The New Year has begun. It’s freezing cold in many parts of the northern hemisphere but that doesn’t stop people from having fun. Here’s a round up of some of the festivals making a splash from around the world this January.
Ati-Atihan Festival, Philippines
14th -16th January
Held every third Sunday in the month of January, this festival is a cross between Thanksgiving and Mardi Gras, Philippino style. It is one of the biggest events in the cultural calendar and a must visit for travellers in the region. Expect much singing, dancing, music and food.
World Buskers Festival, New Zealand
21st – 31st January
This is the meeting of the world’s best buskers. For 10 days, the streets and pavements of Christchurch are transformed into stages for the public. This open air street fest is crammed with entertainment and music for the entire family. With over 450 live shows planned for the upcoming event, you can say goodbye to a boring day at home.
Thaipusam is a day of penance and Thanksgiving for Hindus in honour of Lord Muruga. Main celebrations in Malaysia are at Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. After a period of fasting and abstinence, many devotees can be seen in trance as they flock to the temple on Thaipusam. Most of them carry ‘kavadis’ or ornate frames with spikes that are hooked onto the body or some have spears pierced through their tongues. It is said that devotees don’t feel any pain and nor is there any blood shed. Close to 800,000 people throng to the temple to watch and join the celebrations.
World championship cockroach racing, Brisbane, Australia
Yep, you read it right. Described as ‘the greatest gathering of thoroughbred cockroaches in the universe’, this race is just that… a cockroach race. The fastest roach wins. Or rather the human owner who dragged him out from under the fridge wins. The race itself is set in a boxing ring style set up and all proceeds from the event go to charity.
Kumbha Mela, Haridwar, India
14th January – 28th April
Described as the largest gathering of people for a religious purpose in the world, the Kumbha Mela is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage. The pilgrimage occurs four times every twelve years. Each twelve-year cycle includes the Maha (great) Kumbha Mela at Prayag, attended by millions of people, making it the largest pilgrimage gathering around the world.
Celtic Connections, Scotland
16th January – 3rd February
This is one of the most important events on Scotland’s cultural calendar. From torchlight processions to amazing performances from Scottish and international bands, get ready for non stop entertainment. This year’s line up includes performances by Bobby McFerrin and Naturally 7 to name a few.