The arrival of spring means the lively, week-long Fallas festival to ns, a celebration that has its roots in the times when craftsmen discarded and burnt candle-holders they no longer needed as the days became longer. Huge papier-mache sculptures - often effigies of politicians and other public figures - are constructed, paraded in processions and then burnt in bonfires at the climax of the festival. Throughout the week, prizes are awarded for the most elaborate and outrageous designs, while daily firework displays are the precursor to an extravagant and gunpowder- fuelled finale.

, Spain (00 34 963 510 417 for details) from Monday to Friday, free


More than 2,300 retail outlets will be participating in this year's Dubai Shopping Festival, which has been organised around the theme of "The Family Get-Together of the Millennium". As well as the myriad goods and services on offer at reduced rates - including special deals on travel and baggage allowances - there will be children's events, raffles, film festivals, fashion shows, street theatre and other entertainment. And, as an added attraction, the Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horse race, which has a pounds 2.5m purse, takes place slap-bang in the middle of the proceedings, on 28 March.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (00 971 4 219 065 for details) from Thursday to 14 April


The French painter Raoul Dufy is well-known for his depictions of boat races and racecourse meetings. His vibrant colours pick out the fashionable clothing of the racegoers that his friend, the dress designer Paul Poiret, suggested he study. But Dufy also worked with textiles and ceramics, and the retrospective at Lyon's Musee des Beaux-Arts includes examples of this work, as well as watercolours, drawings and engravings, with a view to illustrating the diversity of his art.

The exhibition, which includes pieces never shown before in public, will also be at Barcelona's Picasso museum from 29 April until 11 July.

Musee des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, 20 place des Terreaux, France (00 33 472 10 1740) to 18 April, closed Tues, admission FF25


It's St Patrick's Day next Wednesday and Dublin's festival (pictured) is now Ireland's biggest annual celebration. This year, it marks the official start to the country's millennium festivities, which means that the street theatre, fireworks, parades, and music and dance should be more extravagant than before - and it's going to be non-stop partying from now until next January.

We are told to "expect the unexpected" and to "prepare for the weird".

Throughout Dublin, Ireland (details, 00 353 1 1550 224 324) from today to Wednesday