In January there’s a whole heap of discoveries to be made around the world. From ancient Christian festivities in Ethiopia, one of the most famous Mardi Gras celebrations in the Philippines, and Hindu celebrations in Malaysia, January is stuffed with festive delights to chase away those blues!
Timkat Festival – Ethiopia
Every year thousands of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians gather at the sunken rock churches of Lalibela for the Festival of Timkat (Epiphany). Ian Wright travels to Ethiopia, which stages the most colourful celebrations in which Christians take to the streets for parades and mass baptisms.
Thaipusam Festival, Kuala Lumpur
Justine Shapiro sets down in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia for January’s Thaipusam Festival in which over a million Hindus take part. This homage to the Lord Maruga is a real spectacle in which avid devotees pierce themselves in startling ways and fall into trances as they process to caves outside the city.
Australia Day is celebrated on the 26th of January and is an annual celebration commemorating the first landing of white settlers in Australia. These days there’s fireworks, parades, arts, crafts, food and family entertainment. It’s seen as a celebration of Australian culture and way of life.
The festival of Ati-Atihan on the island of Kalibo in the Philippines was originally a celebration of a peace pact between warring tribes; now it has a Christian significance honouring Santa Nino. Justine Shapiro takes part in this three day, three night frenzy of music and dancing, culminating in a big fireworks display in honour of a saint who bequeaths good health on his worshippers. Read our guide on what to expect here.