What's on around the world in July
If you're hoping to shake off the winter blues by taking a trip overseas, then you are in luck because this July, some of the biggest and best events in the world are on offer. From dancing at Heiva in Tahiti to celebrating Bastille Day in France, there's so much to experience this July!
Matariki, New Zealand
28th June to 28th July
Traditional Maori New Year, Matariki, gets its name from a small cluster of stars that can be seen during the winter. The event is celebrated differently amongst the many Maori tribes within New Zealand, but for most, the first new moon after the rise of the Matariki stars indicates the beginning of a new year. There are events and festivities all around the country to bring in the New Year. The Matariki Festival in Auckland runs all month and is an uplifting celebration of New Zealand culture with lots of live music, theatre, poetry, art and family fun. You can also catch Matariki events at the Te Papa museum in Wellington and the Puaka Matariki Festival in Dunedin.
3rd to 19th July
This year is the 133rd edition of this spectacular Tahitian festival. Heiva was banned for many years by Christian missionaries who deemed the traditional Tahitian dances obscene. Now the annual event is more than a festival, it's a celebration of the resilience and vitality of Polynesian culture and heritage. For visitors, watching the amazing dancers in elaborate costumes and hearing the infectious slit drums makes Heiva a unique experience and a party to remember!
Independence Day, USA
No matter where in the USA you find yourself on the 4th of July, you're in for a party! Independence Day celebrations are held all around the country, and they generally involve fireworks and barbeques. Some of the most famous festivities include the fireworks display in New York, which this year will light up the Statue of Libertyi; and Boston, where half a million people usually turn out to see the concert and fireworksii. However, the ultimate 4th of July experience is arguably in Washington DC, where the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial are lit up with fireworks as the National Symphony Orchestra booms in the backgroundiii.
Tour de France and Bastille Day, France
5th July to 27th July and 14th July
The 101st Tour de France will test the endurance of some of the finest athletes in the world this month, as they race for the yellow jersey. This year's course includes nine flat stages, five hills, six mountains and one individual time trial with just two rest days. By the time they reach the finish line in Paris, the cyclists will have covered 3,656km. The route encompasses some of France's most beautiful scenery and anyone can watch the race along the way.
Bastille Day is celebrated all over the world, from Budapest to New Orleans, but in France it is la Fête Nationale, the national celebration, and an event like no other! If you are lucky enough to be in Paris on the 14th of July, you can expect a celebration that engulfs the whole city. The day starts with the Military Parade along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, to commemorate the storming of the Bastille. By night, tourists and locals alike can enjoy the spectacular fireworks launched from Trocadero which light up the Eiffel Tower. The fire stations of Paris are open to everyone on the 13th and 14th from 9pm to 4am for the traditional Fireman's Ball.
Fiesta de Merengue, Dominican Republic
6th to 14th July
The infectious 2/4 beat of Merengue music and its sheer diversity has made it the official music style of the Dominican Republic. In celebration of Merengue, the Fiesta de Merengue runs for two weeks every summer, with bands and DJs descending on the waterfront of El Malecon, to create one of the world's most vibrant and biggest dance parties. This might be partly due to the location: the palm tree lined 7km Santo Domingo boardwalk is particularly stunning in summeriii. You'll be dancing along with the modern Merengue performers before you know it!
Commonwealth Games, Scotland
23rd July to 3rd August
This July, the Scottish city of Glasgow plays host to the 20th Commonwealth Games. The games will bring together some of the best athletes in the world from 70 nationsiv to compete in 17 sports, including rugby sevens and netballv. Where the Olympics have the torch, the Commonwealth Games have the Queen's Baton, which this year will make an epic journey through 71 nations and territories to the Opening Ceremonyvi. There are still some tickets availablevi, so go ahead and cheer on the Aussie team in Scotland!
Those of us in the Southern Hemisphere might be tiring of winter, but in the North, summer is in full swing and some of the biggest events in the world are on. For the adventurous, or the foolhardy, the San Fermin Festival and the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona runs from the 6th to the 14thvii of July and is an event like none other in the world. Meanwhile, the White Night Festival runs all through summer in St. Petersburg, Russia and finishes on the 10th of July. It's an opportunity for art lovers to see some of the best classical ballet, opera and music events in the worldviii. Fans of world music will come together in south-west England for the Womad festival, from the 24th to 27th of July, to hear music from every corner of the globeix.