by MASHA GONCHAROVA
© 2015 The New York Times
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate
SCOTLAND, Jan. 25: If you aren't in a kilt reciting Auld Lang Syne between slurps of cock-a-leekie soup on Burns Night, which celebrates the country's national poet, Robert Burns, then how Scottish can you really be?
AUSTRIA, Jan. 28-30: How do you clean a major cultural asset? At Monumento Salzburg, the curious and the expert convene to discuss the latest innovations in restoring and preserving the world's greatest monuments and art treasures.
CANADA, Jan. 29 – Feb. 15: Ice carvings, a snow playground and possibly the world's largest naturally frozen rink will warm the hearts of winter lovers at Winterlude in Ottawa.
BURKINA FASO, Feb. 27 – March 5: Put your best face forward and head to Dédougou for a weeklong masquerade dance party at the Festival of Masks and the Arts, known as Festima.
CHINA, spring: Everyone's favorite mouse says "Ni hao" to Shanghai this Lunar New Year at the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland. The park will feature six themed lands, including Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, as well as the first castle that will represent all of Disney's princesses.
INDIA, Feb. 19-21: Some people come for a selfie, others for salt, sweat and tears as they race across the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. Reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world, it is home to the Run of Kutch.
UNITED STATES, spring: One Hogwarts in America is just not enough. Following its success at Universal Studios Orlando, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Universal Studios Hollywood this spring. And, as befits Hollywood, the signature ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, will be enhanced with 3-D technology.
ARGENTINA, March 13-19: Warning: not for the faint of heart. Watch the passion and charisma of dancers from around the world at the definitive tango event of the year. The Congreso Internacional de Tango Argentino in Buenos Aires is the longest-running annual tango gathering in the country.
ENGLAND, SCOTLAND and WALES, April 6: Throw a dog a bone, then track him on your personal computer as he runs after it — or just runs away. Big Brother comes to Fido's world as compulsory microchipping of dogs begins in England, Scotland and Wales.
TURKEY, May 23-24: In response to widespread calls for the international community to devote more resources to humanitarian crises, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has created the first U.N. World Humanitarian Summit. Governments, humanitarian organisations, and people affected by conflicts and natural disasters will come together to propose an agenda for action.
AMALFI COAST, ITALY, Wednesdays in May, September and October: As if it weren't heavenly enough to stroll the winding paths of the Amalfi Coast, the city of Praiano organizes an annual free open-air concert series featuring live classical and jazz music. No wonder Homer's Odysseus succumbed to the Siren's song around here.
SWITZERLAND, June 4-5: A much needed shortcut through the Alps is finally here as the Swiss unveil one of the longest and deepest railway tunnels in the world. Although the tunnel was almost seven decades in the dreaming and 20 years in the making, it will be finished a year ahead of schedule.
ESTONIA, June 23-24: According to an Estonian fairy tale, on the longest day of the year the lovers Koit (dawn) and Hämarik (dusk) meet to exchange a brief kiss. Estonian teenagers follow suit on Jaanipäev, or St. John's Day.
FINLAND, July 2: On the back of every great man is a great woman. In the Wife Carrying World Championships, each man carries his wife in a race to win her weight in beer.
UNITED STATES, mid-July: Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters. The 1984 comedy classic is being rebooted with an all-female leading cast.
BRAZIL, Aug. 5-21: The road to Rio leads to the Summer Olympics. Rio de Janeiro will host over 10,000 athletes from more than 200 countries in South America's first Olympic Games.
SOUTH KOREA, early September: Seeking enlightenment? Thousands of fireflies light up the sky during the Muju Firefly Festival, an environmental festival that celebrates the luminous bug.
CUMBRIA, ENGLAND, Sept. 16-17: This isn't the time to visit Egremont if you're looking for a friendly face. It's the World Gurning Championships, where participants compete by making the ugliest faces they can muster.
SOUTH AFRICA, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2: Moby Dick is rumored to be making an appearance at the Hermanus Whale Festival. Musicians and other performers celebrate the creatures of the deep at one of the best land-based whale-watching destinations.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, October: In one fell swoop, Dubai takes on Hollywood, Bollywood and Broadway. Dubai Parks and Resorts will be home to the Middle East's first Legoland, as well as attractions based on live musical performances and popular films like "The Hunger Games."
NEPAL, Oct. 29: On the second day of Nepal's Diwali celebration, the country honors its sacred canines with the Kukur Tihar Festival, draping a garland called a "malla" around every dog's neck — including homeless dogs — and placing a red mark called "tika" on every dog's forehead.
FRANCE, Nov. 25: Sacrebleu! You are 25 and single? On St. Catherine's Day in France, you are exposed as a traitor to romance by being forced to wear an elaborate green and yellow hat all day.
MEXICO, Dec. 23: Don't play with your food. Unless you're spending Christmas in Oaxaca, where humble radishes are sculpted into elaborate saints, kings, animals, and Jesus and Mary figurines for Nativity scenes during La Noche de los Rábanos (The Night of the Radishes).
ALGERIA, September: Pray alongside 120,000 fellow worshippers at The Great Mosque of Algiers. It will be the world's biggest mosque outside Mecca and Medina, and the largest in Africa.
SPAIN: Feeling fancy, fast and furious? The tallest and fastest European roller coaster — with a Ferrari theme — is scheduled to open in December at the FerrariLand theme park an hour outside of Barcelona.
JAPAN: The Japanese give the Swiss a run for their money in the category of train-related events (see above) when a new train museum opens in Kyoto, showcasing locomotives, carriages and other attractions.
UNITED STATES: Created by an act of Congress, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will open its doors on the National Mall. The building design was inspired by West African art and architecture.