Top 5 Events Happening in January Around The World
January is the start of a new year, but many places around the world have already jump-started on organising huge, exciting events! Here are our top five picks of events happening in January around the world:
Starting off, we have the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province in China. Harbin hosts the world’s biggest winter festival since 1985, both in terms of sheer scale (600,000 square metres) as well as in terms of number of visitors (10–15 million visitors annually). One can find large yet intricately-carved sculptures paired with magnificent lighting using computer-controlled LEDs—the tallest ice sculptures reach about 46 metres high!
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival is currently being held from 24 December 2019 until 28 February 2020.
Continuing on with winter still in place, the Winter Lights art installation at Canary Wharf in London, England is not something to be taken lightly. Lighting up starting from late afternoon at 4pm until 10pm at night, these art installations transform the cold winter nights into a mesmerising experience that feature over 25 different installations, some of which can be admired from afar, and some which are interactive.
This year, Winter Lights at Canary Wharf is being displayed from 16 to 25 January.
Coming back to ice and snow, Sweden’s annual Kiruna Snow Festival, or Snöfestivalen, is organised by the local music organisation Tusen Toner during the last weekend of January in the middle of the city centre of Kiruna, the northernmost town of Sweden. During the festival, there are many culture-enriched activities for all ages, from snow-sculpting to dog-sledding and even a children’s playground made entirely out of snow! The main event of the snow festival is the Kiruna International Snow Sculpture Competition, a world class competition which attracts some of the best around the world.
The Kiruna Snow Festival will be held from 22 to 26 January.
If cold is not to your liking, then let’s turn up the heat; and nothing is more dramatic than an entire mountain set on fire! Not to worry though, this is done intentionally and in a controlled environment, so there is no fear of any unintended harm done. “Wakakusa Yamayaki” literally means “burning Mt. Wakakusa.” Each year for the past few hundred years, on the fourth Saturday of January (or later, depending on the weather), the grass on the hillside of Mt. Wakakusa will be set on fire. Due to the elevation of the mountain, the bright blaze can be seen citywide. Starting from noon, a festival would take place around the base of the mountain, including a competition of throwing giant rice crackers from 12:30pm to 3pm. Then, at 5pm, a procession would depart towards the base of the mountain, reaching it by 5:30pm, and then lighting up a large bonfire part way up the mountainside. At 6:15pm, there will be a fireworks display for 15 minutes, followed by the lighting of the grass on fire, which would take somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour to light the whole mountain on fire.
Wakakusa Yamayaki is expected to take place on 25 January 2020.
If you see vikings surrounding a burning ship, you might be thinking you have accidentally time-travelled to the late 8th to 11th centuries, but it’s more likely that you have stumbled upon Up Helly Aa. Taking place in Lerwick, Shetland (part of the Northern Isles of Scotland) on the last Tuesday of January every year, Up Helly Aa is a community event that involves marches, visitations, a torch-lit procession, and the burning of a galley. The marches begin at 9am in the morning towards the British Legion, followed by marches along a few key locations. Throughout the rest of the day, there would be a series of visits to primary schools, hospitals, and retirement homes. The procession will light up at 7:30pm and proceed until they culminate in the burning of a full-sized galley in Hillhead. Visitors are welcome to spectate, but participation as part of the squad and procession is only limited to residents of Shetland who have been living there for at least five years since this is their community event.
This year’s Up Helly Aa is scheduled to take place on 28 January 2020.
Which do you prefer, hot or cold? Which of these events do you look forward to experiencing the most? Are there any other events in January that you think we should have included? Leave your comments below!
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