-Costa-RicaReturning for its fourth year to Costa Rica’s southern Pacific Coast at Uvita, the Envision Festival will transform the rainforest into a global village of art, music, yoga and spirituality.

Envision 2014 will be held Feb. 20–23 at Rancho La Merced in Uvita, Costa Rica, home of the renowned Ballena Marine National Park, an important migratory site for the world’s Pacific Humpback Whales. Thousands of festival-goers come every year to Costa Rica for the popular multi-day event.

The Envision Festiva

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Celebrating the Day of the Dead in Mexico City

Travelers to Mexico at the start of November are be fortunate enough to witness – and participate in, if you choose – one of Mexico’s most celebrated holidays: the Day of the Dead. photo
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The Day of the Dead can be traced back to pre-Colombian indigenous cultures; the Aztecs spent an entire month each year performing formal rituals in honour of their ancestors. The modern holiday falls on November 1st and 2nd, with preparations beginning days before. People go to cemeteries to be with
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These are some of the most joyous (and exhausting) weeks of the year in various parts of the world, from Venice to Port of Spain and New Orleans to Rio de Janeiro.  But being as fond as I am of the Dominican Republic , I’ve got a soft spot for the pre-Lenten Carnaval celebrations down here – especially because unlike in many other places, here the party starts today and keeps poppin’ every Sunday in February in various towns and cities such as Santiago, La Vega (considered the country's best), a

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Gung Hei Fat Choi! This weekend marks the start of Chinese New Year celebrations. The New Year in China, (also called “Lunar New Year”) does not occur on the same calendar day each year – at least not in the traditional Western sense. The first day of the New Year coincides with the second new moon after the Winter Solstice, which means it can begin anywhere from late January to mid-February, depending on the year. photo
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Each lunar year is tied to the Chinese zodiac, which rotates t
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With summer in full swing, this year's series of Dragon Boat Festivals is underway today throughout coastal China; called Duan Wu Jie in Mandarin, they're normally held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Historically, this festival marked the beginning of summer and was celebrated to honor the gods in hopes of a good season. While Hong Kong is said to be the best place to go to take part in the festivities, each major coastal city on the mainland holds its own colorful and exciting races

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Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, Louisiana

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The Lake Charles, Louisiana, Mardi Gras Museum is housed in a building that was once a school. Today the building is the Central School Arts & Humanities Center.  The Mardi Gras Museum is just one of the organizations housed in the building. The museum claims to have the largest collection of Mardi Gras costumes on display – they are fantastic.  Besides the amazing costumes they have animated mannequins that tell the story of Mardi Gras and talking Mardi Gras chickens that are trying to escape b

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There is still time to hop a flight to Hong Kong where celebrating Chinese New Year is special with fireworks and a great parade.  The Chinese New Year celebration starts on Jan. 23 goes to February 5.  According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar it will be the Year of the Dragon 4710.  The flight to Hong Kong from New York State is long – very long so book a stay at the SkyCity Marriott located on Lantau Island next to Hong Kong International Airport.  The luxury hotel is the perfect place to recu

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Dust off “dem golden slippers” and strut off to Philadelphia for a splendiferous New Year celebration. Philly’s Winter Mummerland is a multi-day family event that culminates in the Mummer’s Parade, America’s oldest folk parade, on New Year’s Day, where the weather may be cold, but the hospitality is red-hot. The costumes and fun evoke Mardi Gras, the floats compare with those in the Tournament of Roses Parade, but best of all it is fun for the whole family.

 

The Mummers Parade grew out of Europea

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10518854666?profile=RESIZE_930xMichelle Mariani



There’s a stereotype in Colombia that the country’s fourth-largest city, a bustling but somewhat nondescript bit of business on the Caribbean coast about an hour east of Cartagena, is also their country’s “happiest.” Well, like any broad generalization, this one’s greatly exaggerated. But it doesn’t come from nowhere.

Costeños – the folks who live on and near the coast, not just Barranquilla but also Cartagena and other cities and towns like Santa Marta –  are indeed a bit of

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