Get the New Year started off right by attending one of these famous, interesting or downright weird January events:
Blacks And Whites' Festival - Pasto, Colombia
January 2 - 7
Apparently in Colombia, blacks and whites don't come together too often to party. That's where the Blacks and Whites' Festival comes in. This is one of the largest and most important celebrations in Colombia, and it's on the UNESCO list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. That's quite a refined-sounding title for a giant street party involving parades, music, dancing and floats. The cool thing is, on Whites' Day everyone paints each other white, and on Blacks' Day everyone paints each other black. So you don't have to worry about the same kind of backlash Ted Danson faced when he painted his face black.
Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival - Harbin, China
Begins January 5
With all the crazy snow storms hitting the United States and Europe, we know that most of you aren't ready to celebrate snow just yet. But the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival will remind you of how beautiful ice can be when you sculpt statues out of it and construct giant ice houses illuminated by lights frozen into the ice. This is one of the largest ice sculpture festivals in the world. It still holds the world record for the largest ice sculpture ever at 250 meters long and 8.5 meters high. Check out these pictures to see what's in store for this year's festival.
Sydney Festival - Sydney, Australia
January 7 - 29
If you're tired of winter, head to the other side of the world for some summer action. Over a million people bask in the warmth outdoors at The Sydney Festival, which features 80 free events like music, dance, circus, theater and visual arts, making it the largest and most attended cultural event in Australia.
Lohri Bonfire Festival - Punjab, India
Who doesn't love a good bonfire? It's a great time to dance, sing, and, of course, appease the gods. This is what happens all over the Punjab region in Northern India during Lohri, the festival of fire worship. People huddle around giant bonfires and throw rice and popcorn into the flames to thank the gods for a good harvest and seek prosperity in the coming year. It's kind of like throwing a coin into a fountain, but with more flair.
The Great Fruitcake Toss - Manitou Springs, Colorado
Since you're not gonna eat that fruitcake grandma sent you, put it to good use... by tossing it. The Great Fruitcake Toss offers a variety of ways to get rid of that fruitcake in dramatic fashion, such as hand-tossing and catapult-launching. If you have a little more respect for the aesthetic merits of your fruitcake but you still don't want to eat it, you can enter it into the fruitcake art show or fruitcake relay.
Windless Kite Festival - Long Beach, Washington
January 14 - 15
How is flying a kite without wind even possible? Well, that's for the people at the Windless Kite Festival to show you. The event features an indoor kite flying competition, kite performances choreographed to music and a trick competition.
Camel Wrestling Championship - Selcuk, Turkey
Who says wrestling isn't real? In Turkey it is. It's just that the combatants are camels. Every year, 100 camels are ushered into an ancient stadium to compete in front of thousands of betting audience members. Each match consists of two camels. A female camel in heat is kept nearby to work the males into a frenzy. Most of the time the camels refuse to fight and instead break loose and chase after the female or jump into the crowd.
Sinulog Festival - Cebu City, Philippines
We know it's hard to compete with camel wrestling, but if pomp and pageantry is your thing, you might want to check out the month-long Sinulog Festival instead. It's the biggest and most colorful festival in the Philippines, featuring a grand parade on January 15 with thousands of performers dressed in extravagant costumes who dance to drums, trumpets and gongs. Strangely, the festival honors three strikingly different religions: Islam, Catholicism and paganism.
Frog Leg Festival - Fellsmere, Florida
January 19 - 22
Everyone knows the French love frog legs... but who would have figured that the largest frog leg festival in the world takes place in Florida? Every year, 80,000 people consume over 6,000 pounds of crispy frog legs that the townspeople spent all year hunting. If frog legs don't do it for you, they also serve gator tail.
Sundance Film Festival - Park City, Utah
January 19 - 29
The Sundance Film Festival is the largest and most important independent film festival in the United States. If you're lucky enough to score a ticket, you could be one of the first people to discover new classics like Saw, The Blair Witch Project, Reservoir Dogs and Napoleon Dynamite, all of which made their debut at Sundance. Just make sure to bring your coat, gloves and film snobbery.
World Buskers Festival - Christchurch, New Zealand
January 19 - 29
It's almost one year after the devastating 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, but the city will still be hosting the World Buskers Festival at the end of the month. While many of us try to avoid street performers, some prefer to watch hundreds of them at one of the largest street performer festivals in the world, the World Buskers Festival. Make sure to bring plenty of spare change.
Yamayaki - Mt. Wakakusayama, Japan
Back in feudal Japan, different factions disputed the territorial boundaries on Mt. Wakakusayama so the entire 343-meter high mountain was set ablaze to resolve the conflict. Oddly, that tradition continues to this day. Every year, over 100,000 people show up to watch Buddhist monks set the mountain on fire. And if that isn't enough fire for you, the event is followed by a fireworks show.
Cockroach Racing World Championship - Brisbane, Australia
What better way to celebrate national pride than by racing cockroaches? That's what happens every year at the Story Bridge Hotel on Australia Day. The Cockroach Racing World Championship bills itself as the greatest gathering of thoroughbred cockroaches in the known universe, but really it's just an excuse to drink like mad with friends. The winning cockroach is the first one to run from the center of a circular ring to the edge... but most of the winners never get the attention they deserve. Instead, they scatter into the crowd and disappear.
Quebec Winter Festival - Quebec, Canada
January 27 - February 13
In case you haven't had your fill of winter, there's always the Quebec Winter Festival, the world's largest winter carnival. It features parades, fireworks, slide runs, concerts, snow sculptures, dogsled rides and other fun events. The two most popular activities are the snowbath, in which 100 people strip down to their bathing suits and roll around in the snow, and the St. Lawrence river canoe race. If the river is frozen over, contestants must drag their canoes across the ice.
Tough Guy Competition - Staffordshire, England
The Tough Guy Competition bills itself as the world's most demanding one-day survival ordeal and we believe them: two people have died competing. Yet it still attracts over 6,000 masochists who risk cuts, scrapes, burns, dehydration, electrocution, joint dislocation and broken bones in order to traverse a dangerous 8-mile long obstacle course in freezing conditions. And, yes, they pay money to do this.
***This article was contributed by the Jetpacker, and does not represent the views or opinions of the International Business Times.