Agenda: Calendar of festivals

The Tamborrada festival (above) in San Sebastian, Spain, takes place in January every year, while the Rainbow Serpent festival (left) in Victoria, Australia, is a celebration of music, art and spirituality.
The Tamborrada festival (above) in San Sebastian, Spain, takes place in January every year, while the Rainbow Serpent festival in Victoria, Australia, is a celebration of music, art and spirituality. PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO, RAINBOW SERPENT FESTIVAL FACEBOOK/ SIMON NGUYEN
The Tamborrada festival (above) in San Sebastian, Spain, takes place in January every year, while the Rainbow Serpent festival (left) in Victoria, Australia, is a celebration of music, art and spirituality.
The Tamborrada festival in San Sebastian, Spain, takes place in January every year, while the Rainbow Serpent festival (above) in Victoria, Australia, is a celebration of music, art and spirituality. PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO, RAINBOW SERPENT FESTIVAL FACEBOOK/ SIMON NGUYEN

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

Venture to Cartagena, a romantic, old port city on Colombia's Caribbean coast, for an unforgettable festival of classical music from the Old and New worlds.

The annual Cartagena International Music Festival takes place in the city's 16th-century Old Town, along the cobblestoned streets, squares and brightly painted colonial buildings, which inspired Colombia's most famous author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The theme for next year's festival is "El Gusto por la Forma. El estilo clasico", which means "the taste for form: the classical style".

Musical masters will perform their compositions as interpreted through the musical styles, which were developed by Europe's greatest composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven and Bach.

About 40 concerts will be held during the 11-day festival, as well as free masterclasses for aspiring and professional Colombian musicians; guitar-making and repair workshops for all ages; a pipe-and-drum-building workshop; along with exhibits, conferences and events to highlight the region's unique culture.

When: Friday to Jan 16

Info: www.cartagenamusicfestival.com


AHMEDABAD, GUJARAT, INDIA

As the sun transitions into the Capricorn zodiac, millions of kites take to the sky during the annual Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan, India's kite-flying festival. It is celebrated all over the country, but it is at its height in Ahmedabad, where hundreds of thousands of people crowd the rooftops to fly and battle kites of all shapes and colours.

The festival is typically celebrated on Jan 14, but the city also holds an International Kite Festival, with competitions among the country's best kite-makers from Jan 7 to 15.

It is an especially auspicious festival for farmers, as it signifies the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

When: Jan 7 to 15

Info: tinyurl.com/y8ya7spo


SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN

Every year at midnight on Jan 20, more than 15,000 Donostiarras - the people of San Sebastian - gather in the Basque city's main square and start a 24-hour marathon of the drumming of the song, March Of San Sebastian.

Called the Tamborrada, the festival has its roots in the early 19th century during the Peninsular War, when Napoleon's army conquered San Sebastian and burned large swathes of the city to the ground. In defiance of the occupation, some women began banging their buckets and pans to mock the French troops as they marched through the city. Over time, it became a symbol of Basque identity and defiance and, today, it is San Sebastian's most important festival.

When: Jan 20

Info: tinyurl.com/yadfdjt4


JAIPUR, RAJASTHAN, INDIA

This North Indian city's breathtaking forts and historic palaces form the backdrop of one of the world's greatest literary festivals.

Tens of thousands of book and culture lovers descend on the city during the Jaipur Literary Festival every January to listen and learn from some of the world's best writers, journalists and thinkers, including Nobel, Man Booker, and Pulitzer prize winners, over the course of the five-day programme.

More than 250 speakers will take part in next year's edition, headlined by authors such as Amy Tan, Helen Fielding, Michael Ondaatje and Pico Iyer, poet Rupi Kaur, playwright Tom Stoppard and former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai.

The speakers represent 35 nationalities and more than 20 international languages. Discussions will be translated so every visitor can participate in the readings, talks and workshops, which are all free and open to the public.

When: Jan 25 to 29

Info: jaipurliteraturefestival.org


LEXTON, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA

For 20 years, the Rainbow Serpent festival has drawn thousands of people to the town of Lexton, Victoria, about a two-hour drive west of Melbourne.

Although it is not an aboriginal festival, it takes its name from the aboriginal rainbow serpent deity, most commonly found in the indigenous people's dreamtime and creation stories.

The festival is a celebration of music, art and spirituality, with five days of performances by local and international DJs and bands across multiple stages; the presentation of visual and performance art by about 100 artists; roving street performers and a festival village with stalls offering food, healing therapies and locally handmade products.

When: Jan 26 to 29

Info: www.rainbowserpent.net

Lydia Vasko

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 31, 2017, with the headline Agenda: Calendar of festivals. Subscribe