Attending local festivals when traveling is one of the best ways to get an insight into the people and the culture of the place you’re visiting – you get to try the local traditional food, listen to their music, watch performances and mix with local people who are all there to enjoy themselves.
Becoming emerged in the culture and traditions of festivals, I’ve often found myself dealing with culture shock after culture shock, but having fun doing it.
If you have the chance of staying in Australia for a longer period, you might be able to fit one of these festivals into your itinerary, because attending a festival gives you that opportunity to really find out what the country is all about…
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
Food – not only from East Asia, but from all over the world – is obviously the focus of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival – it’s a definite highlight for all gourmet travelers interested in the art of cooking and quality cuisine from every continent.
Whet your appetite, and regale your taste buds with regional victuals, international recipes, and the creations of global stars in the kitchen.
From Indonesian ikan panggang (grilled fish in banana leaf) over French-inspired méli mélo of veggies, herbs, and flowers to tropical coconut risotto with nori seaweed – there’s literally something for every taste!
National Folk Festival
If you need to get rid of all those superfluous calories, perhaps you should arrange a visit to the National Folk Festival in the Australian Capital Territory.
As the name implies, it features plenty of musical acts with various ethnic roots and inspirations: Aboriginal performers, Klezmer ensembles, Celtic fiddlers, Cajun musicians, brass marching bands…
Moreover, the folklore festival will get you moving, too. It’s also famous for its numerous dance performances, venues, and workshops.
If you have ever wanted to take part in an Irish Ceili, unleash your passion in a sensuous Argentinean tango, or try historical “bush dancing” at an Australian Colonial ball, this is your chance.
In 2012, the spectacular Twilight Parade with its projections, lanterns, and illuminated floats attracted over 100,000 enthusiastic onlookers, and Sydney aims to make next year better than ever.
On the following days, you can cheer on local teams in the Dragon Boat Races, shop for Chinese gifts and crafts among numerous market stalls, or taste authentic dishes from Sichuan.
This Chinese province is renowned for its joie de vivre and spicy food, like hot pot, Mapo tofu, or Dan Dan noodles – yum!
The National Multicultural Festival
The National Multicultural Festival in Canberra has grown from a smallish event organized by the local Ethnics Communities council into a three-day celebration of multiculturalism in Australia.
In February 2013, the representatives of other a dozen African nations, of South Asian associations, of Greek and Turkish immigrants, of various Latin American performance groups, several EU member states, and the indigenous population will come together to showcase their respective heritage in Australian society.
The Greek Glendi with its food market and the famous live acts at the opening concert are particular favorites.
February 2013 also marks the passing of the Year of the Dragon.
All over Australia, East and Southeast Asian communities are going to welcome the Lunar New Year, which ushers in the Year of the Snake. Among these many celebrations, the Chinese New Year in Sydney is probably the best-known.
Have you been to any of these festivals?