Lonely Planet Writer

Festival fun: 5 events on this weekend

From one of the oldest flea-markets in the world in Tokyo, to one of the oddest traditional harvest festivals in England, this weekend presents a few interesting options one wouldn’t expect in January. Here are 5 interesting events taking place this weekend:

The straw bear in Whittlesea
The straw bear in Whittlesea Image by Whittlesea Straw Bear

And if you’re looking for something really very different this weekend, scuttle down to the Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival in Cambridgeshire. The tradition comes from the Fenland plough festivities when locals dress up in straw to look like bears and parade around the village. It looks as daft as it sounds, and like all the fun in the world.

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Art installation 1.8 London by Janet Echelman, suspended above Oxford Circus in London, as part of the Lumiere London light festival. The sculpture constructed from thousands of feet of twine is named after one of the impacts of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011, when the earth's rotation momentarily sped up and shortened that day by 1.8 microseconds.
Art installation 1.8 London by Janet Echelman, suspended above Oxford Circus in London, as part of the Lumiere London light festival. The sculpture constructed from thousands of feet of twine is named after one of the impacts of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011, when the earth’s rotation momentarily sped up and shortened that day by 1.8 microseconds. Image by Hannah McKay/PA Wire

London is hosting its annual Lumiere festival, that takes place as soon as the soon goes down, from 6:30 pm until 10:30 pm. Organised by Artichoke, the festival is a celebration of light installations and monuments. Iconic London sights will be lit up, from Mayfair and King’s Cross to Oxford Circus, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square and Westminster.

Read more here.

Martin Luther King Jr memorial, Washington.
Martin Luther King Jr memorial, Washington. Image by Ron Cogswell / CC BY 2.0

This weekend will see huge celebrations take place around the world for Martin Luther King Jr Day. Harlem will be hosting its famous walking tours, stopping off at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Harlem Hospital Center, where the reverend was treated in 1958 after being stabbed with a letter opener in a bookstore. It is a huge event in NYC where people gather to celebrate the civil rights activist day and night.

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Setagay Boroichi, Tokyo's oldest fleamarket
Setagay Boroichi, Tokyo’s oldest fleamarket Image by Setagaya Boroichi/Facebook

Setagaya Boroichi, Tokyo’s wonderful 400 year-old flea market is on this weekend. It happens only twice a year, and attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Set in the beautiful thatched-house surrounding of Setagaya Daikan Yashiki, the old, local magistrate’s residence, it is an event not to be missed.

Read more here.

Soheila Sokhanvari, 2011. 'Moje Sabz'
Soheila Sokhanvari, 2011. ‘Moje Sabz’ Image by Saatchi Gallery

Champagne Life is the exhibition celebrating the Saatchi Gallery’s 30th birthday with an all female cast of artists. It represents some of the best of the Saatchi collection and tastes, as well as some of the top female talent at the moment.

Read more here.