Location: Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal

Dates: 12–14 June

 

On the feast day of St Anthony, patron saint of Lisbon, the Portugese capital goes sardine crazy. The winding streets and steep staircases in Alfama, the city’s oldest quarter, fill with the smell of sardines being grilled outside little houses and restaurants.

Even by the standards of a coastal country where the population lives on fish dishes, the grilled treats consumed in honour of Anthony of Padua are a tasty snack. The tradition relates to a remarkable event that occurred while the 13th-century Catholic saint was in Rimini, Italy. Depressed that the locals would not listen to his sermons, he wandered to the shore to confide in the fish. Suddenly, row upon row of fish raised their heads above the waves, from nippers in the shallows to sizable listeners in the deep water. Rimini’s townsfolk flocked to witness the fish, which bowed their heads and opened their mouths to show their reverence to the wandering missionary.

There is a parade along Avenida de Liberdade and balconies everywhere are draped with coloured lights, streamers and paper lanterns. And the quirky practices don’t end with sardines. Single girls carry out all sorts of rituals to implore Anthony, known as the matchmaker saint, to help them find a worthy husband. The girl might fill her mouth with water until she hears a man’s name mentioned, or write her suitors’ names on pieces of paper, roll them up and place them in a bowl of water under her bed. In the morning, the piece of paper that has unfurled the most indicates the lucky man.

If girls are really sick of being single, they stand a small statue of Anthony upside down and bury its head, returning it to its proper position only when the hard-working saint has placed their case at the top of his long list of lonely hearts. Men, meanwhile, present the Portugese pomme of their eye with a basil plant containing a love poem. This is a popular practice, and balconies across the city sport pot plants and paper carnations with messages of affection for Anthony or the recipient.

 Unsurprisingly, a popular soundtrack for these activities is fado, the melancholy Portugese music imbued with a sense of longing. Bands often play alongside an image of the saint.

The matchmaking ploys must work. Mass marriages, known as St Anthony’s Weddings, take place in his church, where you can also see the tradition of St Anthony’s Bread. People write prayers and press them, with a small bread roll, into the frame of the saint’s portrait. The practice relates to a woman who agreed to give the poor an amount of wheat equal in weight to her drowned child, who Anthony revived.

 

Local Attractions: One of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Lisbon has architecture from Baroque to Art Deco on its seven hills.

 

More Info: www.visitportugal.com

 


 

 

WorldNomads.com - an essential part of every adventurous traveller’s journey. Check out more world festivals at WorldNomads.com

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Spain

 

 

Dates: 14–16 June


Billing itself as a festival of progressive music and multimedia arts, Sónar began in 1993 as a hobnobbing opportunity for the music industry and now attracts 80,000 electronica lovers. The cutting-edge festival is an appropriate excuse to visit Barcelona, where Gaudí built psychedelic buildings in the early 1900s and the Spanish Civil War inspired great literary accounts.

 

By day you can discover musical genres such as ‘digital concretism’ by checking out the showcases in the Museum of Contemporary Art and Centre of Contemporary Culture. The buildings, not far from La Rambla in central Barcelona, also host technology demonstrations, record and clothes fairs, multimedia art, and film screenings.

 

By night the chin stroking is replaced by flailing arms when the action shifts to a clubber’s nirvana, with four stages of live acts, DJs and VJs. No wonder the day’s programme starts at midday. The rollcall of international artists who have swung by the Catalonian capital for the event includes Aphex Twin, Björk, De La Soul, Richie Hawtin and the Chemical Brothers.

Essentials: Swot-up on what terms like ‘post-rock’ mean for conversations with electronica enthusiasts.

 

 

Local Attractions: If you have any energy left after climbing Gaudí’s modernist basilica, the Sagrada Família, Barcelona has galleries devoted to Picasso and the surrealist Miró, who both spent periods here.

 

 

More Info: www.sonar.es

Location: Palazzo Medici, Pisa, Italy 

Dates: 17 June

 

Venice may be famous for its gondolas, but across the country, Pisa stages this 1500m dash up the River Arno, a tradition dating to the 1290s. The four narrow rowboats, differently coloured to represent the city’s four districts, each contain a steersman, a climber, and eight oarsmen struggling against the current.

 

The finishing line is a boat anchored at Palazzo Medici, a location decided in 1737 upon the request of the Duke of Montelimar, who was staying in one of the palaces there. The climbers must scale one of four cables to the top of the boat’s 10m mast and grab apaliotto (triangular, silk banner). The blue banner indicates first place, white is second, and red is third. The winners receive an animal such as an ox or a rooster; the losers are awarded with a pair of goslings and torrents of abuse from onlookers.

 

 The regatta originally celebrated Assumption and moved to St Ranieri’s feast day in 1718. On the eve of the high-speed celebration of the city’s patron saint, Luminara is an altogether more sombre event. Some 70,000 candles in glass holders are arranged along the bridges, palaces and churches overlooking the river, their flickering reflections broken only by candles bobbing on the water.

  

Local Attractions: Pisa is famous for its 12th-century leaning tower, which was recently straightened by 45cm to save it from collapse.

