There are loads of festivals in February around the world for you to add to your bucket list. Something fun to look forward to after Christmas anyone?
Who says you have to come down from your Christmas and New Year high once peak winter passes? There are plenty of festivals in February to keep the fun going.
Before spring hits, indulge in more festivities wherever you happen to be! Your February festival calendar looks no less shabby than the rest of the year, even if it means travelling across the world to fill it. My list of February celebrations around the world will no doubt tempt you.
Best Festivals in February
Here are the best February festivals for you to choose between!
1. Rio Carnival, Brazil
9th – 17th February 2024
Let’s start our list of February festivals with a bang!
Possibly the world’s most famous festival, the Carnival lures in millions of people every day. The streets of Rio de Janeiro are flooded for five sleepless days, colourful parades, costumes and over-the-top parties making it the ‘greatest show on Earth’.
The flamboyant festival arose out of tradition, where everyone removed the temptation to wine and dine during Lent. As you can imagine, this means a hedonistic party where everything goes – including feathered headpieces and exuberant Brazilian dances.
Go to Rio Carnival and it’ll be the experience of a lifetime!
2. Chinese New Year, China
10th February 2024
Yes, Chinese New Year makes it onto yet another list, as well as the best festivals in January: the best festivals in February that the world has to offer. The exact dates are decided by the lunar calendar, landing as early as mid-January and as late as end-February.
Many families have their own rituals and traditional activities scheduled throughout the week, but even walking through your city’s Chinatown is an amazing experience during Chinese New Year! I know I’ve gorged on my share of dumplings, Chinese sweet cakes and other occasion delicacies – especially when I lived in London.
If you’re in the position to earn some red packets, make sure you return the favor with traditional Chinese greetings.
3. Tapati Rapa Nui, Chile
TBC for February 2024
Easter Island is known for the monolithic heads and potential for deep magic, but for two weeks in early February, our attention is drawn to a unique cultural festival. What Tapati Rapa Nui offers isn’t unlimited drinks or heart-thumping music – but authentic, islander culture.
Visitors are encouraged to participate, even in events hosted at the crater of an extinct volcano! Spearfishing, sliding down steep slopes on banana trunks, dance competitions and more will fill your days with laughter. The highlight? When two families battle it out on the dance floor to crown the Queen of Tapati.
4. Carnival of Venice, Italy
3rd – 13th February 2024
Similar to the Rio Carnival of Brazil, Italy’s version – the Carnival of Venice – also takes place before Lent. Where the Brazilians are about indulging before a long fast, this Carnival is about throwing away class differences and knowing only revelry.
How do they do so?
Why, by hiding behind the most elaborate masks you can find!
Twirling skirts, painted faces, jester hats and peacocked masks will lead you in a merry chase across Venice’s countless bridges. It’s like falling into an alternate universe; your own Alice in Wonderland experience for this February festival. It’s known as one of the best February celebrations in Europe and the best festivals in the world.
5. Taj Mahotsav, India
18th – 27th of February (Annually)
Like most of India’s celebrations, this February festival lasts a whopping ten days!
With India being such a diverse quilt of states, Taj Mahotsav is a chance for people to understand how culture, food, craft, dance and music vary across the country. It’s one of the most important festivals in February.
Located in Agra, the festival brings a flood of colour, noise and visitors. Featuring furniture from Saharanpur, carpets from Bhadohi, pottery from Khurja, other arts and cuisines from all over India – it’s the ultimate sampler plate.
6. Jaisalmer Desert Festival, India
22nd – 24th February 2024
Another Indian festival and international event in February not to be missed is the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. Often a monthly affair, the festivities draw plenty of tourists to Rajasthan where it is held.
You can imagine all kinds of quirky contests and still be surprised at the innovation behind them. From camel racing to turban tying and even ranking the longest moustaches in attendance, visitors can watch and participate in various activities.
7. Bergen International Literary Festival, Norway
7th – 11th February 2024
Literature lovers welcomed a new literary festival in 2019: Norway’s Bergen International Literary Festival. Celebrating both non-fiction and fiction, it hosted writers from 25 countries in 2020. Apart from readings, author talks and open mikes, there are also youth programs to encourage young writers.
