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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 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.


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.



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.



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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