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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Read on for the top 10 win­ter des­ti­na­tions in Europe pop­u­lar with tourists.