December Festivals

Festivals in December

Narrow the December Festivals selection below using the intiutive search box to the right. It works a treat. Bon voyage!

Ajyal Youth Film Festival

Ajyal Youth Film Festival

Dynamic Doha on the coast of the Persian Gulf turns its attention to film for six days each December, during the Ajyal Youth Film Festival. From children's cinema and animation through feature films and world class documentaries, Ajyal — meaning 'generations' in Arabic — offers up a programme aimed squarely at youth but destined to inspire film buffs of all ages.

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Middle East Qatar Doha Film Festivals Childrens Festivals December
Art Basel (Miami Beach)

Art Basel (Miami Beach)

Art Basel stages the world's premier Modern and contemporary art fairs annually in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong. A driving force in supporting the role that galleries play in nurturing the careers of modern and contemporary artists, Art Basel features the newest developments across the visual arts spectrum. The Americas edition sets up shop in the Miami Beach Convention Center for four days in early December. Featuring paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, films and editioned works from established and emerging talent, the fair attracts 70,000 art lovers through its doors. Ambitious large‐scale artworks, films and performances become part of the city's outdoor landscape at nearby Collins and SoundScape Parks.

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North America United States Florida Miami, FL Art Festivals December
Berlin Christmas Markets

Berlin Christmas Markets

Berlin lights up in the lead up to Christmas as sixty Christmas markets set up shop to usher in the festive season. From early November Potsdamer Platz kicks off the season with Europe's largest mobile toboggan run (complete with views of the Brandenburg Gate), an outdoor skating rink, curling and a number of traditional huts offering local seasonal treats. Head on over to the Dahlem Museum campus for the market of the continents where more than fifty dealers offer handicrafts from different regions of the world — from hand-woven African fabrics and jewellery from India to felt goods from Kazakhstan and colourful Mexican tin toys. For more than forty years, the small streets and squares in Spandauer Altstadt (Berlin's largest continuous pedestrian zone) have played host to more than 250 market stalls selling everything from handicrafts to the local Glühwein — a great way to keep warm on a cold December eve.

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Europe Germany Berlin Christmas Markets Christmas December
Budapest Christmas Fair

Budapest Christmas Fair

Vörösmarty Square will again be festive season central in Budapest with a packed Christmas programme, guaranteed to delight the whole family. More than 100 carefully selected vendors will offer up a wide selection of arts, crafts and hand-made gifts including traditional leather and bone items, ceramics, blue-dyed textiles, felt goods and hand-made jewellery from cottage-style wooden huts. If you're feeling a little hungry, try some local Hungarian festive cuisine like stuffed cabbage, fried fish or fish soap. When you're done, wash it all down with a little mulled wine or a recent festive favourite, krampampuli. Two stages play host to a range of music styles from folk and jazz to world music and there's even puppet shows for the kids.

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Europe Hungary Budapest Christmas Markets Christmas December
Burning of the Clocks

Burning of the Clocks

Each year on the 21st December — the shortest day of the year — residents of Brighton and Hove make their way through the city carrying hand made-paper and willow lanterns. The lantern parade ends at Brighton Beach where the lanterns are placed onto a blazing bonfire as a token of the year's end. Then the party begins. A massive fire sculpture is lit, live music plays and fireworks light up the night sky.

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Europe England Brighton Community Festivals Street Parades December
Christmas Beer Festival

Christmas Beer Festival

It's Christmas and according to local sources, 'tis the season to be jolly. If you happen to find yourself in Essen in Belgium you can add to the merriment of the season at the annual Christmas Beer Festival. For two days each December, the Christmas Beer Festival serves up a seasonal selection of 170 Belgian Christmas and winter beers (and a little local gluhkriek to boot) to more than 3,000 annual visitors. Coming from out of town? Grab the shuttle bus from the Essen Railway Station straight to the festival venue.

