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Major festivals, events around the world

January 22, 2006

Here is a selected list of events for 2006. (For an expanded list, go to latimes.com/worldevents.) For more information on an event, plug its name into your favorite search engine. All dates and events are subject to change, so check before going.

February

Ottawa: Winterlude, Feb. 3-19 (weekends). One of the continent's largest winter festivals.

Perth, Australia: Perth International Arts Festival, Feb. 10-March 5, among the country's oldest and largest festivals of music, dance, theater, film and visual arts.

Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Arts Festival, Feb. 9-March 12, attracts world-class performers.

Turin, Italy: The 20th Olympic Winter Games, Feb. 10-26.

Europe: Major carnival festivities in Belgium (Binche, Feb. 26-28); Germany (Aachen, Feb. 11-27; Bremen, Feb. 17-18; Dusseldorf, Feb. 23-27; Cologne, Feb. 23-28; Mainz, Feb. 23-March 1; Munich, Feb. 26-28); Italy (Viareggio, Feb. 12-March 5 [Sundays]; Venice, Feb. 17-28); Portugal (Funchal, Madeira, Feb. 25-28; Lisbon, Feb. 28); Spain (Malaga, Feb. 3-12; Barcelona, Feb. 23-March 1; Sitges, Feb. 23-March 1; Cadiz, Feb. 23-March 5; Santiago de Compostela, Feb. 28-March 1; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, March 2-12); Switzerland (Lucerne, Feb. 23-28; Basel, March 6-8)

Hong Kong: Spring Lantern Festival, Feb. 12. An annual event marking the end of New Year celebrations.

Stuttgart, Germany: Dance Platform Germany (Tanzplattform Deutschland), Feb. 22-26, the country's leading contemporary dance event.

Brazil: Major carnival festivities in Bahia (Feb. 22-March 1), Rio de Janeiro (Feb. 25-28)

Vienna: Vienna Opera Ball, Feb. 23. The highlight of the city's ball season.

Caribbean: Major carnival festivities in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Feb. 23-March 1; Port of Spain, Trinidad, Feb. 26-28; Aruba, Feb. 26-March 8; San Pedro, Belize, March 1.

Buenos Aires: The Tango Festival, Feb. 24-March 6, features free events around the city.

Dalarna, Sweden: The Vasaloppet cross-country ski festival, Feb. 24-March 5, celebrated yearly since 1922.

Adelaide, Australia: The Adelaide Fringe, Feb. 24-March 19, one the country's biggest arts festivals.

Khajuraho, India: At Khajuraho Dance Festival, Feb. 25-March 3, the country's finest classical dancers perform among ancient temples on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

New Orleans: Mardi Gras Day, Feb. 28.

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March

Nara, Japan: Omizutori Water-Drawing Festival, March 1-14, a 1,200-year-old series of rituals performed by Buddhist monks at Todaiji temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Daytona Beach, Fla.: Bike Week, March 3-12, claims to be the world's largest motorcycle event.

Anchorage: The Iditarod, the nine- to 12-day dog-sled race, begins March 4.

Philadelphia: Philadelphia Flower Show, March 5-12. Among the largest anywhere.

Maastricht, Netherlands: International Fine Art and Antiques Fair, widely considered the world's best event of its kind, March 10-19.

Jaipur, India: The city's annual Elephant Festival, March 14.

Dublin, Ireland: St. Patrick's Festival, March 15-19.

Valencia, Spain: Las Fallas, March 15-19, the city's biggest festival, a week of bonfires and parades.

Budapest, Hungary: The Budapest Spring Festival, March 17-April 6, the country's major annual cultural event, hosting music, dance, film and more.

Tokyo: Cherry-blossom viewing around the Emperor's Palace, March 25-31.

Washington, D.C.: The National Cherry Blossom Festival, March 25-April 9, celebrates the 3,000 blooming cherry trees around the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin.

Nashville: Tin Pan South, March 28-April 1, songwriters' festival.

Sisimiut, Greenland: The Arctic Circle Race, a three-day cross-country ski competition, March 31-April 2.

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April

Oudtshoorn, South Africa: The Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, April 1-8, offers pop, rock, cabaret, classical music, drama and dance.

Charleston, S.C.: The Lowcountry Cajun Festival, April 2, has Zydeco and Cajun music, crawfish races, Creole food and more.

Geneva: Salon des Inventions, an international inventors' exhibition, April 5-9, one of the principal events of its kind.

Verona, Italy: Vinitaly, April 6-10, is one of the world's largest exhibitions of wines and spirits.

Paro, Bhutan: During Paro Tsechu, April 9-13, throngs in traditional costume descend on Paro Dzong temple for Buddhist blessings, dances and dramatic performances.

Melbourne, Australia: The Melbourne Comedy Festival, April 12-May 7, with more than 1,000 acts in one of the world's largest such events.

Luang Prabang, Laos: Pii Mai, the Laotian New Year, April 13-15, celebrated in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Thailand: Songkran, the Thai New Year, April 13-15, marked by colorful parades and much water-throwing.

Rome: On Good Friday, April 14, the pope leads a torchlight procession up Palatine Hill from the Colosseum, reenacting the Stations of the Cross.

Taiwan (various locations): Mazu (Goddess of the Sea) parades, April 20, with celebrations at 400 temples accompanied by drums and firecrackers.

Chau Doc, Vietnam: Ba Chua Xu, April 20-25, the country's largest folk festival.

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