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Zahara Holidays Travel Blog

Discover the best travel related news and stories from around the world, right here. Learn the best travel hacks and secrets, explore new destinations, and find travel inspiration to feed your wanderlust.

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14 Big Reasons to visit SWITZERLAND in Winter

Zahara Holidays|Mon, 24 Jan 2022

Switzerland is truly a winter wonderland with diverse winter experiences that guarantee plenty of fun for the whole family.

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Best Places to Visit During the Eid Holidays

Ambika Verma|Wed, 04 Mar 2020

The Eid holidays coming up soon and we suggest that you plan your vacation getaway from Oman quickly to make the best of this long break. With the Coronavirus scare holiday planning can be tough especially with the travel restrictions so we're here to save the day. \Zahara Holidays’ bring to you the complete guide to the best Eid destinations to choose from this year whether you are looking for a cozy romantic getaway for two, adrenaline pumping adventure holidays or a family friendly destination with plenty to do, there are plenty of options to choose from.

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Most Happening Events and Festivals to Attend in May

Zahara Holidays Team|Wed, 12 Feb 2020

There are lots of happening events and festivals taking place in May 2019. Ranging from the French Open to the Grand Prix in Monaco to Russia’s White Nights Celebrations, you have a wide variety of options to choose from. Here we’ve put together some of the best of what's going on in May across the world.

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Best Events and Festivals to Attend in April

Zahara Holidays Team|Fri, 07 Feb 2020

Find the best events, festivals, and celebrations taking place around the world this April. From water fights in Thailand, flowers shows and concerts taking places all around the globe, take your pick from these delightful options.

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Festivals and Events to Attend in March

