Top events in Asia this month – January 2012

Chinese dragons, camel beauty pageants, buskers and country music are just some of the things being celebrated throughout Asia this month. So pull out your Chinese fan, cowboy hat, desert scarf or general revelry kit for your chance to join in some of the world’s most colourful and exotic events this January.

1. INTERNATIONAL NEW YEAR
Dates: 1 January
Where: All Asia
While Asia observes different dates for new year’s day the western calendar is also observed which means come the early hours of 1 January you should be able to find a party happening somewhere. Good places to go are beach destinations like Koh Samui or Koh Tao in Thailand, Vang Vieng in Laos and Gili Islands in Indonesia. Any of the capital cities will have plenty of things going on also.

Hong Kong's 2010 celebrations. Pic: Edward L, Flickr

2. AGUMAN SANDUK
Dates: 1 January
Where: Manila, Philippines
On New Year’s Day in Manila the men of the city adorn themselves in ladies clothing and parade through the city to the enjoyment of their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. The roots of the festival date to 1934 when drunk men pulled the same stunt – it has now become a tradition.

Aguman Sanduk from www.explorephilippines.net

3. INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF KUNG FU AND DRAGON DANCE
Dates: 1-15 January
Where: Hong Kong
Fans of Chinese martial arts and culture will not want to miss this two week festival in Hong Kong featuring the world dragon dance and lion championships and an International Kung Fu and Special Weapons Championship.

Pic: Discoverhongkong.com

4. BIKANER CAMEL FESTIVAL
Dates: 8-9 January
Where: Bikaner, India
This two day festival is one of Rajasthan’s most colourful annual events with camels doing everything you can imagine from races to tugs-of-war, dancing and even beauty pageants.

Pic: Joobili.com

5. PROCESSION OF THE BLACK NAZARENE
Dates: January 9
Where: Manila, Philippines
Another time honoured ritual in the Philippines is this procession carrying a blackened statute of Jesus Christ through the district of Quiapo. The statue bearing a cross is set on a carriage and pulled by devotees around the streets.

Pic: www.philippines.hvu.nl

6. ATI ATIHAN FESTIVAL
Dates: The last 2/3 weeks in January
Where: Panay island, Aklan, Philippines
This two week long fiesta is a riot of colour and festivities with people in costumes and black face-paint. There’s loud drums, bullfights, beauty pageants, live exorcisms and just about everything else. The last three days are the most interesting.

Pic: www.festivalpig.com

 7. CHENNAI CLASSICAL MONTH
Dates: From mid December to mid January
Where: Chennai, India
This month long traditional dance, arts and music festival is a feast of performance, seminars, discussions and demonstrations held annually in south India.

8. WORLD BUSKERS FESTIVAL
Dates:
19-29 January
Where: Christchurch, New Zealand
This 10 day gathering promises to be huge in 2012 as Christchurch vows to go ahead with the 10 day gathering of the world’s best street performers – that means buskers of all kinds from comedians to acrobats, jugglers and various showpersons.

Pic: www.worldbuskersfestival.com

9. TAMWORTH COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Date:
20-29 January
Where: Tamworth, Australia
Put your cowboy boots on for this hoe down in the country music centre of Tamworth in New South Wales. More than 700 artists and plenty of fans gather for this 10 day festival.

Pic: www.tamworthcountrymusic.com.au

10. CHINESE NEW YEAR
Dates: January 23
Where: Worldwide
On January 23 Chinese party goers will herald in 2012 – the Year of the Dragon – with fireworks, food and much revelry. The great thing about Chinese New Year is that it’s held all around the world and you’ll find celebrations not only in Beijing and Hong Kong but places as diverse as Sydney, New York and Rome.

Pic: Anthony Hartman from Meizhou, China, Flickr