While the festival is still young, it’s definitely helping us understand how literature has evolved over the decades.
READ MORE: Fancy doing a Festival Quiz?
8. Envision, Costa Rica
4th – 11th of March 2024
Costa Rica is telling you to envision a week full of hippie goodness. After all, music heals the soul – and it might just heal earth too. With an overarching theme of environmental awareness and holistic healing, Envision Festival is all about having fun while doing good.
The heavy beats and eclectic music might give off night club vibes, but your day-to-day is a whole lot wholesome! Think yoga sessions, guided herb walks, drum circles and collaborative art projects. Through martial arts, dance and spoken workshops, you’ll find a community to vibe with.
Who said eco-friendly festivals can’t be fun?
9. Quebec Winter Carnival, Canada
2nd – 11th February 2024
Embrace the cold! Frolic through snow!
The largest winter carnival in the world takes place in frosty Quebec, this February festival leans into the winter spirit. In a city besieged with harsh winters, festivities and community really warm the heart. It’s one of the best winter festivals around the world.
The first step is, of course, bundling up! I wouldn’t go without the whole scarf, gloves, hat and winter boot ensemble. Make sure to snap some photos of the ice and snow sculptures, and also of the colorful parade cars. The music shows will keep you toasty all night through.
It’s one of the most important festivals in Canada.
10. Sauti za Busara, Zanzibar
9th – 11th February 2024
Yet another February festival with cultural leanings, Sauti za Busara translates into ‘sounds of wisdom’. These very sounds echo around Stone Town’s Old Fort; traditional African music mingle with modern genres to keep you dancing between film screenings, comedy shows and other riveting performances.
Don’t miss out on the opening parade at Forodhani Gardens!
READ MORE: Cheap Things to Do in Zanzibar
11. Charleston Wine + Food, USA
6th – 10th March 2024
South Carolina is known for its hospitality and Charleston for its connoisseurs of everything tasty. Yes, this is a festival dedicated to food.
Hundreds of chefs gather at Culinary Village to offer tastings, samples, chef demos and other amazing food-themed activities. Eat your way through multi-course dinners or Signature Events; make oyster roast the highlight of your day.
While the brunches and lunches sound fantastic, I’m also intrigued by the cocktail workshops! It’d be a great learning experience, prepping you for future home parties where you can show off unexpected kitchen skills.
12. Adelaide Fringe, Australia
16th February -17th of March 2024
Forgo the snow and winter chill for a beachside month at Australia’s favorite southern city, Adelaide. I certainly would love a dose of the outdoors!
What makes Adelaide Fringe so amazing however, isn’t just the weather – it’s also the world’s second-largest annual arts festival. Anyone brave enough to step on stage is welcome to perform. From cabaret to circus acts, to comedy and dance performances, you might be catching the next trending talent!
Don’t forget other going-ons like the night markets, a literal ‘goose chase’ for treasure, and the ever epic Parade of Light.
13. Saidaiji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri, Japan
17th February 2024
Nearly naked men might not be your idea of a festival, but Okayama’s annual fest (in the winter no less) is all about luck and happiness. Priests toss lucky objects for thousands of men to fight over, a ritual that started over 500 years ago. Dressed in simple loincloths and tabi socks, these brave souls spend an hour or two running around the temple to ‘purify the body and soul’.
Pay your respects to the patron goddess of mercy at the temple where it takes place. It’s actually the first stop of the Chugoku Pilgrimage, an extremely meaningful journey for worshippers.
14. Taiwan Lantern Festival, Taiwan
24th of February 2024
If your birthday wish hasn’t come true, try your luck at the Taiwan Lantern Festival!
Piggybacking off age-old Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival and Yanshui Fireworks Festival, this combination festival is spread out over the country.
You know the famous flying lantern scene in Disney’s Tangled? Well, you can watch the beautiful drift of lights in person. The lanterns once signaled safety but now, they carry our deepest wishes and hopes into the sky.
It’s truly an incredible sight.
