While February might not spring to mind as a time of celebration, some of the world’s greatest festivals are going on this month – not least the Kumbh Mela, rumoured to be the largest gathering on earth, and the infamous Rio Carnaval. Elsewhere, with ten days until Chinese New Year, cities across China and the west are gearing up to bring in good luck for the coming months. These are also the last few days to catch the fairy-tale designs at the spectacular Harbin Ice Festival, while in New Orleans, the madness of Mardi Gras will culminate on 12 Feb. On the other side of the Atlantic, Carnevale has arrived in Venice today: get your masks at the ready!
As a Londoner, though, my favourite festival doesn’t come around until August, when the Notting Hill Carnival sees the streets of W11 flooded with a boisterous, unruly mix of locals and tourists alike, dancing, drinking and scoffing jerk chicken like there’s no tomorrow.
So, what’s the best festival you’ve been to? Have you stumbled across a local folk ritual on your travels, danced until dawn at an unusual music festival or participated in one of the world’s greatest religious gatherings? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below or on Twitter.