Ambika Verma|Tue, 04 Feb 2020

The month of March brings with it plenty of exciting events to attend and festivals to celebrate. Here, we present some of the the most unique events and festivals that take place in March. The Carnival of Rio de Janeiro Dates: 2nd-9th March 2019 Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Every year, over two million people attend this carnival for a week of extravagance with dancing, colours, and alcohol on the parade to end all parades. It takes places during the five days preceding the Catholic season of Lent, 40 days before Easter. Although these celebrations occur all over the world, particularly in Catholic countries, the Carnival of Rio de Janerio is by far the largest and most popular. Celebrated at the end of a hot Brazilian summer, the highlight of the celebrations is the world-renowned Carnival parade in the Sambadrome. There are also hundreds of street parties called ‘blocos’ that take place in the city, along with the more traditional costumed balls called ‘bailes’ but the heart of Carnival lies with the Samba which is a ritual dance whose origin belongs to the slave trade. The Carnival originated sometime in the 18th century when Portuguese colonialists co-opted African slave traditions into their own religious practices. This gave birth to a celebration they called ’Entrudo’, which was adopted by the Brazilians. Today, the Rio Carnival has morphed into an electrifying, mega-celebration that has become an important touchstone of Brazilian culture. Most commercial and industries in Rio shut down completely during the period as everyone joins in the party. So go prepared to have lots of fun. Las Fallas Dates: 15th-19th March 2019 Location: Valencia, Spain This fiesta is a unique Spanish celebration where firecracker-filled papier-mâché and wood models called fallas are created and eventually set alight. This exuberant festival is rooted in traditions welcoming the arrival of spring, and in 2016 UNESCO decided to list it a Cultural Intangible World Heritage. There are many stories about the origins of the festival with most popular version stating that Las Fallas comes from a Valencian tradition where carpenters would burn old useless materials before the day of St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. While others claim it is to celebrate equinoxes and solstices or that it follows from a tradition in a which figures representing a persona non grata would be hung from posts before being flung into a fire. Today one of the most fun parts is the unveiling of towering fallas with their accompanying puppets called ninots. The sculptures as intricate as they are gigantic and you can find a variety of differently themed installations every year. These Fallas standing up to thirty metres tall are paraded through the streets as people dressed in traditional garb dance to the tunes played by live bands, with pyrotechnics and gunpowder blasts punctuating the festivities at intervals. Las Fallas de Valencia is an incredible display of elaborate sculptures, pyrotechnics and live music. The festival concludes when a huge bonfire is lit on which the sculptures are burned. The flames can run so hot that the neighbouring buildings have to be continually hosed with water to keep them from crumbling. Afterwards everyone in the city parties the night away. Mardi Gras Dates: 5th March 2019 Location: New Orleans, USA Although the Mardi Gras celebration start in January itself, the last day of the carnival season known as ‘Fat Tuesday,’ is when the celebrations are at their peak. This makes it the most popular time to visit New Orleans as witnessed by the 1.4 million visitors that take to the streets to participate in the city’s iconic parades and festivities. The legacy of Mardi Gras can be traced to European Carnival celebrations during the 17th and 18th centuries and celebrated worldover but New Orleans’s unique Mardi Gras customs make the city’s celebration particularly renowned. The New Orleans connection dates back to when explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville on arriving at Louisiana in 1699 and realizing it was the eve of the holiday declared a plot of land ‘Pointe du Mardi Gras’. The present day city of New Orleans was established around that area and ever since then, the Mardi Gras parades and masquerade balls have become an annual tradition in the southern city. Among other traditions on the origin of the non stop partying is how on the Twelfth Night ball, a cake was cut, and whoever found the bean inside would host the next ball. Today, Mardi Gras balls are elaborate affairs with kings, queens, royal courts, and an abundance of pomp and pageantry and while most balls are invitation-only, everyone is welcome to attend the parades. Along the parade route, costumed riders on sparkling papier-maché floats toss “throws” to the surrounding crowd. The last day of the Carnival season never disappoints with beads, parades, music and dance. Saint Patrick’s Day Festival Dates: 17th March 2019 Location: Dublin, Ireland This holiday observing the death of Saint Patrick the patron saint of Ireland, celebrates Irish culture with parades, costumes, music, comedy, films, drinking and a whole lot of green. It is a festival like no other and that needs to be added to your bucket list. The weekend of Saint Patrick’s Day is traditionally the potato planting weekend in Ireland. Interestingly, the first St Patrick’s Day parade was not held in Ireland at all, but in the United States by Irish Settlers, however the parades have since become a popular event across Ireland. The theme for this year’s parade is ‘Storytelling’ and along with music and marching bands from all over the world, there’ll be plenty of colourful floats, dancers and costumes. Everyone, Irish and non-Irish alike participate in the ‘wearing of the green’, that is, sporting an item of green clothing or a shamrock, the Irish national plant, in the lapel. With giant, colourful puppets, fantastic street entertainers and marching bands this parade is one to remember. The Battle of the Oranges Dates: 2nd-5th March 2019 Location: Ivrea, Italy Yet another festive celebration marking the coming of Lent, on the days preceding Fat Tuesday, what sets it apart is the nine squads of townspeople that dressed for battle, over the course of the next three days hurl oranges at each other, attempting to “kill” the other teams at certain streets of Ivrea that are designated for war. First established in 1808, the Carnival of Ivrea is one of the oldest festivals in the world, whose highlight is the Battle of the Oranges where the people are involved in a historical reenactment of the rebellion against Napoleonic troops to defeat tyranny. This culminates in the spectacular parade of the historic court and the thrilling Battle of the Oranges. The Carnival’s main protagonists include the ‘Mugnaia’ or miller’s daughter who is the heroine of the display with the “General” at her side. Since the beginning it has been their duty to ensure the proper proceedings of the event. Also participating are the customary Napoleonic General Staff, and other historic figures. The Battle and festivities fills the city with fantastic colors and perfumes, and brings everyone into the act. Holi Festival Dates: 20th-21st March 2019 Location: Countrywide, India Called the festival of colours, Holi is celebrated on the day of a full moon on the vernal equinox. This festival is one of India's most popular festivals and celebrated by Hindus across the globe to welcome in spring and signify the victory of good over evil. Cities and towns all over India come alive with riotous color flinging, bonfires and feasting that is held in the evenings leading up to the main day of festivities. On the first evening people burn effigies of the the demoness Holika who was defeated by on this day. The next morning, people gather in public spaces and take part in Rangwali Holi. This makes for a crazy time, where people throw coloured powders known as gulal at one another, while getting drenched in water and dancing.There are many region specific twists to celebration such as the singing of spiritual songs in some parts or the playful ‘beating’ of townsmen by the townswomen or playing with flowers or celebrations spread across a longer period of time. Frozen Dead Guy Days Dates: 9th- 11th March 2019 Location: Colorado, USA Taking place in the Colorado mountain town of Nederland the Frozen Dead Guy Days is one of the quirkiest and unique festivals in the USA. With three days of wintery gaiety focused around the thirty live bands performing in heated tents, the festival offers outrageous events like coffin races, costumed polar plunging, frozen t-shirt contests and much more. This is a festival you won’t forget soon. The range of activities span from the survival essential skills to absurd showmanship and include things like tossing frozen salmon, and the fancy-dress dives into the icy plunge pool which are a must-see. The Festival was inspired by a former Norwegian grandad Bredo Morstol who, by a bizarre twist of fate, ended up being cryogenically frozen alone in a shed in the US state of Colorado. And in attending it, the event goers celebrate the joy of being alive by acknowledging death in playing strange games and major partying. Grape Harvest Festival Location: Mendoza, Argentina Spread over six days the Grape Harvest Festival in Mendoza is one of the largest wine festivals in the world. The event draws everyone from local winemakers to national celebrities to the city of Mendoza with the main attraction of this great Mendocino festival being the ‘Central Act’ which is performed in the Greek Theater at the General San Martin Park. It starts with a artistic display of dance, lights and music, where hundreds of actors and dancers showcasing their art in a spectacular performance and continues with the election of the National Grape Harvest Queen. The event culminating in a magnificent exhibition of fireworks that dance to the rhythm of the music for more than 20 minutes. With over twenty thousand attendees, the show is a spectacle of dance, music and lights. Glasgow International Comedy Festival Dates: 10-27 March 2019 Location: Glasgow, Scotland Be prepared to get your funny bone tickled at a comedy gathering that organisers are calling “the largest event of its kind in Europe”. With top comedy stars and household names from around the the world complemented by the very best emerging Scottish talents take to the stand-up stage at Glasgow to provide a laughter-packed programme of great shows and events, in some terrific venues, for visitors and locals alike. The Glasgow Live International Comedy Festival offers everything from stand up and sketches to drama, film and childrens shows. There are shows taking place daily throughout the entire festival, across over forty venues across the city, with something to suit every taste, budget and preference.

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Why You Have to Plan A Holiday to Eastern Europe

Thu, 12 Jul 2018