February Hot List: 9 Essential Experiences

This month, scare away winter in Slovenia, track wolves in Wyoming, and party like kings in Goa.  
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During Kurentovanje (carnival) in Slovenia, festival-goers dress in sheepskin costumes with bells attached, and carry ježevka (a thick stick with hedgehog spines) to represent Kurenti, mythical beings that chase away evil and usher in spring. Photo By: Matjaz Corel/Alamy Stock Photo

February might be short on days, but it’s long on exciting events to catch around the world. From sledding down a Polynesian volcano to celebrating a carnival of floats, cocktails and masked parades in Goa, here’s what to experience and where to do it this month.

 

Watch Extreme Sports in Polynesia

February 1–15 | Easter Island, Chile—Known for its mysterious moai statues, Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, celebrates its Polynesian heritage at Tapati Rapa Nui, a dynamic, action-packed festival. Events range from canoe races and spear throwing to loincloth-clad racers hurtling down the Maunga Pu’i volcano feet first on toboggans crafted from banana tree logs. They can reach up to 80 kilometres an hour.

 

Seek the Arts Down Under

February 7–March 1 | Perth, Australia—During the three-week-long Perth Festival, culture fans flood Western Australia’s remote capital city for art exhibits, music, and theatre performances. This year’s festival spotlights the art and language of the Aboriginal Noongar people. It’s summertime in Oz, so take advantage of the world-class beaches and endless sunshine too.  Greet Spring in Slovenia

Catch Global Tunes in a Royal Fort in Rajasthan

February Hot List: 9 Essential Experiences

The El Entierro de la Sardina or the Burial of the Sardine marks the end of one of the world’s largest carnival extravaganzas in Canary Islands. Photo By: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

13-16 February | Jodhpur, Rajasthan—The annual four day musical fiesta awaits the fusion lover at Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort this month. The World Sacred Spirit Festival provides the perfect harmony of music and history, as artists across the world meet to perform, jam and play into the night as the sun sets on the majestic 15th century fort. Acts like Kavita Seth, Loten Namling and Areej Sufi Ensemble are not to be missed in this year’s edition.

Read more here.

 

Greet Spring in Slovenia

February 14–25 | Ptuj, Slovenia—Chase away the winter blues in Ptuj (pronounced P-too-ee)—Slovenia’s oldest documented city—during the Kurentovanje carnival. The city’s cobblestone streets fill with parades of locals dressed in sheepskin, devilish masks, and fur caps representing Kurenti, a mythical figure who ushers in the spring. Also worth exploring: the surrounding rolling countryside, hilltop castle, and colorful street art.

 

Get a Musical History Lesson at Taj Mahotsav

18-27 February | Taj Mahal, Agra—One of the world’s seven wonders, a visit to the Taj Mahal—a testament of Emperor Shah Jahan’s love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal—is a bucket-list travel goal. However, the grandeur of Taj Mahal’s intricate white arches and columns aren’t the only things making the UNESCO World Heritage Site a must visit this month. 25 years and running, the annual Taj Mahotsav—a colourful milieu of traditional performances, mouth-watering food, local crafts and heritage walks, come together to commemorate the unparalleled legacy of the white mausoleum.

 

Watch India’s Best Classical Dancers at Khajuraho

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The Khajuraho Dance Festival is a treat for the eyes, with the country’s best classical dancers putting up mesmerising shows. Photo By: CRS Photo/Shutterstock

20-26 February | Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh—The ancient Khajuraho group of temples in Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh, with its nagara style of architecture and erotic sculptures prove as a dream site for history aficionados. So imagine this rich, cultural site as a backdrop for some of the most elegant, detailed and elaborate classical dance performances you’ve ever seen in your life. The 45th Khajuraho Dance Festival is gearing up to host some of the most renowned dancers of Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Kathak and Kuchipudi from across the country. Whether you’re a dancer yourself or not, this six-day dance festival will have you tapping into your internal rhythm.

Read more here.

 

Enjoy Bacchanalian Fun and a Sardine Funeral

February 21–March 1 | Tenerife, Canary Islands—The Canary Islands—located on the northwestern coast of Africa—hosts one of the world’s largest carnival extravaganzas. Dance alongside people decked out in flamboyant costumes and marvel at brightly decorated floats, then stick around for the festival’s final event, the El Entierro de la Sardina or the Burial of the Sardine. It features revelers pulling a 30-foot-long papier-mâché fish through the streets to mourn the end of the festivities.  Run with Wolves in Wyoming

 

Life’s a Party at Goa’s Annual Carnival

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The annual Goa Carnival is the state’s biggest party with street dances, masked parades and giant-sized floats of popular characters. Photo By: GSK919/Shutterstock

22-25 February | The history of the Goa Carnival dates back to when it was still occupied by the Portuguese. The first day of the carnival usually falls on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday—and hence the celebration is seen as a kind of prelude to lent. To put it simply—the annual Goa Carnival is the state’s biggest party. A walk along the regular haunts—Panjim, Margaon, Vasco and Mapusa—will find you in the middle of giant-sized floats of famous characters, masked parades, street dances, finger-licking food and gallons of drinks, as the legendary King Momo—elected every year as the highest authority in the state for those four days—has one simple rule: ultimate merry-making!

Read more here.

 

Run with Wolves in Wyoming

February | Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming—Yellowstone National Park’s dramatic, winter landscape provides a stunning backdrop to see wolves on the prowl. Scientists reintroduced gray wolves into the world’s first national park in 1995 after they were nearly driven to extinction. Look for packs living in the Lamar Valley, Hayden Valley, and Blacktail Deer Plateau.

 

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  • Sanjana Ray is that unwarranted tour guide people groan about on trips. When she isn't geeking out on travel and history, she can be found walking around the streets, crying for Bengali food. She is Digital Writer at National Geographic Traveller India.

  • Starlight Williams is an editorial researcher and writer at National Geographic.

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