It’s a throwback, but Kool & the Gang got the message right with their anthem rallying the world to come together for a celebration. They asked, what’s your pleasure? We’ve got some answers. These journey-worthy jamborees provide a chance to experience people and places amid galvanizing gatherings.
Bordeaux Wine Festival
Oenophile joie de vivre reverberates through Bordeaux, France, during the Bordeaux Wine Festival (June 14-18, 2018). Tasting pavilions sprawl for nearly a mile between the 18th century facades of the city and the Garonne riverfront, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vineyard excursions, workshops by the famed Ecole du Vin Bordeaux and a tall ships regatta enhance the event.
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Fourth of July
Put politics aside and enjoy the pure, patriotic pomp of Independence Day in Washington, D.C. Revelry reigns, from a parade down Constitution Avenue to a free concert that culminates with fireworks bursting over the U.S. Capitol dome while the National Symphony Orchestra plays. Plus, where else can you spy the original Declaration of Independence?
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Hoist a stein in Munich at the world’s oldest and largest Oktoberfest (Sept. 22-Oct. 7), where the beer is cold and the potato salad is warm. Savor spicy sausages and crusty pretzels, sway to the sounds of an Oom-pah band and eye a Bavarian costume parade complete with horse-drawn beer wagons from local breweries.
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Let your worries float away while making a wish for the future at the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand (Nov. 20). Witness the spectacle of countless paper lanterns glowing in the night sky and illuminating the hopeful faces of the crowd members who released them. The ritual honors Buddha and represents spiritual renewal.
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Forgo frigid temps and get a jump start on welcoming the new year in Sydney, the first major city in the world to watch the calendar flip. Aussies go all-out. Aerobatics, a glittering parade of boats and two tech-savvy fireworks shows set Sydney’s iconic waterfront, including the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, ablaze.
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Chinese New Year
To celebrate the Chinese or Lunar New Year (Feb. 5, 2019), Beijing beckons. Wander through vibrant temple fairs where folk art performances bring dragons and lions to life through dance. Dine on dumplings and appreciate doorways decorated in red couplets hailing prosperity. And, in this country that invented fireworks, be prepared for grassroots displays that blow your mind.
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Rio de Janeiro is synonymous with Carnival (March 1-6, 2019), a celebration you have to see to believe. From the epic samba schools, with their costumed dancers and elaborate floats parading through the purpose-built Sambadrome, to the exclusive balls in signature haunts like the Copacabana Palace, to roaming street parties around every corner, unbridled Brazilian-style merriment abounds.
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St. Patrick’s Day
Hop the pond to the Emerald Isle where Dublin does St. Patrick’s Day right, with an epic parade and quaint pubs pouring pints of Guinness, along with a multiday festival (March 15-18, 2019) honoring the country’s patron saint. Even public buildings get in on the action by getting bathed in emerald lights.
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Head to Mumbai, India, for Holi (March 20-21, 2019), a kaleidoscopic festival that begins with a soul-cleansing bonfire during the night of winter’s final full moon on the Hindu calendar. It ends the next day with everybody in the streets dusted in colorful powders that magically render unity. The fete symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.
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Relish cherry blossom season (late April, 2019) in Hirosaki, Japan, where ancient pruning techniques coax 2,600 cherry trees to erupt like pompoms cheering the arrival of spring. The fleeting show symbolizes life’s ephemeral nature. Hirosaki Park boasts blossom tunnels, a castle with a petal-strewn moat for boating, nighttime illuminations and snow-capped Mount Iwaki as the ultimate backdrop.
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Do you know where to celebrate these occasions closer to home? Tell us about it in the comments section.
Talk to a AAA travel agent to find our more about visiting these festive locales.