If you find the adventures of Robin Hood fascinating, or simply want to learn more about traditional English sports, why not visit the annual longbow shooting competition at Belsay Hall in Northumberland? Using hand-made traditional longbows, rivals will participate in a blazon contest, featuring a diamond-shaped target, and a tough shoot-out, with a two- inch wide willow wand at 50 yards for a target. If you're inspired you can even have a go yourself.
The end of June sees the colourful procession of the venerated image of St Peter, fondly called "Apung Iru" by the people of Apalit in central Luzon. From its sanctuary at Capalangan, the image is carried on a floating pagoda along the Pampanga River. After a visit to the parish church in Apalit, it is brought back to Capalangan. The festival activities include a cleanliness competition, beauty pageants, outdoor concerts and an agro- industrial fair.
The battleground of Haro, in the Rioja province of Spain, looks nothing like a war zone. Instead of green fatigues, the warriors wear traditional white costumes and their weapons are leather bottles filled with a total of 60,000 litres of red wine. The annual Batalla del Vino is, in short, a mad free-for-all. And in recent years it has become even more of a splash. Enthusiasts have been swapping the old leather bottles, with their limited squirting capacity, for artillery such as plant-spraying equipment.
29 JUNE AND 1 JULY
The Brussels Ommegang parade was established to commemorate the transfer - some might say theft - of the miraculous statue of Our Lady on the Branch, "Notre-Dame sur la Branche", from Antwerp Cathedral. The statue was taken by a "virtuous" woman who claimed she had a vision of the Virgin instructing her to move the statue to Brussels so that it could be venerated by Belgians. Although it has lost most of its religious character, the parade is still one of the most awe-inspiring spectacles to be seen in Belgium. It is held in the prestigious Grand' Place, which is ablaze with light for the occasion. The styles recall the pomp and ceremony of a splendid celebration held there to honour Charles V and his court in the 16th century. Descendants of the nobility still play their hereditary roles, wearing the coats of arms of their ancestors.
The Week of the Winged Dragon transforms the streets of Nyirbator into a cheerful carnival bustle. The festival symbolises the shared dreams of Nyirbator's citizens and builds on old folk traditions and dragon-filled fairytales. Some 30 to 40 Hungarian and foreign troupes, as well as renowned soloists, appear each year in this international street-theatre festival. Among the many events are dragon burnings, drum shows, pantomimes, Renaissance music recitals, dance performances and puppet shows. There will be daily dance tuition, handicraft sessions and a funfair for children.
Roskilde takes pride in being North Europe's largest four-day rock festival. At the beginning of July around 70,000 music lovers camp in Zealand to enjoy 96 hours of music. Marilyn Manson, Blur, REM, Suede and Skunk Anansie are teaming up with legends such as Blondie and Culture Club and rising stars Faithless and Placebo. New for the year is the first festival techno stage in which British Hallucinogen, Death in Vegas and Orbital will pump up the volume.
1 JULY - 2 AUGUST
The Crop Over festival was originally a celebration heralding the end of the sugar crop, and was characterised by feasting and dancing in the plantation yards. Today the island's biggest national festival features daily slates of cultural, historical, and musical events, from fiercely contested calypso competitions to massive street markets. The festival culminates with Grand Kadooment, an explosion of colour and excitement in which more than 25 bands compete for prizes, followed by a five-mile parade.
Quebec hosts a musical maelstrom, with daily parades and riverboat cruises, during the Festival International de Montreal. This year the city is celebrating both the birth of jazz in New Orleans 100 years ago and its own 20th birthday. Joe Lovano, one of the finest jazz saxophonists and celebrated Montreal pianist Oliver Jones are among the many featured artists. The spirits of legends such as Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald will be remembered in the opening tribute concert and at events throughout the festival.
MARIE FOSSEReuse content