The month of love for most, just another perfect month to travel for many; February is an ideal month for a getaway. Be it a romantic escapade, a family vacation or a solo backpacking trip, this month manages to pack in a lot of festivals and events best suited for all types of holidays.
From vivacious music fests to fascinating cultural extravaganzas, here are 8 festivals and events in February that you must witness, at least once in your lifetime.
Fun Festivals And Events In February
1. Rio Carnival, Rio de Janerio, Brazil
When: 21st to 26th February
Featuring on every true traveller’s wish list, the Rio Carnival, a.k.a. Carnaval do Rio de Janeiro, is a sight to behold! Rightfully claiming to be the Greatest show on Earth, the carnival is a mix of captivating samba performances, larger than life floats, extravagant costumes, lively parades, street parties and dazzling balls.
Having a history dating back to the 1600s, the carnival celebrations initially started as communal feasts organized to thank Dionysus, the god of grape-harvest and wine. From its humble beginnings to becoming the greatest show on the planet, the Rio Carnival has come a long way.
2. Dragobete, Romania
When: 24th February
Way before the concept of Valentine’s Day hit the Romanian shores, the country used to (and still does) celebrate love on 24th February, during Dragobete.
Dragobete was the son of the demigoddess associated with the return of spring season. He himself was named as the Protector of Birds (and by extension, spring) and the Guardian of Love. During the bygone era, during the festival of Dragobete, young boys and girls used to head into the woods to search for spring flowers, dance until the sunset and even kiss in front of the villagers as a gesture of their commitment towards each other. And although nobody in the big cities do this now, the spirit of love still lingers in the air on 24th February in Romania. Couples in cities like Bucharest exchange gifts on this day. Local businesses also organize events to celebrate Dragobete, the day of love.
3. Friend’s Day, Finland
When: 14th February
If you find yourself taking a stroll on the streets on Helsinki on Valentine’s Day, and if you happen to be single, Finland has just the celebration for you! The Finns have a unique interpretation of Valentine’s Day; for them, V’day = Friend’s day and thus, instead of just couples celebrating, the Finns include everybody in the festivities.
On this day, best friends meet up and exchange cards, flowers, chocolates and gifts. Some good Samaritans go as far as to include single strangers into their celebrations. Now this sounds like it is one of the best festivals and events in February!
4. Mardi Gras, New Orleans, USA
When: 25th February
If you are thinking of heading over to New Orleans, USA during the month of February, do pack some purple, green and golden pieces of clothing; that’s the colour scheme of the vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations! Just like the Rio Carnival, Mardi Gras too is a grand street party which is an eclectic mix of parades, floats, music and dance.
During the Mardi Gras celebrations, you will find revelers wearing long beaded strings around their necks. These beads are generally caught from the floats of previous parades. You too should try catching hold of some, it will definitely be such a unique souvenir.
5. Venice Carnival, Venice, Italy
When: 8th to 25th February
Locally known as the Carnevale di Venezia, the Venice Carnival was first held in the 11th century. Back then, the festivities used to last for over 2 months! After facing a decline in the celebrations, due to various reasons, the carnival that we know today was revived and revamped in 1979. The Venice Carnival is a thrilling amalgamation of music, masks, parades, costumes and open-air festivals.
Just like the Rio Carnival and Mardi Gras, the Venice Carnival too is celebrated before the onset of Lent. Lent is a religious observance among Christians where the faithful undergoes fasting and abstinence of certain food products, for a period of 6 weeks.
6. Jaisalmer Desert Festival, Jaisalmer, India
When: 7th to 9th February
A window into the traditions and cultural heritage of the Indian state of Rajasthan, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival is a riot of colours! If you want to experience camel races, longest moustache contests, turban tying competitions, Mr. Desert competitions, jugglers, enthralling folk dance performances, engrossing folk music ballads, desert safaris, camel-back polo matches and puppeteers, all under one roof, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival is the place to be this month!
7. Tapati Festival, Easter Island
When: 1st to 15th February
If you want to experience a unique festival at a unique destination, book your flights to the enigmatic Easter Island this February. Locally known as the Tapati Rapa Nui, the Tapati Festival finds its roots in the prehistoric spring celebrations.
In the present day, however, the Tapati festival is not just one festive celebration but is a series of events. This includes activities such as parades with floats, stone and wood carving and Mahute painting, and competitions such as the canoeing, horse racing, sports fishing, Rapa Nui Triathlon, poetry recitation, dance competitions and a local form of bodyboarding. The grand finale of the entire celebration is the crowing of the Queen and King of Tapati.
8. Envision Festival, Uvita, Costa Rica
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When: 17th to 24th February
In its 10th year, Envision, Costa Rica, is built on 7 pillars, viz a viz, Music, Sustainability, Spirituality, Movement, Health, Art and Education. This essentially means that the Envision Festival is a fun mixture of live musical performances, yoga and spirituality workshops, herbal clinic trainings, active lifestyle activities, panel discussions by change-makers and thought-leaders and an immersive art environment, all in a sustainable atmosphere.
The musical lineup for this year includes Rüfüs Du Sol, Tipper, The Funk Hunters and Amanda Sage, to name a few. The active lifestyle excursions include surf lessons, Cascade Verde hike and waterfall rappelling, again, just to name a few!
This month of love looks like it has packed a lot into it – from music fests to cultural events, from grand revelries to artsy occasions… Which of these festivals and events in February are you excited to witness?