February is a month when the world comes together and celebrates love and life. With St Valentine's Day mere weeks away, here are five festivals and events you should plan to attend with your loved ones.
Rio de Janeiro Carnaval
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 14 – 17
For a weekend of flashy clothes, high-energy dancing and a party like no other, Rio De Janeiro should be your number one February travel destination. Carnaval is perhaps the most famous festival in the world, with thousands of visitors pouring into the city from all corners of the globe.
There are many events to enjoy in the streets, all leading towards the penultimate parade and party, scheduled on Shrove Tuesday which lands on February 17 this year. Get your samba shoes on, don the frilliest clothes you own and jump into a Brazilian bandas – a street party guided by enthusiastic drummers and singers. Be warned, these events often require full participation – including dancing and fancy dress in some cases.
Allow the bandas to lead you into the heart of the Carnaval on February 17 to experience the samba parade – the envy of all other parades across the globe. On this night, the Sambodromo becomes the world's longest and most brightly coloured runway, with so much to do and see you'll not want the night to end.
Fete du Citron
Menton, France, February 14 – March 4
The Lemon Festival is a truly unique experience for those visiting France in February. In the town of Menton, the public gardens are transformed into works of art created entirely of lemons. In fact, over 145 tonnes of lemons are used to create the features, which attract more than 160,000 transfixed visitors each year.
The lemons of Menton are said to be different to the fruit from any other town in the area, and the locals will tell you the legend of how their lemons come from the garden of paradise, planted in Menton by Eve because the bay reminded her of the paradise she had lost. Now, both professional growers and local homeowners are encouraged to grow lemons, which means the town is covered with 100 different varieties of the fruit.
The extravagant lemon-built displays are only one of the ways Menton celebrates the small, yellow citrus fruit, with parades, a festival of light, arts and crafts shows, orchid displays and parties scheduled in honour of the humble lemon.
Chinese New Year
Hong Kong, China, February 19 – 21
Not quite done celebrating the beginning of 2015? Head on over to Hong Kong to enjoy the Chinese New Year's celebrations and bring in the Year of the Goat in style.
With a carnival-inspired parade, huge fireworks and horse racing held across the city, you'll easily find something fun and entertaining for your time there. The world-famous fireworks are scheduled on February 20 this year, and you'll want to arrive at the Victoria Harbour early to get a good view of the spectacular display. Even nearby skyscrapers are involved in the event, with the lights choreographed to supplement the fireworks.
Art Deco Weekend
Napier, New Zealand, February 18 – 22
After a devastating earthquake on February 3, 1931, the city of Napier was reduced to ashes and rubble. Picking up the pieces, the community was rebuilt in a unique art deco style that established the reborn district as a must-see feature for travellers across the globe.
To celebrate and remember the events that created the city as it is today, each year, Napier hosts a weekend of 1920s?- and 30s-themed festivities. The town is transformed into a blast from the past, as almost every building, car and person is dressed for the occasion.
Be transported back to the time of flappers and jazz, by dressing in your best Gatsby-era frocks and suits, and attend one of the many picnics, dinners and dances hosted across the city.
St Valentine's Day
Terni, Italy, February 14
Where better to mark the year's most loved-filled day than the birthplace of Saint Valentine himself. The township of Terni, located in the heart of Italy, dedicates itself to celebrating couples and companionship all through the month, but February 14 is definitely the most heart-warming day to be there.
Saint Valentine is said to have handed out roses from his own garden to visitors to Terni. When two of these visitors fell in love, the saint and his home town were forever entwined with the idea of love. To keep this spirit alive, Terni welcomes couples from all over the world to participate in themed events.
The day in question is celebrated with a giant feast held around the resting site of Saint Valentine and the announcement of the Year of Loving award, which marks a special act of love from the year past. With chocolates, love and great food aplenty around the town, this is a festival best attended with your partner in hand.
Celebrate the month of new love and new years in real style by attending one of these flashy and exciting events around the world in February. Grab your loved one and start planning your trip today!