15. Lemon Festival, France
17th of February – 3rd March 2024
Can you believe there’s a festival dedicated to lemons, of all fruits? Definitely one of the weirder food festivals in the world!
Located in the French Alps is a town known for its high quality lemons: Menton. This innovative community took celebrating local produce to a whole new level in 1934, resulting in a popular and colorful festival.
Yellow colors everything, from floats, displays, sculptures and other evening shows. Don’t forget to take home some of these famous citrus as well!
16. Noise Pop Festival, San Francisco
Although the name of the festival denotes that it’s all about pop, it’s actually a great music festival in February to go to if you like indie, rock, hip-hop and electronic music too. It takes place in one of the most vibrant cities in the world: San Francisco.
Beyond music, Noise Pop Festival celebrates everything in the arts, with film screenings, art shows, panels and more. Some of the workshops you can find cover topics like the challenges of independent music production, the evolving landscape of music journalism, or even hands-on skills like DIY synthesiser construction.
17. Mardi Gras, New Orleans
13th February 2024
The New Orleans version of Mardi Gras is particularly famous, known as one of the best celebrations in February to go to. There’s extravagant parades, masquerade balls, and street parties. Krewes (private social clubs) organise the parades, which have elaborate floats and costumes, and the tossing of “throws” like beads and doubloons to the crowds.
Mardi Gras, which means “Fat Tuesday” in French, is celebrated primarily in New Orleans, but also elsewhere around the world. It marks the last day before the Christian season of Lent.
18. Almond Blossom Festival, Agrigento, Italy
The Almond Blossom Festival, or Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore in Italian, takes place in Agrigento in Sicily. It’s a celebration of the arrival of spring, where all the almond trees begin to blossom. It’s one of the most wholesome events in February, where visitors from everywhere come to enjoy nature and the turning of the season.
The festival includes a variety of events such as folk dance performances, traditional Sicilian puppet shows, music concerts, and culinary events showcasing almond-based foods and sweets.
One of the highlights is the parade of folk groups, featuring participants from various countries who present their national dances and songs, making the Almond Blossom Festival not just a local Sicilian event, but a celebration of international cultures. There’s also craft fairs, where you can find lots of almond-based products like marzipan, almond milk, and sweets.
Festivals in February
With these amazing festivals in February around the world, winter no longer seems so long and dreary. Booking something fun to do in February is a great way of getting over the winter blues – especially if it means travelling to Brazil or New Orleans where the atmosphere is just electric.
The February festival list is packed with music, arts, carnivals, lights and lanterns, nature and just about everything you could want a celebration for. These festivals serve as more than just an excuse to escape the daily grind. So, if you find yourself yearning for adventure, culture, or simply a break from the routine, festivals in February around the world can make for the best way to do so.
What February festivals does your country enjoy?
READ MORE: The Best Festivals in March
What is biggest festival in February?
February has a host of festivals, but the biggest is arguably the Brazilian Carnival. This festival takes place in the lead-up to Lent and is celebrated with parades, music, dancing, and elaborate costumes. It’s not only Brazil’s most famous festival but also one of the world’s largest, drawing millions of tourists and participants each year.
What famous holidays are in February?
February is a month with several globally-recognised holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year (although this sometimes falls outside of February depending on the lunar calendar), and Mardi Gras, although not strictly a “holiday,” is a significant event often observed in late February or early March.
What music festivals take place in February 2024?
Music festivals in February are more numerous as the year begins to pick up steam. Sauti za Busara in Zanzibar focuses on African music and showcases a broad range of talents. Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco celebrates indie music and underground culture. There’s also Tapati Rapa Nui in Chile. These generally take place in February, but vary from year-to-year.
Which are the best festivals in February?
February is an exciting month for international festivals, and a few stand out as being among the best. The Brazilian Carnival is, of course, a February festival that draws millions. Venice Carnival is another one of the celebrations in February known for its elaborate masks and costumes. The Sapporo Snow Festival in Japan is also renowned for its impressive ice sculptures and light displays. For film enthusiasts, the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) is one of the must-see events in February, showcasing a range of global cinematic talents.