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The Annual Folklore Parade of Zermatt, Switzerland


zermatt Annual Folklore Parade

Every year on the second weekend in August, at the foot of the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland, a grand Swiss tradition, the Folklore Festival, takes place. What started out as a small parade over 40 years ago had evolved into one of the largest cultural events of the summer season in Zermatt.

The Folklore Festival parade features over fifty different folklore groups. Through Zermatt’s red geranium filled high street called The Bahnofstrasse, over one thousand two hundred participants make their way from the main village square outside the main railway station. The participants are able to show off their colorful costumes from stories and times long ago, while others prefer to don their Swiss traditional folklore dress. Everyone in the parade participants in a whirl of dance and color.

Different groups and clubs branch off after the parade to perform songs, live music and dance presentations near Oberan Matten and on the Kirchplatz. The Swiss atmosphere is undeniable among the yodellers, alphorn players, Swiss accordian players, dining and food stands, children’s activities and other enthusiastic and friendly gatherings.

The parade lasts about an hour and half. Young and old participants and viewers enjoy this yearly tribute to Swiss culture. After the parade has concluded, the festivities continue with lots of folk music and dancing, games, children’s activities, Swiss foods, wines, beers and good cheer.

If you are able to be in Zermatt in August, be sure to check with your hotel and get the lates details of the Swiss Folklore Festival. For some of the best accommodations in Zermatt, Switzerland, we highly recommend the beautiful Hotel Monte Rosa.

The LUMINA Light Festival of Cascais, Portugal

For the past four years, The LUMINA Light Festival has lit up the seaside community of Cascais, Portugal. This free, international event dedicated to the art of light in Cascais, Portugal has light up the night skies, gardens and pathways while delighting the senses and entertaining through experiences of incandescence, radiance and brilliance.

The LUMINA Light Festival usually takes place in Cascais for 3 days towards the end of summer, so make your plans accordingly. Known to attract upwards of 500,000 visitors, this free art program shows light artworks by renowned international creators in the art of light and involves every spectator, offering them moments of discovery, magic and thrill. You will find many international and national light art installations, video mapping, sculptures and performances transforming the town of Cascais into a giant light art gallery. Light shows, luminous sculptures, installations that interact with visitors and multimedia projections are linked as a route through the city, and reflect the motto of their creators: “sharing light art with people”.

Previous themes of the LUMINA Light Festival has included The Four Seasons of Light, where visitors were encouraged to follow four paths with installations corresponding to the moods of the Rite of Spring, a Summer Night, the Fall Leaves and the Winter Trip. This year promises to be no different in terms of wonder and amazement.

If you plan on joining the LUMINA Light Festival this year, we highly recommend you stay at one of Cascais’ finest hotels, The Oitavos. Be sure to ask the hotel about specific dates of the LUMINA Light Festival and transportation.

Roman City of Nimes

arena-of-nimes-galleryFound in the south east of France, Provence has been called one of the most beautiful regions of France.  It is here that visitors will find almost anything their heart desires, from snow-capped mountains of the Alps, to lavender fields of the Verdon gorge, to the endless delights of the Mediterranean Sea, to the beautiful and historic towns such as the Roman Town of Nimes.

Nimes has a rich history that dates back to the Roman Empire.  At that time, the city was home to 50,000 – 60,000 people.  Nimes is often referred to as the “French Rome” due to several famous monuments located there, such as the Nimes Arena and the Maison Carrée.  The two storied Arena once housed crowds of up to 20,000 spectators who came to watch gladiators fight and charioteers race.  Today, Roman games and bull fighting takes place in the Arena on a May weekend.

For those who prefer buildings with a more modern look, Nimes has some famous recent buildings like the glass,concrete and steel Carrée d’Art designed by British architect Norman Foster.  This modern architectural wonder currently houses the Musée d’Art Contemporain which contains a large collection of French and Western European art from 1960 to today.

