Biggest festivities worldwide in the coming weeks: Quebec City, Venice, Rio carnivals

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The Independent Online

The two weeks ahead are filled with parties and celebrations all around the globe. Carnival season officially starts in Quebec City, closely followed by New Orleans Mardi Gras in North America. In Europe, revellers will also try to forget about the cold in Venice and the Belgian city of Binche, while Brazilian samba dancers will take their art to the Rio and Salvador streets during the southern hemisphere summer parties. On the Asian side, Goa will throw its yearly carnival in mid-February, while the Chinese New Year will be feted throughout China and around the world on February 14.

Quebec Winter Carnival
January 29-February 14
Quebec City, Canada

This winter festival has existed since the French established their colony in Canada. The official first year of celebrations took place in 1894, for the locals to forget about the cold and the snow and revel before Lent. In the past few years, this carnival has drawn every year close to a million visitors to Quebec City to enjoy activities and shows in the cold for two weeks, with costumed balls and the two night parades as the focus.


New Orleans Mardi Gras Celebrations
January 30- February 16
New Orleans, USA

Mardi Gras is one of the largest parties in the world, drawing hundreds of thousands of revellers each year. The event completely takes over the city of New Orleans as parades and marching bands clog the streets, especially for the actual Mardi Gras day, on February 16 this year.

Venice Carnival

February 6-16
Venice, Italy

During the oldest and most magical carnival in the world, revelers and party-goers crowd the streets in traditional Venetian masks, and street performers and musicians entertain. Masked costume balls, parades and shows punctuate the week. Various events are organized throughout the city and many on Piazza San Marco, traditional ones like the angel's flight (volo dell'angelo), on February 7, and less traditional ones like a Drag Queen Beauty Pageant on February 12.


Bahia Carnival
February 11-16
Salvador do Bahia, Brazil

Less publicized than the Rio festival, the Bahia carnival is as hectic as its southern counterpart and almost as big. It offers samba parades, major outdoor concerts and the best of Afro-Brazilian music and dance.


Rio Carnival
February 12- 16
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The best-known Carnival throughout the world, the Rio version offers hundreds of events throughout the month of February, with special activities occurring between February 12 and 16. The samba school contest/parades in Sambodrome is a must-see.


Goa Carnival
February 13-16
Goa, India

This festival in West India has been celebrated since the 18th century. Huge colorful parades take over the state's cities with bands, floats and dances, while the evenings are characterized with intense partying wherever you are.


Chinese New Year celebrations
February 14

All of China will celebrate the arrival of the year of the Tiger for weeks leading up to, and following, February 14 with festivals and parades around the country. Though many people hear of the New Year's flower markets in Hong Kong, it's the Night Parade on the first evening of the New Year that draws some of the largest crowds. Beijing's temple fairs attract thousands with folk art and performers in both temples and parks around the city. Acrobats, dragon dancers and stilt walkers mingle amongst the crowd.


Binche carnival
February 14-16
Binche, Belgium

The Binche Carnival, in Francophone Wallonia, stands out as one of the oldest surviving urban carnivals in Europe, and is now on the UNESCO Heritage list. Archival documents attest to the existence of this event since the Middle Ages. It gained international popularity thanks to its distinctive masks, accessories, instruments and the balls this medieval town organizes before Lent.