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10 Of The Best Festivals Held In February

Place:Various Countries
When:Dec 26, 2016.
This is the Second of our 12 'Best Festivals Held' infoguides series and we showcase festivals that occur primarily in the month of February ... this also includes the LONGEST carnival in the world (2 months long).

To truly understand a culture and to experience fully how people live, breathe and enjoy life, you MUST attend a festival. Festivals, whether they are large international events or simple local traditions dating back for centuries, offer a wealth of experiences for visitors to enjoy and immerse themselves in the culture.

There are literally thousands of festivals and cultural events every year and to help guide you, we are putting together a series of infoguides that highlight and showcase, by month, some of best festivals in the world.



The Carnival of Ivrea in the Province of Turin is one of the oldest festivals in the world. 

Sometime in the Middle Ages, Ivrea’s lord attempted to rape the daughter of one of his serfs on the eve of her wedding, since by law he had the right to take her virginity.

Somehow Mugnaia (the miller’s daughter) managed to kill him with a sword and the resulting insurrection, in which the townspeople fought and defeated the lord’s henchmen (who were elevated in horse-drawn carts) set the town free from his oppression

The thrilling Battle of the Oranges re-enacts this with the aranceri or orange throwers on foot (representing the people) defending themselves against Napoleonic troops (the lords henchmen) throwing oranges from elevated carts.

Meanwhile, through the streets of the city there is a party atmosphere with sweets being distributed and general merriment and a carnival like atmosphere.

Ps. Wearing a berretto frigio or red beret / hat / head wrap MAY exempt you from being pelted ... cant be guaranteed.

In 2017, the festival will be held between 25th and 28th February


Also known as Rapa Nui week, this event in Easter Island is both a test of masculine strength and feminine grace and a way of maintaining and promoting the Rapa Nui culture amongst the islanders.

The festival consists of numerous dancing and singing competitions, as well as traditional sporting events such as swimming, canoeing, horse racing, haka pei (sliding down the island’s steepest slope on banana trunks), and the island triathlon.

During the festival, the town is divided in two clans with each choosing a Queen to represent them during the artistic and sporting competitions.

The parade is part of the voting process. On the afternoon of the parade, people head to one of the two camps for the family and Queen you want to vote for, you strip naked and dip yourself in colored mud. Once dry, they will paint symbols on your body and then you march in the parade behind the float with your Queen. If you are fully decorated, then the judges give you a 10. If you aren't completely covered in mud and decorated, you might earn a 5, a 2, or a 0, and your vote is weighted accordingly.

The Queen of the clan with the most points will win the crown and 'bragging' rights for the year.

Video in Spanish but a great overview of activities.

The Festival is held during the first two weeks of February

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The Whitefish Winter Carnival has been celebrated since the 1950's.

According to legend, Ullr, the Nordic God of Snow lived on the Big Mountain in Montana and had to battle yetis who lived in the mountains. Ullr was able to defeat the yetis and to celebrate Ullr, the Whitefish Winter Carnival was created by the people of Whitefish.

Guests participate in the Penguin Plunge (a hole is cut into Whitefish Lake and participants take a dip to raise funds for charity), an old fashioned main street parade, pie social, torch-light ski parade and the all important Ski-Joring ... a combo of skiing, horseriding and drinking.

The 2017 Carnival takes place 3 to 5 February.

4) MARDI GRAS in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans Mardi Gras has it all! It's a season of passion and romance, good food and amazing music ... and a lot of partying.

Mardi Gras which is the French for "Fat Tuesday", is a time to indulge in life's excesses before the fasting of the Lenten season.

With the entire city coloured in purple, green and gold (representing justice, faith and power), there is usually one major parade each day organized by parade organizations known as "krewes". The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the Mardi Gras season.

Mardi Gras is on Tuesday, 28 February, 2017 and is always the day before Ash Wednesday (Parades & celebrations run through 24 -28 February)



The Lantern Festival is one of Taiwan’s tourism highlights and takes place annually during Chinese New Year.

During the Taiwan Lantern Festival, thousands of sky lanterns light up Pingxi District, a mountain town an hours drive from Taipei.

According to the elders, this tradition begun more than two thousand years ago, when outlaws frequently raided the villages thus forcing residents to seek refuge in the mountains. Back then, the watchmen used their lanterns as signals to inform those hiding that the town was safe again.

Today, these lanterns are primarily adorned with ambitions, desires and wishes for the New Year and released to 'take' the hopes and prayers to the heavens.

Festival is held on 11 February, 2017

6) CARNIVAL SANTA CRUZ, Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the CANARY ISLANDS

The Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival, considered the second most popular and internationally known carnival, after the one held in Rio, is also the most “Brazilian” of all the Spanish carnivals.

During the carnival period, the streets of the city come alive with thousands of people in fancy dresses dancing until the early hours of the morning.

On Ash Wednesday, after a procession through the town, the spirit of Carnival (symbolised by the sardine), is accompanied by a large group of grieving male “widows” in miniskirts and fishnets and cremated. This event, known as the Burial of the Sardine (Entierro de la Sardina) culminates in a huge fireworks display and burning the giant papier-mâché sardine on a funeral pyre to mark the end of all carnival festivities.