Nîmes today is a thriving town of eclectic shops and modern businesses set among world-class Roman monuments and traffic-free lanes. Today Nîmes is officially in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.  However, historically the town has been a key player in the evolution of Provence.

If you are fortunate enough to visit the South of France, take some time to rest and unwind at the luxurious Hostellerie de L’Abbaye de la Celle.  This intimate Five Star inn is waiting for you here.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival

Cape Town Jazz FestivalEver since its inception, the Cape Town Jazz Festival, also referred to as “Africa’s Grandest Gathering”, has grown into a wildly successful international event. The first Cape Town Jazz Festival was held in 2000. Since then, it has grown to become the fourth largest jazz festival in the world, and it is recognized as the largest festival on the continent of Africa.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival began in 2000 as part of the North Sea Jazz Festival. The festival occurred ever year until 2005 as the North Sea Jazz Festival. From 2005 onwards, the festival was renamed to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival due to the partnership between espAfrika (a South African events management company) and Mojo Concerts BV (the founders of the Dutch North Sea Jazz Festival) falling apart. It was this partnership that first brought about the Jazz Festival.

Attendance at the festival has grown since it first started in 2000, from 14,000 concert goers in 2000 to 34,000 concert goers in 2013. The Festival has earned it the status of being the most prestigious event on the African continent due in part to its winning formula of bringing more than 40 International and Local artists to perform over two days on five stages.

The festival’s winning formula of bringing more than 40 International and Local artists to perform over two days on five stages has earned it the status of being the most prestigious event on the African continent. Today, the festival boasts 5 stages and over 40 artists performing over 2 nights, and is made up of a 50/50 split between South African artists and international artists.

If you happen to be in town for the Cape Town Jazz Festival, be sure to explore more than just the music scene. Here in Cape Town you’ll also find amazing beaches, stunning Table Mountain, great seafood, shark diving eco-tours, shopping and museums. Be sure to check with your hotel to find out the latest dates of the Cape Town Jazz Festival. We recommend that you check out The Table Bay Hotel, a Five Star luxury hotel with unrivaled views of Table Bay.

The St. Moritz Concours Hippique

The St. Moritz Concours HippiqueShow-jumping has been a long-standing tradition in St. Moritz.  It is here at the The St. Moritz Concours Hippique where spectators enjoy being unusually close to the horses and their riders. The St. Moritz Concours Hippique is particularly popular among equestrians who like to enjoy their sport in a festive and friendly holiday atmosphere.

The St. Moritz Concours Hippique is, of course, a horse show, but it is also an equestrian competition. It usually consists of several different divisions, such as jumping, dressage and competitions or shows with harness horses.  At times, trotting races and other tests are given to the horses and their riders.  Public demonstrations of various other aspects of working with horses in general are also given.

St. Moritz is one of the most famous holiday resort destinations in the world. The sun shines an average of 322 days a year – more than anywhere else in Switzerland. Skiers, snowboarders and cross country enthusiasts are drawn to St. Moritz by its natural beauty and quality, so it’s no wonder that equestrian fans and professionals are also drawn to this wonderful locale to practice their craft and enjoy the sites.  You can experience the St. Moritz Concours Hippique usually in January and February.  Check with your hotel to find out the exact dates.  If you’re planning on being in St. Moritz during this equestrian competition, it is recommended that you experience the 5 Star luxury hotel Grand Hotel Kronenhof.

The Zermatt Horu Trophy And The History of Curling

Horu TrophyThe Zermatt Horu Trophy has become one of Switzerland’s largest and most popular open-air curling tournaments. Taking place usually with the mighty Matterhorn in view, 76 teams compete across 19 separate curing rinks. While curling has become so popular in some countries that it has been an official sport in the Winter Olympic Games since the 1998 Winter Olympics, it has had a long journey to notoriety.