 


 

 

WorldNomads.com - an essential part of every adventurous traveller’s journey. Check out more world festivals at WorldNomads.com

Location: Dublin, Ireland

 

Dates: 16 June

 

In order to create the critical distance required to write about Dublin, the great Irish scribe James Joyce went into self-imposed exile. In contrast, the biggest decision Bloomsday’s Joyce-loving participants face is which pub to visit next.

 

The Joyce fest takes place on the date when the writer took his future wife Nora on their first outing in 1904. This was also the day he chose to set his scarily long masterpiece,Ulysses. Bloomsday’s literary pilgrims make life reflect art by descending on the locations visited by the novel’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom. The tradition began in 1954, when some local writers commandeered horse-drawn cabs and attempted to visit all the locations in the modernist yarn.

 

Dressed in Edwardian costume, Joyceans from around the world stop at landmarks such as Davy Byrne’s pub, where they mimic Bloom and tuck into a gorgonzola cheese sandwich and a glass of burgundy. Beginning with a full Irish breakfast – another reference to the kidney-scoffing Bloom, not to mention a good fortification for all the ‘dark stuff’ to come – the day includes readings, performances, guided walks and talks. Fanatics have held marathon readings of the 250,000-word novel, and the centenary celebrations in 2004 saw 10,000 people treated to an open-air full Irish breakfast.

 

Local Attractions: The capital of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin is brimming with beautiful Georgian architecture and inviting pubs.

 

More Info: www.visitdublin.com

 


 

 

WorldNomads.com - an essential part of every adventurous traveller’s journey. Check out more world festivals at WorldNomads.com

Location: Grande Piazza, Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy

Dates: Penultimate Saturday in June and first Sunday in September

 

Taking the baton from Siena’s Il Palio, Arezzo’s medieval jousting tournament is like taking a ride in a time machine to the days of knights and maidens. Churches are decorated with pictures of 12th-century crusaders and the streets fill with costumes from an era predating even Giorgio Vasari, the Renaissance heavyweight who grew up here.

 

Following a blessing by the bishop on the steps on the 13th-century cathedral, the parade ends in the Grande Piazza, the venue for the afternoon’s archaic fun. Proceedings are begun by the sbandieratori (flag wavers), touting the standards so loved by territorial medieval types. The jousters and their horses sport the colours and symbols of Arezzo’s four districts, which are all hoping to win the Golden Lance. Rather than aiming their lances at each other, contestants score points by hitting a wooden target held by a carving of a Saracen (Islamic) king.

The tradition possibly derives from a jousting display held to honour a knight in the late 13th century, and was certainly going strong by the early 19th century.

 

Essentials: Wear a doublet or tunic for that heraldic look. 

 

Local Attractions: Arezzo was bombed heavily in WWII but many Renaissance and Gothic buildings still stand. The Chiesa di San Francesco contains frescoes by Piero della Francesca.

 

More Info: www.lagiostradelsaracino.it in Italian

 


 

 

WorldNomads.com - an essential part of every adventurous traveller’s journey. Check out more world festivals at WorldNomads.com

http://www.theflatlakefestival.com/Home/Welcome

Co Monaghan, Ireland

Snape Maltings
In 1948, British composer Benjamin Britten; tenor Peter Pears, his companion and collaborator, and Eric Crozier, Britten’s frequent librettist, founded the Aldeburgh festival as a home for their touring opera company, the English Opera Group.

The aim of the Aldeburgh festival was to produce fresh interpretations of classic repertoire as well as to rediscover forgotten works. Now more than 60 years old, the festival develops long term relationships with established musicians and younger artists. It attracts audiences and artists from all over the world.

Snape Maltings

The Maltings at Snape is a collection of Victorian buildings, barns and workshops beside the Alde estuary, near the Suffolk Coast. Covering seven acres, the site has restaurants, shops, galleries, guided walks and river trips along the Alde.

The concert hall occupies what had been one of the largest barley “maltings” in East Anglia, used for malting grain until 1965. It is now one of the most important arts venues in the East of England, with a concert hall conversion by Arup Associates, leading British designers.

 

http://www.aldeburgh.co.uk/

 

When: June/July
Where: Gregynog, Wales
Gregynog Festival, or G?yl Gregynog in Welsh, is the oldest extant classical music festival in Wales and takes place each summer atGregynog Hall in the village of Tregynon, near NewtownPowys, mid-Wales.

Festival

When: June 29
Where: Haro, Spain

Haro Wine Festival is a festival in the town of Haro in the La Rioja region of northern Spain. It is held every year in the summer and involves wine drinking competitions and contests and a Batalla de Vino (Battle of Wine) where wines are poured at each other from buckets.

The celebration takes place on June 29, the day of the patron saint San Pedro. The day begins at 7:00 am, with a procession of people old and young, dressed in white shirts and red scarves, all carrying jugs, bottles, botas and other types of containers filled with red wine. Led by the town’s mayor, on horseback, the procession winds through the town to the Cliffs of Bilibio, where a mass is celebrated at the Hermitage of San Felices de Bilibio. After the mass a true free-for-all begins, with everyone tossing wine on each other until all are soaked from head to foot. There is a sea of wet, pink shirts everywhere. Then at noon everyone returns to town to celebrate at the Plaza de la Paz, followed by bullfights in the town’s bullring. But the bullfights are only for the youth, and the “bulls” are actually just heifers. [1]