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Jigyasha Prasad Dec 19 2014

Which are some of the January festivals around the world?

Etti Bali Dec 19 2014
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Plan a lavish holiday around these exciting January festivals! With many long weekends, you have all the more reason to extend the festivities. So let the celebrations continue with this list of Indian and international festivals to look forward to!

Madurai Float Festival

Referred to by locals as Teppam, the Madurai Float Festival dates back to the times of King Thirumalai Nayak. The idols of gods and goddesses are taken on a tour of the Mariamman Tank near Meenakshi Temple on golden palanquins. Held on the first full moon night, this festival sees beautifully decorated floats against the backdrop of majestic temples that the city is famous for! Worshippers, dressed in vibrant hues of reds and yellows, throw coloured water on devotees and crowds to celebrate the festival.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace (by BOBMAN)


Popular in Punjab and Punjabi communities spread across the country, Lohri celebrates the harvest of rabi crops. Like many Hindu festivals steeped in tradition and folklore, Lohri also honours the five elements of earth, fire, air, water and sky. It is celebrated on the day of winter solstice--the shortest day and longest night of the year. Traditionally, Lohri celebrations involve dancing around a bonfire and making offerings of sweets and peanuts to the sacred fire. The best places to catch Lohri celebrations are Amritsar, Jalandhar and Chandigarh in Punjab.

Lohri Bonfire (by Etti Bali)

International Kite Festival--Uttarayan

Celebrated across Gujarat, Uttarayan is a colourful celebration of the beginning of summers, as per the Hindu calendar. The festival also symbolizes the awakening of the gods from their deep slumber. An integral part of Uttarayan celebrations is flying colourful kites. One of the biggest kite festivals in the world, the International Kite Festival is organized each year at the Sabarmati waterfront in the city of Ahmedabad. The event has been increasing in popularity each year and sees huge international participation.

Kites (by Luis Alves)


The term Pongal literally translates to “overflowing”, signifying prosperity and abundance. It is celebrated by Tamilians the world over to convey gratitude to the Sun God as he is the ultimate energy source in Hindu culture. Spread over four days, Pongal is a celebration of culture and marks the first harvest of the year. People decorate their homes with banana and mango leaves and beautiful rangolis. A special sweet treat is made with rice, milk, jaggery, green gram and cashew nuts and served on banana leaves. Head over to the city of Chennai to be part of the Pongal celebrations.

Worshipping (by Natesh Ramasamy)

Basant Panchami

Celebrated largely in the northern parts of the country, Basant Panchami is primarily a Sikh festival. In Punjab, people fly kites to welcome the spring season. There is a lot of singing and dancing and festivities conclude with the smearing of gulaal.The festival is famous as Saraswati Puja in West Bengal, wherein people celebrate wisdom, knowledge and arts--all virtues centred around the goddess. The idols of the goddess are later taken on a procession and immersed in the holy waters of the River Ganges. Places like Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh also celebrate this festival.

by Adam Jones

Republic Day

A day of national pride and integrity, the Republic Day celebrations are truly an awe-inspiring affair. Reflecting our country’s military strength, the parade starts at Raisina Hill near Rashtrapati Bhawan and goes past the India Gate in New Delhi. It begins with the Prime Minister laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti in remembrance of brave martyrs. The Beating Retreat ceremony, held on 29 January, marks the conclusion of the festivities. In the year 2014, the Government of Maharashtra also organized a parade along the stretch of Marine Drive. It is, without doubt, one of the most looked forward to January festivals in India.

Agni-II Missile at the Parade (by Antonio Milena)

Sundance Film Festival

Held annually in Utah, Sundance is one of the largest and most prestigious film festivals in the world. Named in honour of Robert Redford’s character in the cult classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the festival has sections for American and international filmmakers. It is a brilliant platform for new and independent filmmakers to showcase their work and compete in various categories. This year, the festival will be held from 22 January to 1 February.

A screening at the festival (by PunkToad)

Up Helly Aa

Even though the name of this Scottish festival sounds quirky, it is a tribute to the peoples’ Viking (Nordic) heritage. It is held on 27 January each year. One of the “largest fire festivals” in Europe, Up Helly Aa is an annual celebration held in Shetland, Scotland in the middle of the winter season. A large procession is carried out with flaming torches, costumed paraders along with the singing of folk song. A huge Viking boat is burnt at the end. The parties and merrymaking goes on at various venues across the city.

The Torch Procession (from the official website)

Quebec Winter Carnival

With millions of people thronging the city in a spirited celebration of the winter season, the Quebec Winter Carnival held at Plains of Abraham is one of the largest winter festivals in the world! There are snow sculptures, sleigh race, masquerade ball and canoe race. For the bravehearts, there is a snow bath where you have to take at least 3 dips in the snow--brrr...ready for the challenge? Colourful parades, dogsleds, ice slides and amusement theme parks will, for once, make you be say “snow, snow, please come this way”! Brilliant fireworks mark the end of the festivities. Be there between 30 January and 15 February to enter the magical world of Bonhomme (the official mascot).

Dogsled Ride (by James McCaffrey)

Chinese New Year

A spectacular celebration of new beginnings, the Chinese New Year festivities are spread over 2 weeks and mark the start of the Spring Festival in China. Also referred to as the Lunar New Year, the festival’s origins are rooted in folklore and tradition. It was believed that Nian, a mythical beast would come at the start of the new year and attack villages, destroying everything in his wake. But one day the villagers discovered that he was scared of the colour red as well as fireworks. This made them hang red lanterns at their doors and windows, hence giving way to the festivities. The festival also honours deities and ancestors. This year, the new year will be celebrated on 19 February. The spectacular fireworks of Hong Kong and the temple fairs in Beijing are big tourist attractions.

Fireworks (by ncburton)

Tempted yet? This list of January festivals has something for everyone! From the indie film festivals to the regional flavours of our country, this month gives you a chance to explore it all!

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