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Europe Belgium Essen Christmas Beer Festivals December
Dubai International Film Festival

Dubai International Film Festival

Since its inception in 2004, the Dubai International Film Festival has served as an influential platform for Arab filmmakers and talent at an international level, by spearheading the cinema movement in the region. Each year the festival presents new and exciting cinema from the Arab world and beyond introducing local audiences to fresh new talent and original, intelligent and distinctive filmmaking. Today the Dubai International Film Festival features a packed eight day programme of more than 100 features, shorts and documentaries and includes many world premieres.

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Middle East United Arab Emirates Dubai Film Festivals Short Film Festivals December
Dusseldorf Christmas Markets

Dusseldorf Christmas Markets

Downtown Dusseldorf turns on the festive cheer each year from mid-November, during the annual Dusseldorf Christmas Markets. Make your way to Marktplatz, Dusseldorf's Christmas market quarter at the heart of her old town. Here you'll find lovingly created wooden huts modelled in the colour and style on the city's renaissance City Hall, from which artisans work iron, blow glass and turn wood in traditions dating back centuries. Pick out some hand-made traditional gifts for friends and family, marvel at the life-sized manger or take a spin on the antique carousel. From here it's only a short stroll to Heinrich-Heine-Platz for the Engelchenmarkt (Little Angel Market) where Market huts are adorned with floral motifs and angel figures in wrought iron. Here you can sample traditional or contemporary festive fare or warm up with a splash of fragrant mulled wine. Finish up with a skate at Gustaf-Grundgens-Platz where a winter workout on the 450m2 ice-skating rink will get you in the mood to sample some delicious Reibekuchen (potato pancakes).

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Europe Germany Dusseldorf Christmas Markets Christmas December
Fira de Santa Llucia

Fira de Santa Llucia

Get into the Christmas spirit, Catalonian style with Barcelona's annual, Fira de Santa Llucia. With a traceable history dating back to 1786, today's Fira still maintains strong ties with the past featuring parades, performances by choirs and traditional dance. Take in the numerous nativity scenes or learn to create your own at one of the nativity scene courses or workshops. Shop for Christmas trees, knick knacks and decorations. There's plenty of arts and crafts, clothes, jewellery, decorative objects and traditional musical instruments on offer at the numerous stalls that may just make the perfect Christmas gift.

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Europe Spain Barcelona Christmas Markets Christmas December
Frankfurt Christmas Markets

Frankfurt Christmas Markets

Join more than three million annual visitors as they take in the history and splendour of Frankfurt's age old Christmas market — believed to have been held as far back as 1393. Visitors can stock up on local gifts and decorations from the 200 stalls, warm up with a cup of mulled wine and enjoy the life sized nativity scene or the lovingly maintained carousel.

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Europe Germany Frankfurt Christmas Christmas Markets December
Great Christmas Pudding Race

Great Christmas Pudding Race

Take a chilly London December day, 120 contestants donned in fancy dress, give them a pudding and send them through an obstacle course and what have you got? The Great Christmas Pudding Race in London, silly. This fun family event takes place in London's iconic Covent Garden Market early each December and is organised by CRAC on behalf of Cancer Research UK.

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Europe England London Christmas Charity Events December
Hamburg Christmas Markets

Hamburg Christmas Markets

Hanseatic Hamburg turns on the Christmas charm each and every December with a wide range of Christmas markets and a packed festive programme. The most charming of Hamburg's Christmas markets takes place on the market square directly in front of their iconic Neo-Renaissance Town Hall (Rathaus). Take a deep breathe and savour the seasonal scent of roasted almonds, gingerbread and fir or grab a warming cup of gluhwein. Wander the stalls where you can watch artisans working their age-old crafts. Children will want to head straight for Spielzeuggasse (Toy Street) where merchants from around the world offer up a colourful range of gifts. If you time your visit well you might even catch a visit from Santa Claus hovering above.