The first written reference to curling appeared in 1541 in records from the Paisely Abbey, a monastery in Scotland. The writings noted a contest using stones on ice, and seemed to indicate that curling was actually invented in medieval Scotland. Additionally, two painting from 1565, Winter Landscape with a Bird Trap and The Hunters in the Snow, both show peasants enjoying games of curling, using large stones on ponds of ice. The actual word “curling” first appeared in print in 1620 in Perth, Scotland, in a poem by Henry Adamsom. Curling is still affectionately known as “the roaring game” in Scotland due to the sounds the large playing stones make as they move over the icy frozen ponds or playing rinks. The very name of the game “curling” came about as a description of the motion of the stone, as it “curled” across the ice.

Although the game of curling is mostly associated with Canada in modern times, this is due to Scottish immigrants who took the game to Canada when they settled there. The oldest established sports club in North America, The Royal Montreal Curling Club, was established in 1807 by a group of Scottish Canadian immigrants. 1830 saw the formation of the first curling club in the United States. By the end of the 19th century, curling had been introduced to Switzerland and Sweden by Scottish immigrants. Today, curling is popular all across many European countries, and has even spread to Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and even China and Korea.

If you plan to be in Zermatt, be sure to make time to enjoy this favorite cultural pastime. Check with your hotel to see exact times as to when the Zermatt Horu Trophy will take place. Typically the Horu Trophy takes place around the middle of January. And if you are a more discerning traveler, then you won’t want to miss out on the luxury that is offered at the 5 Star Hotel, Mont Cervin Palace, right in the heart of Zermatt.

The Russian Winter Festival

Russian Winter FestivalFor many in Russia, The Russian Winter Festival is a way to begin celebrating Christmas, and keep the celebrating going well into the New Year. The Russian Winter Festival usually runs from Christmas Day, December 25th, through the first week of January. Although the Winter Festival is held in many other cities in Russia, it is especially a grand event in the Russian city of Moscow.

In Moscow, The Russian Winter Festival is festival of holiday partying and a festival of arts. In this city you will find circuses, performances of Russian fables for children, outdoor parties and theatrical presentations. For those who appreciate the traditional side of this Winter Festival, there are troika (sled) rides, folk games, dancing around fir trees and a wonderful sampling of traditional Russian winter foods, including bagels, jams and special teas.

On New Year’s Eve, Russian children await gifts from Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snow Maiden). If Russian folklore, “Grandfather Frost” wears a red robe, black boots and has a long white beard, bearing no small resemblance to “Santa Claus”. In fact, Grandfather Frost was directly associated with Christmas up until the 1917 Revolution, in which religious holidays were stamped out. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian people began openly reviving old traditions, and thus Grandfather Frost is a prominent figure in The Russian Winter Festival.

Past Russian Winter Festivals have included sculptures based on culturally significant items, such as a giant ruble coin sculpture and a felt boot the size of a human. This Winter Festival combines the best of the Arts, Russian Christmas and Russian New Year with traditional foods, dancing and more. If you’re in Russia during the Winter Festival time, be sure to check with your hotel about specific times and locations of Festival celebrations. Our recommendation for a luxury Russian hotel stay during the Winter Festival is the Hotel Metropol Moscow.

The Bologna Jazz Festival

bologna jazz festivalBologna, Italy is known for its rich musical heritage. In 2006, UNESCO declared Bologna a City of Music. One of the deep musical traditions of Bologna is their Jazz Festival. The Bologna Jazz Festival has a long and rich history. Those who are familiar with the Jazz Festival of the past ten years may not be familiar with just how long the Bologna Jazz Festival has been happening.

The first ever Bologna Jazz Festival took place in 1958 and was organized by Alberto Alberti. Alberti was a fan of jazz. He enjoyed jazz so much that he founded a store called Disclub, which was devoted exclusively to jazz records. Another gentleman, Antonio Foresti, also participated in the organization of the first Jazz Festival. Foresti had organized concerts of the Bolognese Doctor Dixie Jazz Band. The first jazz gathering put on by the two was called Jazz Festival Emiliano. The next year, it was simply called Jazz Festival. By the third year, the even was officially named the International Jazz Festival. The Jazz Festival was becoming very well known, with artists from around the world wanting to contribute. Special guests from the jazz world were invited to delight the crowds that started paying attention.

