Daily Escape

bastille day, fireworks, paris, france, holiday, celebration, eiffel tower

Photo by AFP / Getty Images

Bastille Day Fireworks

Paris, France

The streets of Paris become even livelier during the annual La Fête Nationale on July 14. In the early morning, head to the Champs-Élysées to see the largest regular military parade in Europe. Delight in the city’s museums -- many of which are free in honor of the holiday. Afterwards, have an early dinner and then stake out your spot in the Champ de Mars garden for the perfect view of the Eiffel Tower’s fireworks. It’s a national celebration indeed.


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Hanukkah in Jerusalem’s Old City
Jerusalem’s Old City

Jerusalem’s Old City

A Hanukkah menorah (also known as a “chanukiah”) glows in front of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City. The 8-day festival commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the 2nd century B.C. 960 1280

Reuters/Ronen Zvulun  

Mumbai, India

Mumbai, India

The father of a slain rabbi's wife lights a menorah in front of the landmark Gateway of India monument in Mumbai, a month after militants attacked several sites in the city, including a Jewish cultural center, back in 2008. Mumbai is currently home to 8 synagogues. Plans are underway to rebuild the Jewish center.
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Pal Pillai/ AFP/ Getty Images  

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

A menorah stands on the White House Ellipse during the annual national Hanukkah menorah-lighting ceremony in Washington, DC. In 1979, Jimmy Carter became the first US president to participate in a public Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony on the National Mall. Later, President Bill Clinton led the first ceremony of its kind inside the White House. 960 1280

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images  

NYC

NYC

Head to NYC to see the world’s largest Hanukkah menorah -- 32 feet high and weighing 4,000 pounds. The 9-branched, gold-colored steel candelabrum stands on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, across from Central Park, during the holiday, and was designed by contemporary Israeli artist Yaacov Agam. 960 1280

Chris Hondros/Getty Images  

Berlin

Berlin

Rabbis Shmuel Segal and Yehuda Teichtal of the Jewish Orthodox group Chabad help erect a menorah in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate on Dec. 7, 2012, ahead of Hanukkah celebrations. These days, Berlin is seeing a resurgence of Jewish life, including an estimated 20,000 Israelis. 960 1280

Reuters/Thomas Peter   

Paris

Paris

With the Eiffel Tower in the background, the chief rabbi of France (right) and the Israeli ambassador to France (center), prepare to light a menorah on Dec. 20, 2011, at the Champs de Mars in Paris. These days, France is home to nearly 500,000 Jews. 960 1280

Mehdi Fedouach/AFP/Getty Images   

London’s Trafalgar Square

London’s Trafalgar Square

London’s Trafalgar Square glows from the light of a giant menorah, as a crowd watches the festivities unfold. The lighting ceremony is an annual event in this central London space, in a city that’s home to roughly 250,000 Jews. 960 1280

Reuters/Luke MacGregor   

South Beach Miami

South Beach Miami

A menorah made out of … seashells? Yep, that’s right. This towering creation -- made of more than 10,000 seashells, each personally collected by the artist himself -- was the handiwork of jazz musician Roger Abramson. 960 1280

Wally Gobetz, flickr  

Israel: Sukkot
Israel: Sukkot

Israel: Sukkot

Sukkot (Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles) is a biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei, which is between late September and late October. On this special occasion, Jewish people reflect on how the Israelites felt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the exodus from slavery in Egypt, as referenced in the Bible. The 7-day tradition includes special prayer services and holiday meals. 960 1280

Reuters  

Canada: Jour de l'Action de Grâce

Canada: Jour de l'Action de Grâce

Canadians celebrate Jour de l'Action de Grâce, aka Thanksgiving Day, on the second Monday in October. Similar to the American Thanksgiving, people in Canada reserve this time to celebrate the harvest and other blessing of the past year. And Canucks enjoy a good feast, too. During the holiday weekend, most families have the big Thanksgiving meal on Sunday or on Monday. 960 1280

Monkey Business Images  

Korea: Chuseok

Korea: Chuseok

Chuseok, a major harvest festival and 3-day holiday in Korea, is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Koreans return to their hometowns to perform traditional rituals in the morning to remember their ancestors. Family members also visit and clean up the area around the tombs of their immediate ancestors, before offering food, drink and crops to their lost loved ones. Japchae, bulgogi and songpyeon (a crescent-shaped rice cake) are popular foods prepared during the holiday. 960 1280

riNux, Flickr  

Vietnam: Tết Trung Thu Festival

Vietnam: Tết Trung Thu Festival

In Vietnam, people celebrate the Tết Trung Thu Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival) in September or in early October. This fall celebration is also known as the Children’s Festival. The Vietnamese believe children are symbols of innocence and purity -- the closest connection to the sacred and natural world. Children light lanterns and perform lion dances as part of the celebration. This is the second most important holiday tradition in Vietnam. 960 1280

Viethavvh, Wikimedia Commons  

UK: London's Harvest Festival

UK: London's Harvest Festival

Locals and tourists with “green thumbs” converge on London to stroll through the city’s Harvest Festival in October. Organized by the Royal Horticultural Society, this festival has several fun activities including the Fruit & Vegetable Competition, which highlights the UK’s best growers and their best produce. Gardening tips, apple tasting and a giant pumpkin contest are other featured events held during the 2-day festival. 960 1280

Reuters  

Ghana: Homowo Festival

Ghana: Homowo Festival

Ga people celebrate Homowo, a festival to commemorate the pre-colonial famine that occurred in Ghana. The festival starts in May during the planting of the crops -- just before the rainy season begins. The celebration includes marching in the streets with drums, face painting, singing and performing traditional dances, like the Kpanlogo. 960 1280

Reuters  

Germany: Erntedankfest

Germany: Erntedankfest

Although it’s not an official holiday, Germans celebrate Erntedankfest (The Harvest of Thanks) on the first Sunday in October. Usually a church-organized celebration, this harvest festival includes several fun activities including a Thanksgiving parade and carnival with elaborate decorations made from harvested fruits and vegetables. 960 1280

madle-fotowelt.de, flickr  

China: August Moon Festival

China: August Moon Festival

Celebrated in China, the August Moon Festival is a 1,000-year-old tradition for the Chinese to reflect on the bounty of the summer harvest, the fullness of the moon and the myth of the immortal goddess, Chang O, who lives in the moon. Millions of Mooncakes -- flaky, round, semi-sweet pastries -- are given as gifts during this celebration. The festival is often thought of as “Chinese Thanksgiving” because of its spirit of gratitude and abundant food. 960 1280

Shizhao, Wikimedia Commons  

India: Pongal

India: Pongal

Pongal is a 4-day festival celebrated January 12th through the 15th, to mark the beginning of the end of the winter season in India. The second day, Surya Pongal, is the most important day of the festival. On this day, people throw their old clothes into the fire, have an oil massage and then wear new clothes, to worship Surya, the sun god. During the festival, cattle are bathed, dressed and served pongal (rice boiled in milk), women of the house perform puja for the prosperity of their brothers, and families decorate their floor with decorative patterns using rice flour. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Barbados: Crop Over

Barbados: Crop Over

The Crop Over, a traditional harvest festival in Barbados, features singing, dancing, climbing a greased pole, feasting, drinking competitions and a calypso music competition. The celebration starts in June and ends on the first Monday in August. With street parties, craft markets, food tents, Crop Over has evolved into Barbados’ biggest national festival -- similar to Carnival in Brazil and Trinidad. 960 1280

Getty Images