The Entierro de la Sardina is really just the beginning of the end, as there are still four days left to party. The definitive end is on the Sunday following Ash Wednesday, when Tenerife says "adios" to the Carnival with the so-called "Piñata Chica," a celebration featuring parades, parties and shows.

Following the final parade, the Tenerife Carnival goes out with a literal bang as fireworks light the night sky.

Carnival is from 22 February to 5 March, 2017

7) SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL in Sapporo, Hokkaido, JAPAN

The Snow festival attracts more than two million visitors from Japan and across the world and is staged on three sites: the Odori Site, Susukino Site and Tsu Dome Site.

The staging of nearly 400 spectacular ice and snow sculptures is what draws visitors to the 12-block stretch of Odori Park, home to much of the action and the majority of sculpture activity. As this is a park, you can drop by whenever you like.

Susukino, the nightlife district, a ten-minute walk or one subway stop south of Odori. Here, you’ll predominantly find ice carvings.

The other spot for winter fun is Tsu Dome, a remote spot northwest of Odori, best accessed by train. Tsu Dome is the place to go to interact with and experience the snow firsthand; it’s also the most family-friendly spot. Hop on a snow tube and go ice sliding, or grab a raft and brave the cold on your face as you get pulled by a snowmobile.

This 2017 event is between 1 February 1 and 12 February

Image by Christopher Chan (Flickr)

8) Magical Lantern Festival in London, UK

The Magical Lantern Festival London is a spectacular fusion of art, heritage and culture. Illuminating outdoor installations of beautifully sculpted lanterns taking various forms.

The festival has entered its second year in London as the UK prepares to celebrate Chinese New Year of the Rooster 2017 and the cultural significance surrounding this extraordinary event. The theme for this year’s festival is: ‘Explore The Silk Road’. Visitors will discover magnificent life-sized and oversized lantern scenes, which represent and highlight this significant route of trade and culture from Europe to Ancient China.

The Silk Road Festival journey begins with a 15-metre wide lantern of London’s Houses of Parliament. Visitors continue their tour by exploring lanterns related to the Silk Road representing Europe, Central Asia, Arabia, Egypt, Persia, India and Ancient China.

The London Festival runs from 19 January to 26 February (festivals in other parts of the UK also)

see for more info

9) Carnevale di Viareggio, Viareggio, Tuscany, ITALY

This is one of Europe's largest Mardi Gras style festivals and is held in February each year on the Northern Tuscan coast

Gigantic floats, that are often engineering marvels invade the streets and the characters portrayed are usually easy to recognize from the world of politics, show business, music and entertainment.

The Carnevale actually takes place over an entire month with 5 days of processions. These processions are held on 4 Sundays and one on Fat Tuesday. The parades typically take place between the end of January and beginning of March, in the fours weeks that precede Lent (which is the forty day period before Easter).

Festival runs from 5 February till 28 February 2017

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And now to the MOTHER of all Carnivals


The Rio Carnival has a unique style, which is mainly attributed to the influence of Africans and the Samba music.

Not much to say except that ... its one BIG PARTY!!!!

Festival runs from 24 February to 4 March.

Image by Joseph King via Flickr

These are only 10 of the worldwide festivals held in February. As you can see, festivals come in many different guises and we have been deliberate in giving you a wide variety of festivals to highlight the diversity of our world.

February is a busy month in the Festival/Carnival season because its often the month before the liturgical season of Lent.

The word Carnival originates from the Portuguese ‘Carne Vale’, interpreted as ‘Farewell to meat’. The phrase refers to the Carnival as being the ultimate celebration before Lent, when people abstain from alcohol, meat and pleasure. During this period (between the Epiphany and Shrove/FAT Tuesday), people overindulge themselves by partying, eating 'richer' foods and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. All this typically comes to an end on Ash Wednesday.

Since this is February, it will be criminal to highlight only 10 festivals, so we have saved the 'longest' for the last ... THE LONGEST CARNEVALE in the world, which lasts for up to 2 months.


The carnival begins on December 26, with a religious ceremony in which the townspeople take a candle to church and ask forgiveness beforehand for the sins that they will commit during the festival period. It continues in January and ends on Fat Tuesday in February .

Every Thursday is dedicated to mocking a different group of people.

There are four Carnival parades, three on the Sunday’s leading up to Lent and the main one on the night of Fat or Shrove Tuesday.

On Fat Tuesday, the Carnival to a close with the biggest parade of all ... the Martedi Grasso (The Mardi Gras). This Parade ends with a “funeral” procession where the masked “priests” lead a 'sacrificial' pig to the main Piazza where it is ritually sacrificed and burned.

For more festivals shared on thegoodguide, use '#festival' in the search box. For events occurring in February, use '#February'.

If you know of other festivals or cultural events that need highlighting, please comment below or join Thegoodguide, add Infoguides and Stuff and share your world with us.



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