After many versions of the Jazz Festival over the decades, in 2006, the festival resumed (after a four year hiatus) with the name Bologna Jazz Festival. Alberto Alberti was still involved, but was not able to attend the new version of the jazz festival due to illness.

Today, the Bologna Jazz Festival, which usually takes place from the end of October through the end of November, has become an event cherished by jazz lovers and jazz artists alike. Any visit to Bologna, Italy during the autumn should include a visit to the Bologna Jazz Festival. While you’re there enjoying the site and sounds, be sure to make yourself comfortable in a five star luxury hotel close to the festival. You can find that when you stay at the Grand Hotel Majestic in Bologna, Italy.

The International Exhibition of Christmas Cribs in Art and Tradition

Christmas Crib ExhibitIn many cultures, December brings with it the celebration of Christmas among other things. And for those who enjoying immersing themselves in the Christmas spirit, Verona, Italy in December is a perfect destination. The city itself is magical, steeped in history, full of sites to explore, things to see, foods and wine to taste. But it is the International Exhibition of Christmas Cribs in December that delights tens of thousands with its hundreds of displays of nativity and cribs.

The International Exhibition of Christmas Cribs in Art and Tradition happens each year at the Arena. This exhibit includes over 400 cribs coming from all over Europe, including Italy, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia and other European countries. Many of the Christmas cribs on display will come from private collections, crib makers, craftsmen and museums. Visitors delight in seeing the similarities and differences in the way the Christmas cribs are viewed in each country.

Every year, a highlight of the Christmas Cribs exhibit known as the “Stella Cometa”, or “steel comet” is put on display in the center of the festivities. This steel sculpture is an architectural wonder. Weighing in at 78 tons and standing 70 meters high, the Stella Cometa is attached to the Arena and has become a symbol of the crib exhibition. This symbol of the star that foretold the birth of Jesus now helps draw tens of thousands of visitors to the crib exhibition.

If you have the good fortune to experience Verona, Italy during the Christmas festivities, do make plans to visit the International Exhibition of Christmas Cribs. And while you’re there, make sure you find a place to relax and unwind. Our recommendation is that you stay at the Due Torri Hotel, a 5 Star luxury hotel in Verona, very close to the very Arena where the Christmas Cribs exhibition takes place. See the Due Torri Hotel up close!

The Victoria Falls Carnival

11751740_610685862406288_2125808126264355950_nImagine… You board a vintage steam train and embark upon a five hour tour through the Victoria Falls National Park. As evening falls, you hear Sub-Saharan Africa DJs spinning classic and top tunes throughout the train cars, setting the mood for the festivities ahead. Soon, you arrive at a secret stage that’s been setup under the African skies. You have arrived at the Victoria Falls Carnival! New Year’s Eve celebrations have gone on for many years in Victoria Falls.

What once began as a humble celebration as David Livingstone decided to toast the Queen on New Year’s Eve in 1855 has grown into one of Africa’s largest New Year’s Eve celebrations. In fact, when you combine Southern Africa’s biggest artists with one of the world’s greatest adventures and activities with a New York style New Year’s Eve countdown, you know that you have arrived at the Victoria Falls Celebration, and it is a celebration unlike anything on earth!

Every year tourists from all over the globe descend upon the mighty Victoria Falls for this once in a lifetime New Year’s celebration. Over 6000 people, top bands, DJ’s from around Africa, fire dancers, stilt walkers and much more gather to make this experience something that no one will ever forget.

To be in a best position to learn all about the carnival and get the best tickets, be sure you ask at your hotel. One of the best, most luxurious hotels you can find in Zambia, close to Victoria Falls, is The Royal Livingstone Hotel.