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Quest for the festive spirit

  • Story Highlights
  • Quest goes in search of the festive spirit, visiting New York, India and Lapland
  • He discovers what Thanksgiving celebrates and what Divali means for Hindus
  • Quest meets Michael Bloomberg, Nigella Lawson, the Rockettes and Santa Claus
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(CNN) -- "Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la, la la la la" -- as the popular sing-along-song goes. So join CNN's Richard Quest, this December, as he goes in search of the festive spirit.

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Quest takes a pilgrimage to Finnish Lapland.

However skeptical some of us may be, however jaded by increased commercialism, the festive season continues to celebrate humanity, like no other time.

Religious and cultural forces combine to make this a time for goodwill, nostalgia and hope. In this episode, Quest delves a little deeper into tradition to unearth the ingredients that make this time of year such an irresistible wave of fun and festivity.

In New York City, on the fourth Thursday of November -- it's Thanksgiving Day. After a chat with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Quest ventures out into the crowds to enjoy the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

This is a day of great significance for families all over North America, when siblings unite around a turkey dinner. If you're a New York fireman on duty, you cook up a feast with your 'brothers' -- we find plenty of hearty cheer at the fire station with "New York's Bravest." We also discover that this is a day of reflection for a squadron that lost more men than any other during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Next stop: Washington D.C. The First Lady, Laura Bush invites Quest into the hallowed halls of the White House for a fascinating insight into Christmas at the presidential home.

Across the other side of the world, India is preparing for Diwali, the last and biggest festival on the Hindu calendar. Known as the 'Festival of Light', it celebrates good over evil and ushers in the Indian New Year.

From the chaotic streets of Old Delhi to the private gardens of fashion guru Ritu Kumar, Quest soaks up the atmosphere and finds there's much to learn about Diwali.

Now fully gripped by festive fever, Quest takes centre stage in Vilnius, Lithuania -- in front of 25,000 people -- it's time to turn on the lights of the city's Christmas tree. Tennis ace Boris Becker takes us on a tour of the famous German Christmas markets and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson helps dish up some seasonal treats.

Back in New York City, the long-limbed ladies of the Rockettes are dancing to the tune of their 75th anniversary celebrations. Synonymous with festive entertainment, their 2007 extravaganza will attract 1.2 million people through the doors of the Radio City Music Hall---- Quest ventures backstage to find out why this time of year gives these girls such a kick.

In the heart of the American Midwest, Kansas City, Quest drops in to the radio station KUDL for a chance to play some of his favourite Christmas tunes. Then, with Bing Crosby still ringing in his ears, it's off to the HQ of Hallmark, to design the ultimate greeting card for none other than Santa Claus.

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And so it is, that this festive journey ends with a pilgrimage to Finnish Lapland. For all those who no longer believe, a trip to Santa's village, nestled just inside the Arctic Circle, will go a long way to restoring the magic. Quest finds Santa in fine fettle but will he appreciate the card?

In our modern and often troubled times Quest hopes to find the festive spirit still alive and well. He suspects it lurks in all of us... So come on, let it out and tune in for this month's Quest for the Festive Spirit. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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