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Europe Germany Hamburg Christmas Markets Christmas December
Helsinki Christmas Markets

Helsinki Christmas Markets

By December, the north's dark canvas of winter has descended upon Helsinki. The distant sun pokes it head above the horizon at about 10am, hangs around for a spell, before dipping again by 4pm. When there's a sprinkling of snow on the ground and you're wrapped up in your warm winter gear, it's a great time to wander the stalls of Helsinki's Christmas Markets. Large outdoor candles burn and there's the smell of cinnamon and wood smoke in the air. Meander through the Christmas stalls in Heslinki's Senate Square and you'll come across a wide variety of beautiful handicrafts, delicious baked goods and other uniquely Finnish Christmas gifts and delicacies. Those more energetic souls can head to the Railway Square and pop on the ice skates for a few laps. Hungry? Chow down on some hot salmon soup served with crusty bread and finish it off with some freshly baked pulla. But to really warm the insides, try glögi, Finland's delicious take on warm winter wine, at its best when served with almonds and raisins. Ho ho ho indeed.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Christmas Markets Christmas December
Hogmanay

Hogmanay

The Scots have always been a highly hospitable bunch proud of their tradition. And for the brave, what better way to see it in action than during Hogmanay — Europe's finest celebration of the new year. Enjoy a wee dram in a Royal Mile pub then stomp up a hill with thousands of others, torches ablaze. Follow it up the next night along with hundreds of thousands of other revellers on the streets of Edinburgh to some huge headline acts and the splendor of Edinburgh Castle as a backdrop. Many events over the three days of Hogmanay are ticketed, so get in early to avoid disappointment.

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Europe Scotland Edinburgh New Year Events Traditional Festivals December
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Despite whether you've been bad or good, from late November through early January, Santa and his pint-sized helpers serve up lashings of Christmas fun at London's very own version of the North Pole. During Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland there's a little Christmas something for the whole family. For the youngsters there's thrilling rides, the Magical Ice Kingdom and trips to Santa Land where you may just get the opportunity to meet the jolly bearded fellow in the flesh. Grown-ups can browse the Christmas markets, enjoy the festive fare or take to the sky on the Giant Observation Wheel for a spectacular panoramic view over Winter Wonderland and beyond. Winter Wonderland is free to enter.

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Europe England London Christmas Christmas Markets December
New York City SantaCon

New York City SantaCon

A slew of Santas takes to the streets of the Big Apple for a day each December for SantaCon. The reason? Well there is none, that is according to the official literature: SantaCon is a charitable, non-commercial, non-political, nonsensical, Santa Claus convention that happens once a year for absolutely no reason. Having said that, for those Santas on the ground, drinking the five boroughs dry seems quite high on the agenda. While the date is known in advance, the actual route is not divulged until the night before SantaCon (via Twitter and on the website). To participate you'll need to ensure your Christmas Worker Union dues are in (you've made your donation) and you're completely decked out, Yuletide style. No simple Santa hat will do, we're talking head to toe and the full trimmings, fat-boy!

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North America United States New York New York City, NY Bizarre Festivals Christmas December
Prague Christmas Markets

Prague Christmas Markets

Magnificent Prague has been spellbinding tourists for centuries. A visit when the snow is falling and the Christmas markets are in full swing adds yet another layer to the city's abundant charm. Head for Prague's Old Town Square or Wenceslas Square where the handsomely decorated wooden huts offer up all manner of traditional handicrafts, from glassware, jewellery, embroidered lace and wooden toys to scented candles and puppets and dolls beautifully decked out in traditional costume. Fill your belly with spit-roasted pig or the local sausage and wash it down with some svařené víno (mulled wine) or a glass of the world famous, Czech Pilsner. If you arrive after five, you'll see the impressive Christmas tree (shipped in from the Krkonose Mountains) lit up in all it's glory. With the Gothic spires of Prague as a backdrop, it really is a spectacular site.

