Have you ever experienced a visual overload? Something so different to anything else you’ve ever seen (or heard for that matter) that five years on you’re still unable to believe you were there? That was Rio Carnival for Intrepid’s Eliza Anderson…
“It was a sight so out of this world that I’m still getting flashes of the colour and vibrancy of the most amazing four hours of my life. Flashbacks of the fireworks exploding from the back of our float and wow, I’d almost forgotten about the transvestite ballerinas! For anyone who travels to Rio during Carnival I can promise you that the experience will be unforgettable.
My experience was somewhat unique, in that I really shook my tail feather, literally, on a float!
Taking part in a local festival is very ‘Intrepid’. It embodies everything we love about embracing other cultures and enjoying real life experiences, though as Rachel Nowell discovered, sometimes local celebrations also pose some puzzling questions…
“The sight of a Hindu man with a skewer piercing through his cheek and tongue and bells hanging from skin hooks on his back certainly makes one cringe. But at the same time one is unable to look away for sheer curiosity and amazement. How do they endure the pain? Why do men do this to themselves?
Whether boiled, steamed or shallowed fried, you can expect to eat jiaozi year-round in China, but come New Year you’ll see that these delicious dumplings are a big part of the celebrations. It’s believed that eating jiaozi can bring wealth and prosperity, but sadly for Lucy Hordern, overindulging in one of her favourite Chinese foods didn’t seem to bring her good luck…
“Yes, I indulged in a local festival in China. The annual jiaozi eating competition. It was great fun, but I lost miserably.
From sausages to sea snails, in Italy you name the food and it probably has its own festival! Good food and good fun are all part of the country’s la dolce vita lifestyle and Casey Wallen enjoyed getting a fresh taste of the local celebrations…
“I love arriving somewhere and being lucky enough to find a local festival happening. On a trip to Sorrento it was the annual fish festival. It’s when all the restaurants who are vying for supremacy in the field of preparing fresh fish dishes, make their kitchens mobile, relocate to the beach and cook up a feast for the locals.
There are many festivals around the world that celebrate seasonal fruit and others that focus on beer, but in the scenic kingdom of Swaziland the two come together in a special celebration – the Marula Festival.
The Marula Festival is one of Swaziland’s most exciting traditional ceremonies. The harvest festivities coincide with marula season, which begins in mid-February and runs through to May. The fruit is distilled into a beer, known as Buganu or Marula beer, and the entire nation joins in on this celebration.
All is not as it seems in Venice in the weeks preceding Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Mystery and intrigue lurk around every corner, as everyone from lawyers, teachers, carpenters and dentists by day, unleash their alter egos by night. Intrepid’s Chotie Moloney discovered that throughout history orderly conduct has given way to indulgent behaviour during this flamboyant festival…
“Venetians adorned in black costumes with white masks and black tricorn hats would promenade through the streets and easily be mistaken for ghosts in the moonlight. The air was filled with excitement and anticipation. Thus was the magic of Carnevale di Venezia.
Few festivals can rival the after dark displays of Lunar New Year celebrations. In China and Chinatowns across the globe, merrymaking is in full swing as soon as the sun sets. It’s a fabulous event and Shannon Cormick was in Hangzhou when the festivities went off with a bang…
“It’s late, it must almost be midnight. But I have a craving for some spring onion pancakes. I know the little old lady down by the river will still be there. Offering her home cooked deliciousness for only one yuan. It’s worth braving the February chill, so I head outside. I’ve walked only a few paces when suddenly I hear a BANG! Startled, I turn and look around, just in time to see an eruption of sparkles, crackling in the night sky before falling gracefully down, fading gently, leaving wisps of smoke in its wake. The Spring Festival has begun!
There are so many reasons to celebrate being in India, but if you want to join in the country’s most vibrant festival then find out from Christine Wilson why you’ll want to plan your trip around 26 October, 2011, or 13 November, 2012…
“I had the time of my life on Intrepid’s Unforgettable India trip, and to top it off my adventure luckily coincided with Diwali – the Festival of Lights. It is a 5-day celebration and the most important festival of the year. The days leading up to the main festival date were shopping madness. The markets were teeming with locals buying gifts for all their friends and family and the streets were lined with strings of lights and decorations. Everything was just so colourful.
If the sign of a good festival is how messy you get, then Holi in northern India and Nepal must rate as one of the best. To welcome in spring the Festival of Colours falls around the March full moon and runs for 3 days. The festival finale is an all-in paint fight. This is supposed to last a day, but as Tania Paschen discovered, be prepared to be doused in all colours of the rainbow for a week…
“Blonde hair and red powder are never a good mix, and three days after Holi in Kathmandu my shampoo supplies had run dry and my hair was still an attractive pink hue.