Voodoo, “The Great Clamor,” and Vikings
Take to the streets in Santiago, Chile, from January 3 to 20 for the Santiago a Mil international theater festival. You’ll find large-scale spectacles like “the noise of colors” extravaganza, a forest of paper giraffes, and outdoor performances of Romeo and Juliet.
Farther south, in Uruguay’s premier resort, the 17th annual Punta del Este International Jazz Festival runs from January 3 to 6, with musicians from more than 25 countries in attendance. Spain’s main Christmas celebration actually takes place the night of January 5, when “the Three Kings” bring gifts to children all around the country. The three royals arrive in every Spanish town throwing sweets into the crowds.
In Palmares, Costa Rica—close to the capital, San José—people like to extend the holiday season. From January 9 to 21 the Fiesta de Palmares combines dancing, concerts, soccer tournaments, horse parades, and a rampaging bull let loose in a ring with an open invite for any brave person to join him.
Voodoo is the state religion of Benin, West Africa, and the annual Voodoo Festival takes place in the seaside resort of Ouidah on January 10. Bizarre, costumed “spirits” parade the town and there’s horse racing on the beach.
The port city of Marseille, France, is this year’s European Capital of Culture, and you can join in for “the Great Clamor” on January 12 and 13. Locals party in the streets into the early hours and there is street theater, music, ice sculptures, and treasure hunting.
Discover a mixture of athleticism and ancient Shinto rituals in Tokyo, Japan, with the first Sumo Wrestling Tournament of 2013 from January 13 to 27. The match-ups for each day are determined by oyakata (sumo elders).
In England the London Art Fair takes place in the Business Design Centre in Islington from January 16 to 20. You’ll find more than 100 galleries exhibiting the work of modern British and international artists.
If you have Irish blood, than consider attending “the Gathering.” Hundreds of clan get-togethers and other events are taking place across the Emerald Isle throughout 2013. In Dublin, the Temple Bar TradFest is a celebration of traditional Irish music featuring 200 free events, including singing, dancing, and master classes. It takes place January 22 to 27.
In Victoria, Australia, the Festival of Sails from January 24 to 28 is the region’s oldest sporting event (it was first held in 1844) and is still the nation’s largest keel-boat regatta. Live entertainment and gourmet food are on offer at the event, which attracts up to 450 yachts and over 4,500 competitors. Across the ocean, the New Zealand International Air Show from January 26 to 28 takes place in Auckland. Expect air races and death-defying stunts.
The Hindus of the city-state of Singapore, in Southeast Asia, come together on January 27 for the celebration of Thaipusam. Devotees carry milk-pot offerings for Lord Subrahmanya and some attach kavadis (large metal frames) to their bodies using hooks and spikes.
Slightly less fervent worship is on show in the Shetland Islands of Scotland on January 29, as locals celebrate their heathen past with the Up Helly Aa fire festival in Lerwick, Shetland’s main town. Revellers dress as Vikings, take part in torch-lit processions, indulge in plenty of drinking, and ritually burn a replica longship.
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