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Europe Czech Republic Prague Christmas Markets Christmas December
Saint Lucia's Day

Saint Lucia's Day

Annually on the 13th December, residents of Helsinki rug up and and take to the streets around the capital's Senate Square for a procession that venerates Saint Lucia. The tradition of Saint Lucia's Day is based on the legend of the virgin-martyr who was killed in Syracuse, Sicily during the persecutions of the Christians in 304 AD. Saint Lucia's Day is celebrated predominantly in Italy and amongst the Scandinavian nations, where it is tied in with raising money for charity. The Helsinki procession begins when a white-clad figure with a crown of candles, representing Lucia emerges from the Helsinki Cathedral. She then leads a procession including singers and Santa Claus through the streets of the capital.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Religious Events Street Parades December
Stuttgart Christmas Markets

Stuttgart Christmas Markets

From late November right up until Christmas Eve, more than 250 traditional wooden stalls, decorated with fir branches and baubles, take over Stuttgart's inner city (Marktplatz, Schillerplatz and Schlossplatz, as well as Hirschstraße and Kirchstraße) forming one of Europe's largest and most visited Christmas Markets. Take in the the scent of burnt almonds and roast chestnuts as you browse the stalls offering all manner of gifts, from Christmas tree decorations through toys and woodcrafts to lambskin slippers, hats, candles and puppets. When hunger strikes sample a grilled Swabian sausage or two and wash them down with a little local mulled wine. Children will enjoy a visit to Santa's Grotto on Schlossplatz. The miniature railway drawn by a real steam locomotive which passes through the snowscape is a hit with children of all ages.

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Europe Germany Stuttgart Christmas Markets Christmas December
Sunburn Festival

Sunburn Festival

Devotee of dance? Make sure you get a decent dose of sunburn this winter. Since 2007, hordes of EDM lovers have made the pilgrimage to Goa for a three day blowout that takes place between Christmas and New Year. Today, Sunburn is one of Asia's biggest music festivals attracting in the region of 150,000 revellers for a unique sub-continental blend of music, entertainment, sports, food, shopping and lifestyle. With a selection of the world's hottest EDM acts and DJs, playing to huge numbers in an idyllic setting, Sunburn has already attracted high acclaim from across the festival industry. With no clouds on the Goa horizon, Sunburn's future looks bright indeed.

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Asia India Goa Electronic Dance Music Festivals December
Tallinn Christmas Markets

Tallinn Christmas Markets

Tallinn's UNESCO listed, medieval old town centre feels almost custom made for Christmas. With her narrow cobbled lanes and imposing spires, her inviting cafes and bars often set haphazardly into 500 year old stone walls, it's a wonderful city to rug up, take to the streets and just soak in the Christmas atmosphere. You can start out in the Town Hall Square and take in Estonia's most famous Christmas tree before exploring the Christmas huts that dot the cobbles selling a manner of handicrafts, local fare and gifts. There's a petting zoo for the little ones including real reindeers and if you look carefully you might even spot Santa Claus with a little helper or two in tow. Move on from the Market Square and Tallin's old town is an art-and-craft lovers paradise, where dozens of local shops selling all manner of crafty nic-nacs make for a fantastic Christmas shopping experience.

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Europe Estonia Tallinn Christmas Markets Christmas December
Tblisi International Film Festival

Tblisi International Film Festival

Originally part of Tblisi's International Festival of the Arts, in 2002 the Tbilisi International Film Festival first emerged as a stand-alone festival. Today it features in the region of 50 local Georgian and international features, documentaries and short films. Industry insiders can also participate in a selection of workshops, master classes and retrospectives.

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Europe Georgia Tbilisi Film Festivals Short Film Festivals Documentary Film Festivals December
The Falls Music and Arts Festival (Lorne)

The Falls Music and Arts Festival (Lorne)

Kicking the West Coast since 1993, Lorne's Falls Festival is a bit of a Victorian New Year's Eve institution. Set high amongst the ancient mountains of the Otway Rainforest for five amazing days, The Falls Fest attracts the biggest names in local and international rock, indie and dance. There's interactive arts, sustainable initiatives and yummy food. So, grab a gaggle of your mates, pack your tent and your board and set up camp on-site (it's free for ticket holders but remember, there's no electricity or cooking facilities of any kind allowed, due to fire bans). If you fancy a surf or need to stock up on supplies, there's a free shuttle-bus doing the round trip to Lorne. Download the app for more info and prepare to party like it's New Year's Eve.

