Less Known December Festivals You Should Be Curious About

The joy of Christmas and New Year is being spread all around the world. This time of year means giving and getting presents to each other or getting together with beloved ones and family members for many of us. But for some of us December means enjoying some interesting festivals and parties. In case you’re curious what those festivals are you should continue reading this article.

1. Burning the Clocks

The people of Brighton, UK have been celebrating the festival of Burning the Clocks since 1994. It is not an old tradition. The festival was created by  Same Sky that is an award-winning community arts charity. The festival marks the Winter Solstice on 21st December, the shortest day of a year, and focuses on the holiday spirit regardless of people’s religious beliefs. The festival is against the modern day of Christmastime commercialism.

People in the city get together, make their paper or willow lanterns, carry them through the city and burn into a flaming bonfire on beach. The lanterns carry the hopes and dreams of people for new year. For more information about this festival click here

burning the clocks

2. Junkanoo Parade

Nassau, Bahamas  has been celebrating Junkanoo since 17th century. Junkanoo is a Bahamian national festival and is one the oldest surviving street festivals in the Caribbean. There are two events; the first is on Boxing Day, December 26th and the main event is on New Year’s day, January 1st. The streets become full of people who wear colorful costumes and the music of goombay drums and horns.

In case you want to visit it, I suggest before the parades get some sleep because it will be an all-night party and be sure that you reserve your seats through the Junkanoo ticket website. The parade is much fun with a friend of you or a group of your friends. Have fun!


3. Sunburn Festival

Sunburn is just for the ones who like electronic music and beaches. It is one of Asia’s biggest music festivals. If you go to Sunburn, you kill two birds with one stone. You will listen to the best Indian International DJs and enjoy the best beaches in India. It takes place just after Christmas celebration and just before the New Year in Goa. The festival is just 3 days but many people stay longer to enjoy the nature of Goa and the after-parties.

Sunburn festival

4. Hogmanay Celebration

Every year between 31st December to 1st January Scottish people clean their houses and settle debts to make a fresh start for new year in Edinburgh, Scotland. Hogmanay is pronounced “hug-meh-nay”.  There are  two stories about the roots of celebration. First one tells that it is originated form the pagan festivities of Samhain. Second and the more likely, it comes from the Vikings who were celebrating the shortest day of the year. In the old times, Hogmanay attendees carry torches through ans sing to kick out the winter and evil spirits.

It is a very friendly atmosphere. All friends and strangers share hugs and give occasional kiss to each other. In country side people open their homes to strangers to share a meal.

Hogmanay festival

5. Burning of the Devil (Quema del Diablo)

Every year December 7th people in Antigua that is the capital of Guetamala burn a paper figure of Devil at 6 PM all across the country.  It is called Burning of the Devil (Quema del Diablo). The tradition goes back to the colonial times in 18th century. Those who afford adorned their the fronts of their houses with lanterns, but those who couldn’t afford such lanterns gathered their garbage and burn all of the year’s rubbish in front of their houses.

The symbolical fire that burns the devil and the bad spirits from the previous year and to start anew from the ashes. It is held on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception to clear the way for Mary’s feast.


6. Kalash Winter Festival (Chaumos)

Dardic indigenous Kalash people who live in the valleys of Rumbur, Bumboret and Birir in Pakistan also celebrates the winter solstice in the middle of December. The festival time is for visiting, feasing and dancing all day and night. The celebration is between 7 to 22 December.

kalash people

7. Festival of the Sahara

Every year between 23 to 27 December thousands of people, mostly from all over Tunisia and other Maghrebien countries come to Douz in Tunisia to celebrate nomadic desert culture. It hosts camel races, hunting for rabbits with greyhound-like Saluki dogs, mesmerizing music events and dance shows. For more information about the festival click here.

Festival of Sahara

8. Giant Lantern Festival

San Fernando city, Pampanga is famous with its Giant Lantern Festival which held in every December in Philippines. It is named in the city as ‘Christmas Capital of the Philippines’. Lanterns represent hope for the Filipino people. Every year the city tries to make better lanterns each year to stand out among the others being made all over the world. The lanterns you see there are all pieces of arts.

giant lantern festival

9. Seb-i Arus (Wedding Night of Rumi)

Every year on December 17, the day of Sufi poet Rumi’s death people come together in Konya, Turkey to celebrate Seb-i Arus that means wedding night. Rumi sees his death not as an end but as a beginning for reunion with his beloved, with God.  During this 10-days festival, you watch the sema ceremonies in which the dervishes whirl by pointing their right arms to heaven and the left arms to the earth, literally putting Rumi’s poetry – ‘blazing in blind ecstasy, drowned in God and drunk on love,’ in motion.

Whirling Dervishes


This concludes my list of wonderful festivals of December.

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