Holiday Traditions to Experience Around the World

Attend a street festival in Cuba, watch a parade of disguised Newfoundlanders in St. John's and celebrate Kwanzaa in New York City.

Mummers Festival. Photograph by Joel Upshall.

Every December, people all over North America celebrate the holidays with food, music and traditions unique to their culture. Revel in the magic of the season at one of these festive events.

Las Parrandas de Remedios in Cuba

Almost 200 years ago, a priest in Remedios—a city in Central Cuba—orchestrated an impromptu noisemaking parade to attract parishioners to his midnight mass. Today, this multi-day street party lives on in Remedios and culminates on Dec. 24 with rumba music, food vendors and a competition between local neighbourhoods to display the best-decorated floats and fireworks.

Mummers Festival in St. John’s

Mummering, a centuries-old British tradition brought to Newfoundland in the early 1800s, still lives on in the province over the holidays. Disguised in over-the-top attire, mummers call on their neighbours, who try to guess their identity. The tradition is celebrated during the Mummers Festival (Nov. 30 to Dec. 14) in St. John’s, which features a variety of events, including a parade.

Kwanzaa African Americans in New York City

First celebrated this cultural holiday, a weeklong fete across the United States, in the late 1960s as a way to honour their African heritage. On Dec. 30, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City hosts one of the largest Kwanzaa events in the country with musical acts, dancing and an international marketplace.