Overcoming Destination Addiction Guideline #1: Seek Out Cultural Events & Festivals
In a previous article, The Road to Recovery for Those with Destination Addiction, I outlined the 12 different guidelines you should follow for discovering international culture within your current city, no passports or expensive plane tickets required. These guidelines are practical suggestions for activities you can do to temporarily fill the cultural void that manifests from not being able to travel and to help make life more bearable in the time in between your trips. Over the next few weeks I will go into greater depth with each individual guideline and provide concrete examples for how to put these guidelines into action within the context of my current city, Jacksonville, FL. In today’s article I will discuss the 1st Guideline, seek out cultural events and festivals, and how to use holidays as a method for achieving this.
Holidays are a cause for celebration and a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family…. They are also a great opportunity to seek out cultural events and festivals in your area. Most of the major holidays, such as New Years and Carnival, are celebrated all over the world with each country adding its own flavor and traditions to the festivities. Therefore, the holiday season is a great time to start searching for cultural festivals going on in your city either through Google or by scanning the pages of local publications for upcoming events. In this past month alone, Jacksonville was host to a Vietnamese New Year’s Festival and several Mardi Gras Events.
Hội Chợ Tết :Vietnamese New Year’s Celebration
“Bumping along in a sea of ebony silk hair and brightly colored ao ba bas (nylon pajama-like outfits) I received friendly smiles as vendors tried to motion me towards their booth. Sounds of muffled chatter were drowned out by the high pitched tonal melodies of the traditional music echoing from the main stage. Steaming bowls of pho adorned with handfuls of fresh mint leaves covered the picnic tables in the designated dining area as the smell of sweet pork and lemongrass filled the area.”
Describing this scene, I have to remind myself that I wasn’t at the Binh Than Market in Ho Chi Minh City, but that I was actually in the heart of downtown Jacksonville at the Fair Grounds. Every year the Vietnamese Association of Jacksonville hosts the New Year Celebration in order to promote Vietnamese cultural awareness in the Jacksonville community. This festival has over 15 different food vendors as well as live entertainment with traditional music, fashion and dances including the most widely recognized Lion Dance. Because Vietnam follows the Chinese Calendar, this New Year’s celebration typically falls at the end of January or the beginning of February.
Mardi Gras Events Around Jacksonville
Carnival, the Christian festive season that occurs before the observance of Lent, is one of the biggest parties across the globe. And while Carnival festivities look different in different parts of the world, masquerade parties in Venice and samba parades in Brazil, the most widely recognized version in the U.S. is known as Mardi Gras. And although I would have loved to make it over to New Orleans for the real deal, Jacksonville didn’t disappoint as a good substitute with the Mardi Gras Events it had around town.
- On February 4th Community Connections of Jacksonville hosted a Mardi Gras Party at the Garden Club in Riverside. The event had authentic Cajun food, an open bar and live music. Tickets for the event were priced between $35-$50 and all the proceeds went towards helping the homeless in Jacksonville.
- Blackfinn Ameripub in the Town Center held a Masquerade Party on February 5th with Mardi Gras themed cocktails
- The King Street District in Riverside hosted a Fat Tuesday block Party complete with beads, karaoke and lots of alcohol.