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Pacific Australia Lorne Rock Festivals Indie Rock Festivals December
The Taste of Tasmania

The Taste of Tasmania

Following the culmination of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, when the nation's gaze is squarely on the Apple Isle, the Tasmania Taste Festival takes advantage of Hobart's picturesque location and extended hours of sunlight to showcase the best of the state's produce, arts, crafts, and entertainment. Half a million visitors flock to the festival to eat great local food, browse the stalls and soak up the summer sun. There's a ticketed new year's eve event with a fireworks extravaganza over the Harbour to ring in the new year.

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Pacific Australia Hobart Food Festivals New Year Events December
Vienna Christmas Markets

Vienna Christmas Markets

During the festive season, when her squares are bathed in a symphony of light, it's a magical time to be visiting historical Vienna. Head for the spectacular Rathausplatz where more than 150 traditional wooden stalls offer up hand-made arts, crafts and gifts. Not too far away, between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum is the Christmas village on Maria-Theresien-Platz where you'll find a further 70 stands featuring traditional handicrafts and original Christmas gift ideas. The cultural and Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace offers a touch of Christmas romance with an imperial backdrop and offers traditional handicrafts, hand-made Christmas decorations, Christmas concerts and an extensive children's program, including a Christmas workshop.

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Europe Austria Vienna Christmas Markets Christmas December
Whirling Dervishes Festival

Whirling Dervishes Festival

The 13th century Sufi poet, Celaleddin Rumi (Mevlâna) is widely considered one of the world's great mystic philosophers. His religious writings and poetry are highly respected the world over by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. One of Mevlâna's core beliefs was that it was possible to attain union with God through dance. Following his death on 17 December 1273 (known today as his wedding night with Allah), Mevlâna's followers formed the Mevlevi brotherhood — known more widely as the whirling dervishes — with the trance-like whirling dance at the heart of their worship ceremonies. Each December, the ancient city of Konya, in the Central Anatolia Region of Turkey draws scores of visitors from around the world to witness the beguiling Whirling Dervishes in action during the annual, Mevlâna Festival.

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Europe Turkey Konya Traditional Festivals Religious Events December
Winter Wonders

Winter Wonders

Brussels bursts at the seams with Christmas cheer each year at their annual Winter Wonders festival. Along its two kilometre course, visitors are greeted by a series of wonderfully lit shops, chalets, attractions, activities and outdoor eating and drinking areas. You can take to the ice-skating rink or the ferris wheel or perhaps Andréa's magnificent merry go-rounds are more your style. Check the website before attending as a full calendar of Christmas events forms part of the Winter Wonders programme.

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Europe Belgium Brussels Christmas Markets Christmas December
Woodford Folk Festival

Woodford Folk Festival

Growing tired of the same old staid summer festival experience? Get yourself way down under my friend — all the way to the top of the bottom of the world — and experience the wonder of the Woodford Folk Festival. Since the late eighties Woodford has been serving up an eclectic program of music ranging from Australian folk and indie rock to African fusion and electronica, in the most picturesque of locales. But Woodford is so much more than just a music festival. Revellers can experience all manner of performance art, dance and street theatre. There's writers' panels, film screenings, comedy sessions, acoustic jams, social dialogue and debate. Add to that lot, an entire children's festival, an environmental programme featuring talks, debates and films, art and craft workshops, circus performances and classes, late night cabaret and parades and you got yourself four full-on days of unrivalled fun in the sun down under.

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Pacific Australia Woodford Folk and Folk Music Festivals Indie Rock Festivals December

December Festivals on the Map