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Fun-Filled January

The holidays have come to a close, but the fun’s just beginning as January ushers in a year-long series of festivals around the globe. Talk about welcoming the New Year with a bang!

In the regions of Seres and Komotini, Greece, a few villages observe the Yinekokratia, the custom of female domination. On the 8th of January, the sexes switch roles for the day, with women out of the home and men in the kitchen. Before the day ends, the lads join their ladies in the festivities.

For all the pork lovers out there, Portugal has the Festa das Chouricas (“Smoked Pork Sausages Festival”) in the Algarve region. The festival honours Saint Luis, the patron saint of animals, to whom field workers offer a chourica. A procession takes place as well as a traditional roasted chourica tasting ceremony.

Things heat up in Italy at the Farchia Festival in Abruzzo on January 16, when townspeople build large bonfires that reach up to five metres high. They believe this cleanses the community of evil, sickness, and death. As the fire dies down, men jump through the purifying flames. Spectators take home ashes from the blessed fire and spread these around their homes.

If bonfires sound a little reckless, how about a six-day feast, instead? The feast of Saint Orso closes the month with eating and drinking from the “cup of friendship” as well as a beautiful display of wood work from various sculptors and carpenters. Not only do you fill your stomach, you can fill your living room with a new furniture set too.

Cross over to Asia, and you’ll find it celebrates its European influence with the Sinulog Festival in the Philippines. On the third Sunday of January, the streets of Cebu province are filled with colour as this dance ritual is performed to thank the Santo Niño (the Child Jesus) for their conversion to Christianity.

On the 26th of the month, the land down under shows the world what being Australian is all about on Australia Day. Tourists can enjoy the Sydney Harbor Regatta, Airport Aerial Displays, and the special shows in Hyde Park Barracks Museum.

January offers enough to keep everyone entertained, so hop on the party train to these beautiful countries where fun awaits!

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