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A Year of Festivals:A Guide to Having the Time of Your Life    by Lonely Planet order for
Year of Festivals
by Lonely Planet
Order:  USA  Can
Lonely Planet, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've never planned a trip around a regional festival, but have often been delighted to bump into one during my travels, whether a Buddhist celebration in Ladakh or simply a local flamenco dance that hotel staff in Spain invited us to attend with them. But I like the idea of actively seeking festivals around the world.

If you do too, then dip into Lonely Planet's new introduction to A Year of Festivals, billed as 'A Guide to Having the Time of Your Life'. It begins by asserting that 'Festivals are a Gift: loud, colourful occasions where people can get together with their families, friends and all the friends they're about to make' and continues to explain How to Plan the Time of Your Life! by looking through this volume that organizes festivals by week and by month. Festival reviews include enticing color photos, indicate Location, Level of Participation (spectator only to fully immersed in the party), describe the event itself, and also cover Essentials, Local Attractions, and where to find More Info online. So pick your month and jump right in!

What appeals to me? I like the look of the Indian Bikaner Camel Festival in January (Turkey also hosts a Camel Wrestling Festival, I kid you not!); in March, Holi (the 'most boisterous of Hindu festivals') in northern India and Nepal, and Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) in Japan; the May Pilgrimage of the Gitans (gypsies) in France; the June Dreaming aboriginal festival in Queensland, Australia; the July Gilroy Garlic Festival in California; the Galway Oyster Festival in September (yumm!); the Thai Surin Elephant Round-Up in November; and a Turkish Whirling Dervishes Festival in December. In addition to the weekly entries, there are sections on Mardi Gras; Festivals & Religion; Festivals & Food; Top Festival Locations; and From the Traveller (photos and commentary) at the back of the book.

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