There’s no shortage of things to keep you amused around the world during the month of January, as the Globe Guides travellers discover. From Christian festivities in Ethiopia and the Philippines, and Hindu celebrations in Malaysia to the watery treats of the Turks and Caicos, Australia and Florida, there’s never a dull moment.
First up, Ian Wright travels to Lallibella in Ethiopia, which stages the most colourful celebration of the Timkat Festival in which Christians take to the streets for parades and mass baptisms. Discovering that there’s much to offer in this resolutely off-the-beaten-track country, he takes to the road in search of the Simian Mountain Range, perfect trekking country in October to March, and the traditional horse games that have become a popular sport.
Then it’s across the globe to Australia for a spot of surf action and hang-gliding on Cape Byron, the beautiful stretch of shoreline that’s the first place on the continent to catch sight of the rising sun. 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
January is a perfect time to dive on the Caribbean island of Turks and Caicos with its 200 miles of coral reefs. Megan McCormick joins fishermen free diving for conch shells, one of the most exotic forms of fishing there is.
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 honoring Santa Nino. Justine 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 worshipers
Finally, Holly Morris rubs noses with the friendliest monsters of the deep, the manatees (or sea cows) of Florida who are thought to be so placid because they have no natural predator.
MAKO SAKAMOTO & JESPER MATTSSON
THE WEST INDIA COMPANY
THE VOICE & MUSIC COMPANY
POST PRODUCTION MANAGER
Pilot Film and Television Productions