Grantourismo December Competition - Winning Entries

Theme: Festive Holiday Celebrations


First Prize

By Sophie Mcgrath

A happy Ethiopian New Year (for most)

A happy Ethiopian New Year (for most) Mid-morning, Shola, Addis Ababa: I step outside, past fruit-stalls and games of table football, into a sea of livestock, bleating uproariously and churning the earth to mud.

Poor animals. Today, September 10, is both New Year’s Eve and Eid, and meat, a symbol of affluence and prosperity, is the only way to ring in the good times.

I’m celebrating at my friend Hayat’s house, so I squeeze onto one of Addis’ ubiquitous blue-and-white minibuses, full to bursting in the pelting rain. My neighbour, a man in a red jumper, strikes up a conversation...

Continue reading on Sophie's blog


Second Prize

By Cathy Sweeney

Lighting Up the Holidays

Lighting Up the Holidays My favorite way to start the holidays is attending Christmas tree lighting festivities. People seem inspired to kickoff holiday preparations and parties in a spirit of goodwill as they join friends and strangers to watch the tree become magical with lights.

In New York a few years ago, I walked by Rockefeller Center, disappointed that I’d be leaving and would miss the next day’s tree lighting. As I stopped to look at the darkened tree, the lights went on! I was amazed that testing the lights had happened at that moment, as if just for me...

Continue reading on Cathy's blog


Third Prize

By Nikki Hodgson

Christmas in Bethlehem

Christmas in Bethlehem The bells of the nativity church echo across the valley, summoning the crowds thronging Bethlehem’s sleepless streets. With security guards and fences to keep the multitudes of worshippers in check, it looks more like a scene from a New York nightclub than a midnight Christmas mass.

Huddling in line together, old women clutch rosaries to their chests murmuring prayers to the night sky, children sleep in haphazard positions in their parents' arms, and tourists buzz excitedly, their cameras creating a flurry of flashing lights...

Continue reading on Nikki's blog

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