Winter Festivals in February

February ain’t over yet, baby!



Festivals are something unto their own, no matter the central theme — they revolve around music, food, wine, and native celebration. It’s a gathering of kinsfolk, unity for a day, a weekend, a week, more! A celebration of life. Often wrapped in some kind of fancy dress. Or sometimes naked.


We compiled a list of a few to get you through the second half of February!









Tapati Festival

Easter Island, Chile

February 1-17



Dancing in the street: Men feeling the spirit at the Tapati Festival Yves Picq/Flickr



Cultural dancing, horse racing, different sporting events and dancing competitions plus you can slide down a steep slope on a banana trunk, half naked. Got your attention now, eh?






February 1-24



Nicolai Munch-Hansen Photo provided by Wonderlust





Celebrating its 19th year. Now in Over 150 venues across Denmark presenting 600 plus shows of international jazz artists. They love jazz in Denmark! God bless them.




Quebec Winter Carnival

Quebec City, Canada

February 8-17



A corporate tent, sure, but as an ice pavilion… Photo provided by Wonderlust



This is a magical festival that transforms the whole city into a 24 hour party, which starts soberly enough and morphs into two, city length conga lines of revelers snaking down the snowy/slushy/icy streets, one in each direction, all day and through the night, drinking Caribou, a local fortified wine, from long plastic canes. This goes on, gloriously, for nine days. There are also activities and events, including a canoe race through big floating ice patches on the river, and night parades, which do not so much interrupt the Caribou-swilling human trains as brightly enhance them.


The place to stay is the now (in North American terms) ancient Chateau Frontenac. It was built in the late 1800s, inside the Old Quebec City walls, and still feels far more European than New Worldly, as does all of Quebec City.


You can be very late this year, or plan now to be very early next!




Newport Winter Festival

Newport, Rhode Island, USA

February 15-24


New England’s largest winter extravaganza, now in its 27th year.


There are contests, comedy shows, jazz, lots of fun things to do with the kids, ice sculpting, an Eagles experience for the oldies, and ‘ten exciting days of food’. Plus Rhode Island is just an American treasure.




Desert Festival of Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer, India

February 17-19


An ancient cultured festival of events such as camel racing, turban tying, and the longest moustache competition, which is not frivolous in these parts. The festival showcases the cultural wonders of Rajasthan.


Let them explain it better.










The Lemon Festival

Menton, France

February 16 – March 3



Lemons, lemons everywhere, landscaped artfully Bohyunlee/Wikimedia Commons




The 86th La Fete du Citron in the south of France. A celebration of citrus and lemons, with incredible giant structures and designs made out of citrus fruit. There are floats and a night parade. It’s all very yellow. I mean, so you are not caught unawares…




Nice Carnival

The French Riviera, France

February 16 – March 2



The Battle of Flowers parade, part of Nice’s Carnival Mark Fischer/Flickr



Documented first in the year 1294 — that is not a typo — Nice Carnaval is considered to be one of the world’s major carnival events. The Promenade du Paillon and the streets of Nice are turned into the magical frivolity of carnival. With flower floats, a giant parade and an eye wateringly vibrant amount of color.





Venice, Italy

February 16 – March 6


One of the richest and most elegant festivals in the world, with the world famous masquerade balls and parties. Venice dripping into ridiculously delicious fantasy has to be experienced to be believed: the whole city is transformed and consumed by the 18 day celebration. Over the top evening wear, costumes and masks are de rigueur and costumes can be rented, thank goodness. Venice has its own sensual vibe.



Frank Kovalchek/Wikimedia Commons



Book now For The Glass Slippers Masquerade Ball — tickets are still available. Happening Friday 1st March in a medieval building dated back to 1236. There’s dinner with an opera and then an after-party into the night. A pair of specially made glass slippers go to the person with the best costume.  



Mascheranda Grand Ball, the historical Masked Ball, is Sunday March 3rd, held in a candlelit palace in Venice overlooking the Grand Canal. Seriously romantic. Seriously go.


Tickets are still available from 250 Euro.


You can get to both of the balls via private water taxi. You knew that.




Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Shifeng, Taiwan, Republic of China

February 19  



Let my people’s wishes go! Photo provided by Wonderlust



On the first full moon of the Chinese New Year, tens of thousands of people descend on the tiny hill town of Shifeng, write their wishes on fire lanterns and release them into the sky together creating a beautiful spectacle of floating lights. Approximately one to two hundred thousand lanterns lift to the Heavens that night…  





Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Friday March 1 – Sat, March 9



Nicolas de Camaret/Wikimedia Commons



OK, technically not February, but what’s a few hours between friends, and that’s what we are, right? This is the granddaddy of them all, Rio Carnival, also known as the biggest show on earth and the best carnival in the world, and an international magnet for tens of thousands of adventurous revellers. An excuse to let it all go. At one time a Catholic food festival and the last time to feast before the forty days of Lent, now it’s wild samba block parties, millions of people, colorful costumes with jiggly bottoms and gigantic floats with astounding animatronics. It’s guaranteed you’ll have the time of your life.


And you will dance!










Bhandara Festival

South of Mumbai, India

February 4th



PLjarpte/Wikimedia Commons



This festival involves an astonishing amount of turmeric being thrown all over the temple by singing and dancing devotees. The temple deity is then taken in a procession for a holy bath in the river, which is the main highlight of the occasion. The festival happens on Somvati Amavasya, a new moon day that falls on a Monday and usually occurs two or three times a year if you miss this one.


Where: Maharashtra state, an hour and a half southeast of Pune, south of Mumbai. You have a year to google directions.




Sauti Za Busara

Stone Town, Zanzibar

February 7-10


A great celebration of African music under African skies. Over 400 musicians come together from all over the continent to play 44 shows over 4 days and nights. That’s a lot of music, (and a lot of 4s)  and glorious, distinct styles and sounds from Algeria to Ghana. You would have danced.