Here’s just a sampling of some noteworthy – and sometimes offbeat – happenings across the globe over the next couple of months.
EUROPE - Starting November 22nd – December 23rd, the Cologne Christmas Market arrives in the city of Cologne and offers seven Christmas markets in total. Among them are four big Christmas markets – at the Cologne Cathedral, on the Alter Markt, on the Neumarkt and on the Rudolfplatz.
The Christmas market on the Alter Markt takes place in front of narrow-gabled houses of the Old Town Hall. It has an especially idyllic atmosphere because of its half-timbered stalls. Children in particular will find lots to do here. With a nostalgic children’s roundabout, puppet theatre, Santa Claus’ grotto and many toy stands, this Christmas market in the heart of the Altstadt (Old Town) has attracted young and old to Cologne for many years.
Cologne’s oldest Christmas market is the market on the Neumarkt, in the shopping area against the backdrop of the Church St. Aposteln. There, several old stands still bear witness to the origins of the market back at the beginning of the 70s. A nostalgic flavour is provided by decorative plates with illustrations of the Christmas markets with their long traditions, which are sold there alongside many other artisans’ products.
The Christmas Market on the Rudolfplatz takes you to the world of fairy tales. Against the historic backdrop of the medieval Hahnentorburg, large fairy tale figures and festive illumination provide a special eye-catcher. Besides the four big Christmas markets there is also a Medieval Christmas Market outside the Chocolate Museum and a Floating Christmas Market on board MS Wappen von Mainz (KD Riverboats) alongside the old quarter.
Finally and well worth seeing is the Stadtgarten Christmas Market, a new and fairly large Christmas Market, located on the edge of Cologne’s oldest park. The Stadtgarten Christmas Market has a far more relaxed and village like atmosphere and it is, apart from the traditional local food, arts & crafts, a great choice for children’s entertainment or any one young at heart.
ASIA PACIFIC - On the 2nd and 3rd December, the Chichibu Yomatsuri (night festival) is hosted by the small town of Chichibu, near Tokyo, and is one of Japan’s most spectacular festivals. Fireworks, traditional performing arts and a gorgeous action-packed parade of huge, illuminated floats entertain the crowds. This is counted as one of the three grandest float festivals in Japan. Huge floats become stages upon which children perform traditional Kabuki dramas and folk dances. Stalls sell festival foods, beer and hot sake, and street entertainers and musicians perform for the throngs of locals and tourists.