Event-o-Rama: 10 Must-Dos in February

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in February:

  • Carnival season is upon us, so why not take part in an event that inspired many other pre-Lenten celebrations around the world? Head to the “City of Masks” for the Venetian Carnevale (February 15-March 4) to join in the flamboyant revelry, including live music, jousts, theatrical performances, and the highly anticipated masked ball, the Gran Ballo delle Maschere. 
  • Celebrate Africa’s musical diversity at the 10th-ever Festival sur le Niger (February 5-9) in Ségou, Mali. The annual cultural extravaganza, which was downsized due to political strife in 2013, makes a triumphant return this year with an impressive line up of performers and art exhibits–and a strong message of peace. 
  • Each year millions converge on Sapporo for one of the largest winter events in Japan, the Sapporo Snow Festival (February 5-11). For seven days, the city is transformed into a veritable wonderland, complete with ice slides, a snow maze, and hundreds of sculptures crafted from ice and snow.
  • Get a taste of “Sea Island Creole” and honor a distinctive cultural heritage in the American South at the Gullah Celebration (January 31-February 23) in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The fete features a traditional Gullah concert, an art exhibit and sale, and a craft and food expo.
  • With hundreds of events spread over nine days, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (February 1-9) in Mumbai is an experience you don’t want to miss. Every year, thousands of revelers take in a vibrant olio of art, music, food, and film at an incredible cost: free.
  • Want to bulk up this winter? Add some padding to your belly during Maslenitsa (February 24-March 2) in Moscow. In addition to serving up a heaping helping of blini–warm, golden pancakes–in the lead-up to Lent, sledding, snow sculptures, snowball fights, and sleigh rides round out this mouthwatering event.
  • Hoping to add some color and style to your home, but don’t want to break the bank? Head to Brussels for the Affordable Art Fair (February 7-10), which hosts a wealth of original paintings, prints, sculptures, and photography guaranteed to suit any budget.
  • Support homegrown arts and entertainment at the annual New Zealand Fringe Festival (February 7-March 2) in Wellington. This grassroots event serves as a launch pad for new talent by accepting anyone who has the audacity to perform in front of an audience. Take the plunge yourself, if you dare, or simply discover the next big thing.
  • Shake off those cold-weather blues at the 36th annual Winterlude (January 31-February 17) in Ottawa and Gatineau, Canada. From hockey tournaments to ice sculptures, local cuisine to the world’s largest skating rink, this fun-filled (and family-friendly) event will turn that frown upside down.
  • In search of some warmer weather? Head to Puno, Peru–the “Folk Capital of the Americas”–to honor the city’s patron saint at the dynamic Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria (February 1-14). The colorful event–a blending of indigenous and Catholic cultures–features an extravagant procession and days filled with music and dance on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

What would you add to the list? Let us know what we’re missing by leaving a comment.


  1. DiviaForbes
    February 9, 2014, 9:55 am

    The Republic of Panama carnival starts March 1-4, 2014.

  2. Tom
    January 28, 2014, 6:19 pm

    Thanks so much for the quick correction – you guys are awesome!

  3. Tom
    Brooklyn, NY
    January 28, 2014, 4:34 pm

    So cool that you listed the Sur le Niger festival in Mali – one of the coolest festivals anywhere in Africa! But your information is a bit off: only the music portions of the festival were cancelled in 2013. The cultural forum, art exhibition and other events still took place in a scaled-down version of the festival.

  4. Bernie
    New jersey, USA
    January 25, 2014, 8:54 pm

    Do you have a guide to festivals throughout the year? I’d love to see these, but need to have time to plan

  5. mateus
    January 25, 2014, 7:00 pm

    All very good, but lacked Rio de Janeiro Carnival, the biggest and best in the world. Wonderful!!

  6. Bernard Beaulé
    Quebec and Merida, Yucatan
    January 25, 2014, 12:02 pm

    I support Francine’s suggestion regarding Quebec’s Winter Carnival.

    I would have added Merida’ Carnival (http://www.merida.gob.mx/Carnaval/index2.php) which used to be held in downtown Merida, Yucatan but the organizers decided to hold it outside of the city!!

  7. Bea Dominguez
    January 25, 2014, 10:04 am

    Carnaval de Brasil! Rio de Janeiro! 28 of February until March.

  8. Brian Feely
    Washington, D.C.
    January 24, 2014, 10:28 am

    New Orleans and Mardi Gras is rapidly approaching. You noted the world famous carnivale in Venice; why not do a piece on how Carnivale is celebrated arround the world? Many years ago, I remember a beer soaked Fasching (sp?) in Germany. Also part of the Carnivale celebration in Catholic communities.

  9. Irene @ Fuiviagens
    January 24, 2014, 4:57 am

    I would definitely add the Venetian Carnevale! Also, there are many cities in Spain which celebrate the carnival during February, that should be interesting as well. It would be nice to find out why they decided to mark these celebrations during winter.

  10. Louise
    January 23, 2014, 5:12 pm

    What about Chinese New Year???

  11. Claire Myers
    United States
    January 23, 2014, 2:00 pm

    The Quebec Winter Carnival is a must! They have such a “joie de vivre” up in that area and the people are so welcoming. We actually boarded with Quebec family who rented out rooms during the carnival

  12. Beckie Egerton
    Washtington State
    January 23, 2014, 12:48 pm

    I would love to see a list like this for some upcoming months. Especially since spring and summer are coming it would be nice to know about them in advance so we can plan.

  13. Francine Cianflone
    Quebec, Canada
    January 23, 2014, 10:58 am

    Why not the Quebec Carnival, from Jan. 31st to Feb. 16th. With it’s Bonhomme, ice canoe races, Ice hotel, parade, snow sculpture events etc.
    For more see http://carnaval.qc.ca/en/edition-2014/program/

  14. Dail Doucette
    January 23, 2014, 9:19 am

    You omited the Winter Olimpics

  15. R. Moran
    January 23, 2014, 9:15 am

    Thanks for the info. Maybe next time you could do articles like this a couple of months in advance. Not enough time to plan and attend any of these considering today’s date.

  16. Nand Kumar
    Velachery, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
    January 23, 2014, 4:57 am

    All the events sounds interesting & must be visit or see at least once. http://www.madrastravels.in

  17. Debbie Lopez-Delim
    January 23, 2014, 4:36 am

    The month of February is the time of the year when flowers of differrent kinds are abloom in all splendor in the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City. This is highlighted by the PANAGBENGA (Flower Festival) during the 3rd week of February with a grand parade of floats adorned with flowers, street dancing, concerts, and bargain sales.