Although February is a cold month for most of the world, it is also a time for some of the best festivals on the planet.
With amazing cultural festivals in fabulous countries like Brazil, France, and the United States, February festivals entice millions of guests every year.
12 Top-Rated February Festivals in the World
1. Rio Carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
One of the world’s most famous festivals in February, the Rio Carnival is a premier global event. The Rio Carnival, just like other Carnival celebrations around the world, is a festival that happens just before Lent, where people party before going into abstention.
The entirety of Rio goes into celebration mode for the event. Thus, the Rio Carnival is hard to miss with its elaborate costumes, exciting music and dances, and colorful parades that overtake the city.
Another great thing about this event is that, in Brazil, February is the height of summer, so the parties aren’t dampened by possible cold weather like they are in other parts of the world, like Italy or the USA.
2. Chinese New Year – Beijing, China
Another contender for the world’s most famous festival, Chinese New Year marks the beginning of the traditional Chinese calendar. People participate in these festivals around the world, but the biggest parties are in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
Overall, those in China during the New Year festivals in February can expect to see tons of decorations, elaborate parades, and plenty of fireworks. But some celebrations may include less traditional affairs as well, like horse races or flower festivals.
However, you should remember that although the New Year is usually in February, it can start as early as mid-January because the event follows the lunar calendar. Thus, the exact dates change from year to year.
3. Tapati Rapa Nui Festival – Easter Island
The Tapati Rapa Nui Festival is a fairly recent tradition, starting in the 1970s to preserve and celebrate the Rapa Nui culture. Mainly, the event consists of several competitions, which include dancing, singing, and sporting events.
Although the locals originally started the festivals in February for themselves, the event has expanded, and now anyone present on Easter Island during the celebrations can take part. So, if you visit the island during the Tapati Festival, you can try your hand at activities, such as horse racing, canoeing, and swimming.
Another fun part of the festivities that you can’t find anywhere else on earth is Haka Pei, where participants slide down steep slopes on banana trunks.
The Rapa Nui Festival lasts for two weeks in February. Also, the events occur throughout the island, including on an extinct volcano in Rapa Nui National Park.
4. Mardi Gras – New Orleans, USA
Mardi Gras, which occurs on Fat Tuesday, the last day of Carnival, is synonymous with NOLA. However, although Louisiana is the go-to for Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States, there are also large parties in other cities, namely Mobile, Alabama, and Galveston, Texas.
This parade is one of the top festivals in the United States, with people from all over the country coming to see the fun costumes and huge parades.
5. Jaisalmer Desert Festival – Jaisalmer, India
The Jaisalmer Desert Festival in western India is a celebration to show off the cultural wonders of Rajasthan. The elaborate festivals in February are a big tourist draw to the west Indian state, where locals sing traditional songs, put on dance performances, and just show off as much of their way of life as possible.
However, the shows aren’t the only part of this important festival. Participants also indulge in camel racing, turban tying, and mustache competitions.
6. Venice Carnival – Venice, Italy
Situated in one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, the Venice Carnival often gets overshadowed by Rio’s festivities. Yet, although this Carnival has a lot of the same activities that you can find in Brazil, everything has an Italian spin.
Those who attend the Venice Carnival dress up in elaborate masks and costumes, just like you’d expect from any Carnival, such as the Quebec Winter Carnival. But, Venice has some events that you can’t see anywhere else, like the Flight of the Angel, where the winner of last year’s Festa della Marie ziplines from the bell tower in Saint Mark’s Square.
The Venetian parties begin on a Thursday and last until Shrove Tuesday.
7. Sauti za Busara – Zanzibar, Tanzania
Sauti za Busara, which means ‘Sounds of Wisdom,’ is a pan-African music event with film screenings and theater, comedy, and dance events. But, of course, Sauti za Busara is mainly about music, and you can hear all kinds of African tunes, ranging from traditional to modern genres.
One of the best places to experience the event is at Forodhani Gardens, where there are free performances every day.
8. Taiwan Lantern Festival – New Taipei City, Taiwan
The Taiwan Lunar Festival occurs on the first lunar month’s 15th day and is the grand finale of the Chinese New Year. The most significant event of the celebration is when everyone lets their lighted paper lanterns rise into the night sky, creating a beautiful scene like no other.
The largest celebrations are in Taipei and New Taipei City, but there are other large festivals in February in Taichung and Tainan Yanshui.
9. Lemon Festival – Menton, France
The Festival of Lemons, or ‘Fête du Citron’ in French, is an event in the French Alps that celebrates the production of the area’s specialty high-quality lemons and other citrus fruits.
These celebrations are a part of the French Carnival.
10. Saidaiji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri – Okayama, Japan
The Saidaiji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri, also called the Naked Men Festival, dates back 500 years when worshippers tried to catch talismans thrown by a priest at Saidaiji Kannon-in Temple for good luck. Today, the event has evolved to where thousands of men dressed only in loincloths and socks compete for lucky objects in front of the same temple.
But, the Naked Man Festival isn’t all fun and games, and some people take it quite seriously. Also, the temple marks the start of the Chugoku Pilgrimage, one of the traditional Buddhist pilgrimage routes.
11. Flowers and Romance Festival – Christchurch, New Zealand
Every year, New Zealand’s oldest city hosts the Flowers and Romance Festival around Valentine’s Day. During this time in mid-February, the city becomes awash with flowers, and people honor the idea of love.
12. Thaipusam – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Thaipusam, celebrated at Batu Caves, right outside of Kuala Lumpur, is a February occasion that honors events in Hinduism, namely the birth of Murugan. At the caves, visitors can see art and statues that represent Hindu mythology.
If you go to Thaipusam, just make sure that you check travel tips before you leave because the event can become quite crowded.
February celebrations are some of the best of the year and attract thousands of visitors to places all over the earth. From Carnivals to cultural fiestas, you can be sure to find a February event that is right for you.
Table of Contents
- 12 Top-Rated February Festivals in the World
- 1. Rio Carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- 2. Chinese New Year – Beijing, China
- 3. Tapati Rapa Nui Festival – Easter Island
- 4. Mardi Gras – New Orleans, USA
- 5. Jaisalmer Desert Festival – Jaisalmer, India
- 6. Venice Carnival – Venice, Italy
- 7. Sauti za Busara – Zanzibar, Tanzania
- 8. Taiwan Lantern Festival – New Taipei City, Taiwan
- 9. Lemon Festival – Menton, France
- 10. Saidaiji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri – Okayama, Japan
- 11. Flowers and Romance Festival – Christchurch, New Zealand
- 12. Thaipusam – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia