Blow off the New Year cobwebs with a lively and wacky festival – take your pick from these unusual festivals that are taking place around the world in January 2014.
Cape Minstrel Carnival, Cape Town, South Africa: 2 January 2014 – 2 February 2014
Why celebrate New Year on just one day? With Kaapse Klopse, aka the Cape Minstrel Carnival, the arty continues for a whole month. This is the largest and undoubtedly the most colorful carnival in Cape Town – expect a thrilling and noisy atmosphere. Marvel at the precision-perfect marching troupes and prepare to shield your eyes from the eye-popping sequin and glitter encrusted outfits.
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, China: 5 January – 5 February 2014
This is the place to come to gawp at incredible sculptures carefully crafted from ice and snow. And dusk marks the magical time when the intricate carvings are brightly lit with lasers lights, lending an ethereal glow. Established in 1985, this year marks the thirtieth annual Harbin Ice and Snow Festival and is held in Harbin, in China’s northeast region.
Bikaner Camel Festival, Bikaner, India: 15 – 16 January 2014
This quirky festival features a whole herd of camels with attitude at the annual Bikaner Camel Festival held in the regal state of Rajasthan. The two day event pay homage to the grumpy humped creatures with thrilling camel races, tug-o-war strength tests with camels either end and dancing camels. There is even a prize for the most beautiful camel! Held in alignment with the Indian lunar calendar, this is a pretty unique (if somewhere smelly) experience.
Yamayaki, Nara, Japan: 25 January 2014
This festival is flaming unusual – literally! For the last few hundreds of years the grasslands beside Mount Wakakusayama in Nara is set alight. The incredible flames can be seen right across the city and the spectacle also includes an impressive fireworks display. The exact roots of the festival are unclear but may have stemmed from traditional practices from local farmers who burned the dead grasses away. Each fourth Saturday in January, Nara’s local temples and shrines including the Todaiji Temple, Kasuga Shrine and Kofukuji Temple offer prayers for favourable weather.
La Tamborrada, San Sebastian, Spain: 20 January 2014
Translated ‘La Tamborrada’ means Drum Festival and on the stroke of midnight the streets of San Sebastian come alive with the rhythmic beatings of drums. The flag is raised in the resort town’s Plaza de la Constitucion to signal the start of the drummers’ parade. The thumping of drums and barrels symbolises the celebration of the city’s patron saint, Saint Sebastian.