Contrary to popular belief, there are many interesting events that take place in winter. The winter solstice is the period when the Sun appears at noon at its lowest altitude from the horizon. It was this period of time that became a period of holidays and celebrations in various religions and cultures, with many holidays and festivals. There are a large number of winter festivals around the world every year, and here we present a list of the top 10 of them. These can be exhibitions, carnivals, fairs, organized either in winter or at the very end of autumn. Below is a list of the 10 most popular winter festivals.
I’ll note right away that Christmas festivals are not included here, since a separate selection on LifeGlobe is dedicated to them.
Sapporo Snow Festival
The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the biggest winter events in Japan. It is held annually in Sapporo, Japan and lasts about seven days in February. The event is attracting a growing number of visitors from Japan and other countries. Every year, over 2 million people come to Sapporo to see the thousands of magnificent snow and ice sculptures in Odori Park and its surrounding streets.
Whitefish in Montana
Fiesta Pescado Blanco translates as “feast of the white fish” in Spanish and is held in Montana. It is an annual festival with ski parades, winter sports competitions and the annual Penguin Dive — swimming in the icy water of Whitefish Lake. National Geographic Traveler named the Whitefish Carnival one of the top ten winter carnivals in the world.
Mayrhofen Winter Festival
This festival combines snowboarding, comedy and music. Led by acclaimed comedians Marcus Brigstock and Andrew Maxwell, the celebration will keep you laughing and dancing throughout your stay. The festival first started in 2008 in Méribel, France and crossed the Alps two years ago to Austrian Mayrhofen. Now this festival annually attracts a whole cohort of comedic celebrities.
Saranac Lake Winter Carnival
This is a combination of exciting winter sports competitions, as well as original competitions, concerts, fireworks and parades. But the main central part of this 115-year-old holiday is the carefully thought-out and built ice palace, annually created by volunteers from the ice cubes of the lake. The festival takes place in New York every year from January 31 to February 9.
Ottawa Festival (Winterlude)
This festival transforms Canada’s capital into a paradise for lovers of hot chocolate and ice sculptures during the dreariest season of the year. This festival is held from January 31st to February 17th every year, with a giant ice rink, hockey cup, winter triathlon competition and a fun bed race. In the evening, cooks and winemakers treat everyone with their delicious dishes and drinks.
Quebec Winter Festival
One of the largest festivals in the world is the Quebec Winter Carnival, held in Canada. Activities include a winter amusement park, skiing, rafting, ice sculptures, snow slides and outdoor shows. The holiday is usually held in February in accordance with all traditions. Amateur and professional teams compete in canoeing on the icy surface of the St. Lawrence River. Artists and sculptors from all over the world compete in an exciting snow sculpture competition, and numerous spectators are immersed in the sincere atmosphere of a real winter holiday.
Holiday in Dartmouth
The Dartmouth Winter Carnival first appeared as a field day for students in 1910 but has now become a cult event in New England. Visitors participate in cart and sleigh races, group ice skating, and enjoy great live music. Crowds cheer on skiers, or watch amateur athletes run to races in pajamas and funny costumes.
Brits Festival in Switzerland
The Brits festival provides its attendees with a week of music and competition for all ages and sizes. Holiday organizers allow you to ski, sleep and have fun at the same time. Some of the best international musicians, singers and DJs delight many guests with great live music. Anyone can take part in snowboarding and skiing competitions.
Winter Carnival Bon Su
Bon Soo Winter Carnival is an annual winter carnival in Ontario, Canada. The carnival has been held every February since 1964 and has now grown to be Canada’s second largest winter carnival along with Montreal in Quebec. This 10-day festival provides guests with plenty of entertainment and fun competitions, culminating in a massive swim in the icy waters of the lake.
Fur Rendezvous in Alaska
Fur Rendezvous, or Fur Rendezvous, is a 10-day celebration in the style of Alaskan life. It includes exciting events such as reindeer and sled dog races, drawing crowds from all over the world. It is also a paradise for outdoor winter sports such as snowshoe softball, ice hockey and barefoot walking. This annual winter festival is the largest in North America and takes place at the end of February.
Read on for the top 10 winter destinations in Europe popular with tourists.