Tis the season to start planning your holiday getaway! Give your holiday a global twist this year and embark on a multi-cultural getaway at an affordable price to see how the other half of the world commemorates this special time of year. Below are some examples of international traditions from Copenhagen, Barcelona, Mexico and the Dominican Republic offering great holiday travel deals with a cultural twist.
- J Day Christmas Beer Celebration (November 1-3): In the U.S., Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the race to Christmas. But in Denmark, the Christmas race starts on J-day. This day is the momentous occasion when at exactly 8:59pm on November 1, the 140-year old Tuborg Brewery releases its Julebryg Christmas Brew. This high-octane libation will fuel most holiday festivities in the country for the next six weeks.
- Generator Hostels is joining in on the fun by offering the J day Celebration package at its Copenhagen property. The package includes J day Beef Stew, beer vouchers, Carlsberg Brewery tour, live performances, party and more. Travelers can choose dorm style (starting at $92 per person, per night) or private room accommodations (starting at $157 per person, per night). Their email is email@example.com.
- The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8): Feast of the Roman Catholic Church is a national holiday and has a distinct feel of being the start of the Christmas period in Barcelona. The activity is focused around the Christmas markets, restaurants and churches. The most popular Christmas market in Barcelona is the Fira De Santa Llúcia, in the square of Barcelona Cathedral. For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, many Spanish families go there to buy their Christmas trees, mistletoe and decorations. This feast day is also an opportunity for families to visit the impressive nativity scene outside the Town Hall in Plaça Sant Jaume.
- Christmas market (December 13 and on): Around the cathedral where travelers will find a variety of Christmas nativity scenes, Christmas trees, crafts and Christmas decorations. The market takes place up until 6 January.
- Winter swimming (December 26) Takes place in the dock where hundreds, mostly young people plunge into the cold water.
- Holy procession of the Three Kings (January 5): In Port Vell (Old Port), the “Magos” lay down with their ship and pull in a long procession through the city. Their train is lined with old and young as they throw candy to children. The kids awake in the morning on January 6th with their gifts, which the Holy three kings brought.
- Los Posadas Celebration (December 16-25): A nine-day celebration leading up to Christmas, Los Posadas is a widely-celebrated tradition in Mexico. Posadas — which means lodging or accommodations in Spanish — symbolizes Joseph and Mary’s quest for lodging in Bethlehem with the nine days representing Mary’s nine months of pregnancy carrying baby Jesus. The 400-year-old colorful Mexican tradition is celebrated through a re-enactment of the journey incorporating candlelight processions, songs, prayers and games such as piñatas. Notable attractions that host dedicated Los Posadas celebrations include eco-archeological park, Xcaret, in Riviera Maya.
- Barceló Maya Beach Resort’s five all-inclusive Riviera Maya properties are providing guests with a traditional holiday experience including mass at the on-site Catholic church, lighted displays, piñata breaking and a variety of seasonal treats. Rates start at $95 per person, per night all-inclusive based on double occupancy. Contact them at 1-800-227-2356.
- Sandos Hotels & Resorts’ four Mexico resorts are celebrating the holiday season by immersing guests in authentic Mexican holiday traditions. Travelers can participate in gourmet Mexican cooking classes at Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort (Cancun); observe donkeys and other native animals that were part of Mary and Joseph’s journey at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa (Riviera Maya); and join in on singing and dancing at one of the holiday fiestas at the new Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos (Los Cabos). Rates start at $95 per person, per night all-inclusive based on double occupancy and resort choice. You can contact them at 1-866-336-4083.
- Three Kings Celebration (January 4-6): Extending the Christmas season longer than most countries, Three Kings Day is one of the biggest holiday celebrations in the Dominican Republic. During the multi-day festivities, groups of musicians (pericos ripiaos) sing and play merengue; traditional holiday decorations remain intact; and children place grass, water and food under their bed the eve of January 5 for the wise men and their camels when they visit. As part of the celebration finale, towns host a Three Kings processional and families exchange gifts.
- Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort’s two all-inclusive resorts provide travelers with a tropical sanctuary to celebrate the holidays in style. Guests can experience traditional mass ceremonies at the on-site Catholic Church, learn merengue dancing from a professional dancer, watch holiday performances in the Vegas-style theatre, try their luck at the casino and indulge in authentic Dominican cuisine at one of the many restaurants on property. Rates start at $122 per person, per night all-inclusive based on double occupancy. Contact the hotel at 1-800-227-2356.
*The above is a supplied press release