Best Festivals In The World In December

Best Festivals In The World In December

December is a magical time of year, with merriment and celebration filling the air. From snowy winter wonderlands to sun-soaked beaches, there are plenty of festivals around the world that are perfect for getting into the festive spirit. Here are the best festivals in the world in December to add to your bucket list:

1. Winter Lights Festival in Reykjavik, Iceland 🌨

Kicking off the festive season in Reykjavik, the Winter Lights Festival is a celebration of all things bright and beautiful. The city is lit up with stunning light installations, fireworks, and music performances.

When is the Winter Lights Festival?

The Winter Lights Festival takes place over four days in February, with most events taking place in the evening.

What are the highlights of the Winter Lights Festival?

Highlights of the Winter Lights Festival include the opening ceremony, the Reykjavik International Games, and the Museum Night, where museums and galleries stay open late into the night.

2. Hanukkah in Jerusalem, Israel 🕎

One of the most important Jewish holidays, Hanukkah is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm in Jerusalem, the spiritual capital of Israel.

When is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah usually falls in December, although the exact date changes each year based on the Hebrew calendar.

What are the highlights of Hanukkah in Jerusalem?

Highlights of Hanukkah in Jerusalem include the nightly lighting of the menorah in the Old City, the Hanukkah Market in the Mamilla Mall, and the Hanukkah Candle Lighting Ceremony at the Western Wall.

3. Christmas Markets in Cologne, Germany 🎄

Cologne is home to some of the most magical Christmas markets in Europe. From the Old Town to the Cathedral, the city is transformed into a winter wonderland, with vendors selling everything from gingerbread to gluhwein.

When are the Cologne Christmas Markets?

The Cologne Christmas Markets usually run from late November to late December, with the largest market taking place in front of the Cathedral.

What are the highlights of the Cologne Christmas Markets?

Highlights of the Cologne Christmas Markets include the ice-skating rink, the Ferris wheel, and the unique ornaments and gifts sold by the vendors.

4. Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico 💀

While most people associate Day of the Dead with October, the celebration actually extends into early December in Oaxaca, one of the most vibrant and colorful cities in Mexico.

When is Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead takes place on November 1st and 2nd, but the festivities in Oaxaca can last for several weeks.

What are the highlights of Day of the Dead in Oaxaca?

Highlights of Day of the Dead in Oaxaca include the elaborate altars set up in honor of loved ones who have passed, the food offerings and parades, and the stunning street art and decorations.

5. Junkanoo in Nassau, Bahamas 🏝

Junkanoo is a colorful and exuberant Bahamian festival that takes place over the Christmas period. The streets of Nassau come alive with music, dancing, and elaborate costumes.

When is Junkanoo?

Junkanoo takes place on Boxing Day (December 26th) and New Year’s Day.

What are the highlights of Junkanoo in Nassau?

Highlights of Junkanoo in Nassau include the vibrant costumes and street performers, the brass bands and drummers, and the festive atmosphere throughout the city.

6. Hogmanay in Edinburgh, Scotland 🌶

Hogmanay is the Scottish word for New Year’s Eve, and Edinburgh is one of the best places in the world to ring in the new year. The city hosts a huge street party, complete with fireworks, music, and traditional Scottish customs.

When is Hogmanay?

Hogmanay takes place on New Year’s Eve.

What are the highlights of Hogmanay in Edinburgh?

Highlights of Hogmanay in Edinburgh include the torchlight procession, the street party on Princes Street, and the Loony Dook, where brave souls take a dip in the freezing waters of the River Forth on New Year’s Day.

7. Kwanzaa in Harlem, New York 🎨

Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration of African-American culture and heritage, and Harlem is one of the best places in the world to experience it. The neighborhood hosts a series of events, from music and dance performances to community gatherings and discussions.

When is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa takes place from December 26th to January 1st.

What are the highlights of Kwanzaa in Harlem?

Highlights of Kwanzaa in Harlem include the candle-lighting ceremony, the Kwanzaa Marketplace, and the Children’s Kwanzaa Parade.

These are just a few of the amazing festivals happening around the world in December. Whether you’re looking for a snowy adventure or a sunny escape, there’s a festival out there for you. So why not add one of these festivals to your travel bucket list and make your December unforgettable?


1. What is the significance of Hanukkah?

Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt. The holiday celebrates the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days, even though there was only enough oil for one day.

2. What are the traditional foods eaten during Hanukkah?

Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) are two of the most popular Hanukkah foods.

3. What is gluhwein?

Gluhwein is a traditional German mulled wine that is typically served at Christmas markets.

4. What is the significance of Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that celebrates the lives of loved ones who have passed away. The holiday is a time to remember and honor the dead, and to celebrate the continuity of life.

5. What is the significance of Junkanoo?

Junkanoo is a celebration of African culture and heritage, and is a way for Bahamians to express their identity and pride.

6. What is the significance of Hogmanay?

Hogmanay is a Scottish tradition that dates back to pagan times. The holiday is a time to welcome the new year and to ward off evil spirits.

7. What is the meaning of Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a Swahili word that means first fruits. The holiday celebrates African-American culture and values, such as unity, self-determination, and creativity.

8. What are the traditional colors of Kwanzaa?

The traditional colors of Kwanzaa are black, red, and green. Black represents the people, red represents the struggle, and green represents the future and hope.

9. What is the significance of the menorah?

The menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum that is used during Hanukkah. The candle lighting symbolizes the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days in the Temple.

10. What is the significance of the bagpipes during Hogmanay?

The bagpipes are a traditional Scottish instrument that is often used during Hogmanay celebrations. The music is believed to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck for the new year.

11. What is the history of Christmas markets?

Christmas markets originated in Germany in the late Middle Ages. They were a way for craftsmen to sell their wares and for people to celebrate the festive season. Today, Christmas markets can be found all over the world.

12. What is the significance of the altars during Day of the Dead?

The altars, or ofrendas, are set up to honor loved ones who have passed away. They are decorated with photographs, food, and other offerings that are believed to help the spirits on their journey to the afterlife.

13. What is the history of Junkanoo?

Junkanoo has its roots in West Africa, and was brought to the Bahamas by slaves. The festival was a way for slaves to express their culture and identity, and has since become a beloved Bahamian tradition.