Hanukkah Around the World

Ever seen a Hanukkah menorah made entirely of seashells? How about one that weighs 4,000 pounds? Take an illuminating tour of this annual Festival of Lights as it's celebrated around the world.

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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  

masked, carnival, venice, italy
Venice Carnival

Venice Carnival

Masked participants stand in St. Mark’s Square during the Carnival festivities in Venice, Italy. Carnival traditionally commemorates the passing of winter, with parties, costumes and balls, in the run-up to the Christian observation of Lent. 960 1280

Franco Origlia/Getty Images  

Sail on the Rio Canareggio

Sail on the Rio Canareggio

Boats carrying Carnival participants sail on the Rio Canareggio during a boat parade in Venice, Italy. 960 1280

Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images  

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Revelers beg for beads to be tossed from a balcony in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The annual Mardi Gras celebration ends at midnight, when the Catholic Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. 960 1280

Pat Semansky  

Carnival in Croatia

Carnival in Croatia

Bellmen ring their bells to chase evil spirits of winter away at the International Carnival Parade in Croatia's Adriatic port city of Rijeka. 960 1280

Reuters/Nikola Solic  

Satire on Parade

Satire on Parade

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is depicted as a sultan on a float  during a Carnival parade in Viareggio, Italy. This version of Carnival is characterized by political and religious satire. 960 1280

Reuters/Marco Bucco  

Carnival with a Chinese Twist

Carnival with a Chinese Twist

A red dragon and Chinese masks are seen on a float during a Carnival parade in Viareggio, Italy. 960 1280

Reuters/Marco Bucco  

Carnival in Rio

Carnival in Rio

A reveler on one of the Salgueiro samba school's floats participates in the first night of the Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro. 960 1280

Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images  

Samba at Carnival

Samba at Carnival

A member of the Mocidade samba school participates in the second night of the Carnival parade in the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro. 960 1280

Reuters/Sergio Moraes  

Carnival in Greece

Carnival in Greece

Carnival participants perform at Athens' suburb of Moschato during a parade marking Carnival celebrations. Many towns throughout Greece stage festivities attended by thousands of people with celebrations peaking on March 17. 960 1280

Reuters  

Carnival in Panama

Carnival in Panama

A fire-eater performs in Panama City, Panama. Panama is one of several Latin American countries, such as Brazil, that celebrate Carnival -- the pre-Lenten festival that mixes Catholic and -pagan rituals. 960 1280

Reuters/Alberto Lowe  

Carnival Fun for All

Carnival Fun for All

Little Manuel Aguilar tries to borrow local Maria Pascual's headwear during Panama's Carnival celebration. Panamanians closed their offices to enjoy a 4-day Carnival spree. 960 1280

Reuters