The merry month of May is upon us and, over the next four weeks, global merriment does indeed abound! Spain sees Barcelona hosting the Santander Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuito de Catalunya on 11 to 13 May, a track, aficionados tell me, that is hugely popular with the drivers. While in Switzerland, the extraordinary Palexpo and Geneva International Airport host the annual three-day get-together for the European business aviation community at EBACE (14 to 16 May). London’s world-renowned showcase for all things green and floral, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, opens its gardens to the public from 22 to 26 May. Tennis fans will be knocked out by the talent on display at the clay courts of the Roland Garros championship in Paris, 25 May to 9 June, and Prague stages its 67th Spring International Music Festival, 12 May to 3 June, with participating musicians and orchestras from all around the world, and has a weekend of events surrounding its marathon, held on 12 to 13 May. For the more faint-hearted there are also slightly less taxing family races and even competitive dog-walking events to enjoy.
May will also involve lots of hot-footing it in San Francisco for the 100,000 or so participants in the Bay to Breakers annual run (20 May) which is, deep breaths please, 7.46 miles long and more than 100 years old. There will be races of a different kind, this time in dinghies and on bicycles, as well as fabulous parades throughout downtown Hamilton, to celebrate Bermuda’s Heritage Day on 24 May.
Those who suffer from vertigo, look away now! The world’s tallest tower, Tokyo’s Skytree, will open for business on 22 May. Spring Sumo takes place from 6 to 20 May; these highly revered wrestlers are plied with food from dozens of restaurants that queue up to have the honour of providing these idolised warriors with the calories necessary for them to reach the pinnacles of their power. Tokyo also celebrates the Asakusa Sanja Matsuri Festival (18 to 20 May). One of the three great Shinto festivals in Tokyo, it is held annually on the third weekend of this month and attracts up to 2 million locals and tourists who come to watch the parading of the three mikoshi (portable shrines) and enjoy the traditional dances and music.
Kuala Lumpur will be ablaze with fireworks on 19 May at its annual Colours of Malaysia parade. Prepare to be spellbound by bright local costumes, dazzling sights and tantalising sounds. And in Chiang Mai, it’s the Visahka Bucha Day pilgrimage on 11 May, when thousands of people make the trek to visit the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most venerated Buddhist temples in Thailand. Both Singapore (18 May to 2 June) and Hong Kong (17 to 21 May) are holding art festivals this month. Singapore celebrates theatre, dance, music, poetry and the visual arts, while Hong Kong’s festival, in collaboration with Art Basel, is focused on the contemporary arts scene, with 266 participating galleries from more than 38 countries showcasing works by some of the world’s greatest artists. In fact, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is showing an exhibition by the highly acclaimed, local young artist Tang Kwok Hin, from 1 to 26 May, in the Clipper Lounge, where you can also try Michelin-starred chef Uwe Opocensky’s cake creations inspired by the artist’s work. Macau also holds a month-long arts festival in May, so it seems appropriate to ask on-the-ground expert and frequent MO contributor Lois Iwase to give us the lowdown on the best happenings in the city right now.
Editor, MO magazine, The Condé Nast Publications