Agenda: Calendar of festivals

At the George Town Festival, watch shows such as Hakanai, a solo dance with animated images that change according to the rhythm of sounds. Thousands of dancers travel to Buenos Aires to compete in the Mundial de Tango, the world's most important inte
At the George Town Festival, watch shows such as Hakanai, a solo dance with animated images that change according to the rhythm of sounds. PHOTO: ROMAIN ETIENNE
At the George Town Festival, watch shows such as Hakanai, a solo dance with animated images that change according to the rhythm of sounds. Thousands of dancers travel to Buenos Aires to compete in the Mundial de Tango, the world's most important inte
Thousands of dancers travel to Buenos Aires to compete in the Mundial de Tango, the world's most important international tango dance competition.PHOTO: TANGO BUENOS AIRES

GEORGE TOWN, PENANG, MALAYSIA

The most anticipated event on George Town's cultural calendar is the annual George Town Festival, a month-long celebration of arts, culture and heritage.

Started in 2008 to honour the gazetting of the city as a Unesco World Heritage Site, the festival hosts more than a hundred workshops, talks and performances by world-class local and international artists.

From film to music, photography, dance and theatre across all genres and themes, there is something for each of the festival's thousands of visitors to enjoy.

This year's highlights include Hakanai, a solo dance performance that unfolds through a series of images in motion; A Simple Space by Australian acrobatic troupe Gravity & Other Myths; Anthar Agni, a multicultural music and dance celebration of fire by Temple of Fine Arts; and Cell, a blend of modern puppetry, physical theatre and an original score which tells the story of a man's final adventure by British theatre troupe Smoking Apples.

When: Till Sept 3

Info: georgetownfestival.com


WEST ISLANDS, ICELAND

Verslunarmannahelgi (Shopkeepers weekend) is the biggest domestic travel and festival weekend in Iceland.

People generally leave the cities and head to the countryside to gather with friends and family at a campsite, attend festivals and sing folk songs around a campfire.

The biggest and most popular of the Verslunarmannahelgi celebrations takes place on West Islands, off the mainland.

It started in 1874, when bad weather prevented the island locals from travelling to the mainland to celebrate, so they held a party of their own.

Today, anywhere from 10,000 to 16,000 mainland Icelanders travel to West Islands for the three-day festival, to pitch their tents, enjoy family-friendly activities during the day and concerts and dances at night and listen to some of Iceland's most famous folk-singers perform traditional songs.

Icelanders will also host tent parties where Icelandic folk songs are served with a side of smoked puffin. It is a great opportunity to get to know the locals.

When: Aug 4 to 6

Info: dalurinn.is/en


BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

From the brothels of Buenos Aires, the passionate and sensual tango is now found in dance halls around the world.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of international tango lovers and dancers converge in Buenos Aires for the two-week World Tango Festival, said to be the largest tango-related festival with 2,000 performers and nearly half a million visitors.

All manner of tangueros (tango dancers), from hobbyists to enthusiasts to competitive professionals, gather to attend open-air dances that literally fill the squares and streets of the city, listen to talks by local tango legends and watch the best of the best perform.

The Mundial de Tango, the Tango World Championship, where the world's finest tango dancers compete against one another, is the highlight of the festival.

When: Aug 10 to 23

Info: festivales.buenosaires.gob.ar/en/tango


MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, THE UNITED STATES

Though he died 40 years ago, the legend of Elvis Presley is alive and well in Graceland, his mansion and 5ha estate in Elvis Presley Boulevard in Memphis, Tennessee.

Every year, around the anniversary of his death, Graceland hosts Elvis Week, with Elvis Fan reunions, an auction of Elvis-related artefacts, dances, performances and talks about the late singer's influence on music; and a candlelight vigil which starts on Aug 15 and lasts into the early morning of Aug 16, the day he died.

When: Aug 11 to 19

Info: www.graceland.com/elvisweek


GOA, INDIA

One of Hinduism's biggest festivals, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrates the birthday of elephant god Ganesha, one of Hinduism's most revered gods, known as the remover of obstacles, the patron of the arts and sciences and the deity of intellect and wisdom.

The festival starts on the fourth day of the Hindu lunar calendar month Bhadrapada with prayers, fasting, the creation and reverence of clay Ganesha idols in colourful temporary shrines and the offering of modak, an Indian sweet dumpling which is said to be Ganesha's favourite food.

It ends 10 days later with a procession and the immersion of the Ganesha idol in a nearby body of water.

The clay idol then dissolves in the water and Ganesha is believed to return to his parents Parvati and Shiva at the summit of Mount Kailash.

When: Aug 25 to Sept 5

Info: bit.ly/1UGMZpF

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 30, 2017, with the headline 'Agenda: Calendar of festivals'. Print Edition | Subscribe