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The opening ceremony of the Perth Festival, 2010. (Photograph by Edis Livnjak, My Shot)

Event-o-Rama: 12 Must-Dos in February

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in February:

  • It’s chic to be a map geek during the 20th annual Miami International Map Fair (February 2-3). Ditch the GPS for a weekend of cartographic bliss, where antique atlases, maps, and books reign supreme. Part of Viva Florida 500 – a statewide initiative celebrating the quincentennial of Ponce de Leon’s arrival – this year’s fair also showcases the Sunshine State’s vibrant history.
  • Forget the Super Bowl and touch down in Cardiff, Wales for the official kickoff to this year’s Six Nations Championship rugby series (February 2). Rival neighbors Wales and Ireland compete in what promises to be an electrifying match in the tournament’s opening week. The team that comes in last is awarded the wooden spoon.
  • For a tiny country, Trinidad and Tobago knows how to throw one big party. On February 11, Carnival fever will take over the Caribbean island in a crescendo of street parties, parades, and calypso music. Not a morning person? Beware: The action begins at 4:00 a.m. with the raucous and colorful J’ouvert festivities.
  • Australia’s westernmost metropolis invites visitors to get creative (and inspired) at the 60th annual Perth Festival (February 8-March 2). From film to literature, music to theater, this three-week-long event celebrates all that is artistic.
  • Join the residents of Reykjavik in a collective thaw during Museum Night (February 8). In a paean to the impending spring, the Icelandic capital’s museums remain open past midnight, and will be offering free admission and transportation between all venues to boot.
  • Two rivers. One hundred million people. Those are the numbers for Allahabad’s Kumbh Mela festival, a Hindu gathering at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. Every twelve years, revelers take the plunge to wash away their sins during this epic gathering, with more than 35 million bathers expected to wade into the waters on the festival’s peak day (February 10).
  • Mardi Gras may be synonymous with New Orleans at this time of year, but backcountry Louisiana offers a more modest alternative. Rural communities like Church Point celebrate Fat Tuesday the Cajun way at the Courir de Mardi Gras (February 8-10), where groups travel from house to house, begging for food that will be used to make a communal gumbo at the end of the route. 
  • Those aren’t stars you’re seeing. To kick off the Lunar New Year in Taiwan, thousands of lanterns will fill the sky above New Taipei City during the culmination of the  2013 Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival (February 24). Two earlier “launch” dates embrace the themes of love (February 14) and dreams (February 17).
  • Gastronomy and the arts collide in singular French-Canadian harmony during Montréal En Lumière (February 21-March 3). Drawing about a million attendees, including foodies and families alike, the winter festival concludes with une nuite blanche – an all-nighter.
  • Its roots are staked in a distant past, when the citizens of Anchorage, Alaska organized a city-wide festival to assuage the doldrums of their long winter. Nearly 80 years later, Fur Rondy (Februrary 22- March 3) captures the spirit of the Last Frontier with dog-sled races, snowshoe softball, snow sculpting, and the costumed Miners and Trappers Charity Ball.
  • Zanzibar plays host to Sauti Za Basura, an African music and film festival that honors the sounds of the continent from February 14-17. Artists representing a diverse array of countries including Senegal, Ghana, Comoros, and Burkina Faso unite in the island nation’s Stone Town district, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Literary elites from all over the world flock to Granada, Nicaragua for the International Poetry Festival (February 17-24). More than 100 poets from 70 countries participate in seminars and readings intended to bring out the Byron in all of us.

What would you add to the list? Let us know what we’re missing by leaving a comment.