January–March: The prime whale-watching season begins in the waters off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Blue, gray, sperm and humpback whales migrate to the warm seas around Baja to mate and give birth.
January 3-31: To make space for new collections, designer stores in Europe feature some of the best sales of the year. Milan and Paris are perhaps most famous for their well-priced fashion, but shoppers can find excellent values all over the continent.
January 7: The Coptic Christians in Egypt celebrate Christmas on this date instead of on December 25. You might see belly-dancing Santa figures in Christmas shops, or find handcrafted gifts in the colorful Christmas bazaars. The Coptic pope celebrates the largest Mass in Cairo’s St. Mark’s Cathedral.
January 13-16: Quaff everything from local lagers to imported porters at Bierfest in Santiago, Chile. Ale aficionados can also enjoy live music and an array of beer-friendly culinary delights.
January 14: Evocative Jaipur, India, celebrates the festival of Makar Sankranti by flying thousands of brightly colored kites. Displaying impressive control, participants battle to snap the strings of rivals.
January 17-18: Lima, Peru, pulls out all the stops in honor of the anniversary of its founding. Events include major concerts in the historic Plaza de Armas and brilliant fireworks displays.
January 20: Below the dramatic castle of Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, bakery-hatted youths process through the streets for the annual Festa das Fogaceiras. This parade of the town’s young people — dressed in white and wearing headgear made of bread — fulfills a 16th-century vow made to St. Sebastian to end an epidemic.
January 20-30: Street performers from all over the world flock to Christchurch, New Zealand, for the World Buskers Festival. Circus performers, comedians, musicians and performance artists put on (mostly) free shows in squares and gardens around the city.
January 22: Flames engulf a small mountain outside Nara, Japan, when dry grasses covering the 342-meter volcano are set ablaze during Wakakusayama Yamayaki. More than 100,000 spectators converge on this small city near Kyoto to view the unique conflagration and accompanying fireworks display.