[Wanderlust Tips January 2020] After a peaceful and tranquil winter, everything really comes to life in spring. Spring is the time of budding leaves, rebirth, renewal and a vast array of festivals. If you took the chance to get your thrills on these exhilarating festivals, you might indulge in a little nostalgia.
THE DAZZLING LANTERN FESTIVAL | CHINA
The Lantern Festival is considered one of China’s most exhilarating celebrations, taking place on the 15th day of the first lunar month of every year. Since ancient times, lanterns have been an iconic symbol of peace, happiness and are used to ward off all evil as well as dispel the darkness and bad luck. Hence, the Lantern Festival is the most outstanding activity to welcome the New Year in China. The shimmering lanterns are designed and decorated beautifully in an amazing variety of colours.
Just picture the magical scene as the light glimmers from more than 1,000 floating lanterns. The festival is also known for an array of thrilling activities, for instance, lion dances, drama performances and the hanging of wish lanterns. It is most unique to launch the lanterns into the sky or onto the water. Cast your eyes up and down and marvel at the illuminated night sky and the magnificent river which looks splendid with full of colourful lanterns. Visitors here will have the opportunity to enjoy fun-filled and unforgettable moments.
>> The Lantern Festival this year will take place on the 8th February 2020 or the 15th day of the first lunar month.
>> If you are interested in attending the festival in China, you must plan and book tickets early because it is peak travel season.
MYSTERIOUS MASQUERADERS AT VENICE CARNIVAL | ITALY
Carnival is the most anticipated spring festival, held in February in Venice, Italy. Each year, this festival boasts a different story and theme, but its spiritual ties with the New Year have never changed. The mystifying masks are considered the most outstanding features during the festival. Most of them are traditionally made of leather or paperboard, but people can still produce them in more creative variations with plaster or gold leaf.
Most importantly, these elaborate masks must be painted by hand and decorated with feathers and gems. San Marco Square, theatres, streets and gardens are full of fantastic colours. An amazing variety of extraordinary performances by actors, circus performers, dancers or musicians will leave you feeling as if you are lost in the 17th century. For local residents, the festival is the perfect opportunity to escape from daily life and become a masquerader.
>> The Carnival this year will take place from 8th to 25th February 2020.
>> San Marco Square or St. Mark’s Square is the most crowded tourist venue. Visitors can buy tickets to enter the theatres and attend the spectacular Carnival.
>> Please prepare masks and costumes to attend the festival.
>> Arrive early to find yourself the best spot to watch the entire parade.
LOSE YOURSELF IN THE TULIP FESTIVAL | THE NETHERLANDS
When picturing the land of windmills, colourful tulips are a signature icon that immediately springs to mind. In the spring, people are extremely excited about the Tulip Festival. Known as the biggest event of the year, the festival begins in late March and ends in May every year at Keukenhof Park. During this time, despite the low temperature in the Netherlands, the tulips are in beautiful bloom.
Keukenhof is the world’s largest flower garden located a stone’s throw from the town of Lisse in the southwest of Amsterdam, about 70 million temperate flowers are planted. Mid-April is the best time to view the garden as the tulips are coming into bloom. Aside from being planted in groups, colours or along stretching canals, the glorious flowers are deftly and carefully trimmed to form a typical symbol of the Netherlands that visitors cannot take their eyes off.
>> The Tulip Festival usually takes place from 20th March to 18th May every year.
>> The Keukenhof flower garden is located in Lisse, a suburb of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
>> From Amsterdam, you can catch a bus to get to Lisse. Upon arrival, take a scenic walk through Keukenhof Park to get a beautiful view of the colourful tulips.
RIO CARNIVAL – THE MOST FAMOUS DANCE ON EARTH | BRAZIL
After a long winter, Brazil is always awakened by the festive atmosphere to welcome a glorious spring. Notably, the Rio Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is most famous with Samba being the most vibrant, attractive and colourful form of dancing. For locals, the Rio Carnival is a great opportunity to celebrate and honour the beauty of the body as well as the distinctive culture displayed through traditional dance.
In February every year, Rio de Janerio welcomes millions of visitors from all over the world to celebrate this unique carnival. During the carnival, there will be four parades, notably, the two biggest parades are organised by Samba schools in the city for the championship. Visitors will be in awe of the brilliant costumes, the majestic parades and the enchanting dances.
>> The Rio Carnival this year will take place from 21st to 29th February 2020. Rose Monday – the day of the grand parades will take place on 24th February 2020.
>> The Rio Carnival will be held in Sambadrome Square, located in the centre of Cidade, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
>> Most events within the Rio Carnival require visitors to buy tickets. Book in advance to have the opportunity to experience the most spectacular carnival in the world.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN SPRING FESTIVAL | SINGAPORE
Spring Festival in Singapore coincides with the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. There are three main events including the Lighthouse Festival, Singapore River Hongbao, Chingay Parades and many other activities. The most impressive highlight is the Chingay Parades with an amazing variety of decorated floats in various styles.
Visitors are intrigued by the eye-catching traditional costumes and signature dances performed by ethnic minorities. Notably, Lighthouse Festival held in Chinatown is known as the Lantern Festival for the Chinese living in Singapore. Thousands of shimmering lights illuminate the main avenue, bringing visitors a joyful and exciting New Year’s atmosphere.
>> Singapore River Hongbao takes place from 23rd January to 1st February 2020.
>> Chingay Parades take place from 31st January to 1st February 2020.
>> NS Square, the Marina Bay Floating Platform is truly a must-see destination on your itinerary.
SPECTACULAR CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL | JAPAN
If someone asks what the most attractive spring festival in the world is, many travellers will not hesitate to talk about Hanami Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan. In March every year, visitors from all over the world can admire the stunningly beautiful cherry blossoms. There is nothing more wonderful than basking in the warm spring weather and watching the pink petals floating in the wind.
When the cherry trees are in full bloom in Japan, offices and schools have an afternoon break for cherry blossom viewing. The parks chosen as the locations for the Hanami Festival are filled with beautiful cherry blossoms such as Ueno, Yoyogi or Inokashira Onshi. Visitors can view and stroll along with the cherry trees or spread out a canvas, sit under the trees and view the cherry blossoms whilst sipping a cup of Sake. The festival marks the beginning of a peaceful and romantic spring.
>> The best time for the most beautiful cherry blossoms usually lasts from late March to early April.
>> The best places for viewing the cherry blossoms are Matsumae Park in Hokkaido and Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in Tokyo.
>> There is an enormous number of visitors during the peak season, so find yourself a nice place for your best view.
Truc Ha | Wanderlust Tips