Culture & Travel3 January 2024
Winter can be a challenging time for many folks with its chilly weather and short days. However, countries around the globe organize winter festivals each year to make these winter months cozier and more enjoyable. Winter festivals are packed with a variety of activities such as music, dance, food, art, and culture. These festivals provide a great opportunity for both locals and visitors to mingle and meet new people! Here are the festivals from around the world and our own country that will add color to the winter months.
Portland Festival of Lights, United States of America
Portland, Oregon, also known as the "City of Roses" due to its favorable climate for growing roses, transforms into the "City of Lights" in winter. The Portland Festival of Lights, as the name suggests, is a popular light festival in Portland that draws thousands of visitors every year. The festival uses light and technology to turn Portland's well-known landmarks into interactive wonderlands. During the festival, visitors can witness enormous light sculptures, light shows, and other events. This festival is suitable for visitors of all ages, making it a fantastic event for families, groups of friends, and couples. Best of all, it's free to attend. The festival, taking place on February 2-10, has not chosen a single location for 2024. Instead, it will be held in Portland's famous destinations such as Pioneer Square, Portland World Trade Center, and Electric Blocks.
Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan
The Sapporo Snow Festival, celebrating its 74th edition this year, stands as one of the largest snow and ice festivals globally, held in the city of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. The festival occurs every February for about two weeks. This year, the festival is scheduled between February 4-11. Originating in 1950 when local middle and high school students crafted six snow sculptures in Odori Park, the festival has grown into an event that welcomes visitors from all corners of the world. It features massive snow and ice sculptures, light shows, ice castles, ice bars, and various other activities. One of the most anticipated events is the International Snow Sculpture Competition held in Odori Park, returning after a hiatus in 2023. This festival is also free to attend.
Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, South Korea
The Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, held annually in Hwacheon, Gangwon Province, South Korea, stands out as one of the most popular festivals to explore during the winter months. CNN even dubbed it one of the "Seven Wonders of Winter" in 2011. While the festival offers many activities, the most renowned one is ice fishing. Though it might seem ordinary to some, the festival's main attraction, ice fishing, takes place on the frozen Hwacheoncheon Stream. Visitors can try their luck with specially prepared rods, and the caught fish are grilled and served to the attendees. The festival also organizes various activities like ice sledding, bobsledding, ice skating, ice sculptures, and light shows. Participants can make the most of the winter months by engaging in these events. The festival is scheduled between January 6-28.
Ayder Snow Festival, Rize
Nestled in the breathtaking Ayder Plateau, one of the gems of the Black Sea region, the Ayder Snow Festival is all set to charm visitors during the winter months. Now in its 16th edition, the festival is scheduled for January 27-28, 2024. Brace yourselves for a vibrant array of events, including snowman competitions, snow cave contests, and thrilling ski and snowboard showdowns. And don't miss out on the highly anticipated best sock knitting competition. Alongside these competitions, attendees can revel in concerts, theater performances, and various other happenings that promise an unforgettable experience. The snowman contest steals the spotlight each year as participants unleash their creativity, striving to craft the most beautiful and imaginative snowmen.
Frozen Festival, Erzurum
Palandöken, Türkiye's premier ski destination, is gearing up to host the Frozen Festival, injecting life into the winter season, just like every year. Mark your calendars for February 22-25, 2024, as this festival seamlessly blends skiing, music, and art for an unforgettable winter escapade. Enjoy the pristine snow on Palandöken's slopes during the day, followed by lively Apres Ski and Night Events featuring DJ performances in a DJ booth sculpted entirely from ice. The festival will also showcase the BtcTurk Frozen Cup award-winning ski and snowboard races, yoga sessions, ice sculpting, and exclusive workshops.
Bitexen Winterfest, Bursa
The Bitexen Winterfest Festival unfolds over 4 days, featuring three distinct sections and programs in the picturesque Uludag. Running from February 4-15, 2024, this festival, a five-time winner of the Ace of M.I.C.E tourism awards for the best youth festival, offers an action-packed agenda. Daytime adventures include skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and ice skating, while the evenings come alive with concerts by renowned artists, DJ performances, and after-ski parties. Note that unlike the aforementioned festivals, entry to Bitexen Winterfest requires bookings with contracted hotels.