Italian huskies ... Singing shepherds ... Japanese jokes ... Skating Parisians

Until 2 January


The Orange Bowl Festival and Big Orange New Year's Eve Celebration kicks off in Miami this weekend with various amateur and professional sporting events, and runs sweating and panting through to mid January. The gala events are the massive Orange Bowl Parade taking place on New Year's Eve, and the New Year's day football game, involving various broad shouldered jocks from nationally ranked college teams.

Until 3 January


Liege, in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes, celebrates the Christmas story with "Creche de Provence", a nativity scene featuring more than 100 animated figures, sculpted last century. Next to the "living crib", on Place du Marche, is Belgium's biggest Christmas market: more than 120 illuminated chalet stalls selling traditional Christmas goodies, such as baked quails, waffles and, of course, those delicious premier Belgian chocs.

Until 19 May


Ooh! What a Carry On is an exhibition celebrating 40 years of British comedy from the Carry On crew. This dubious delight is being staged by the Museum of the Moving Image, which is delving into the low-budget, kiss-me-quick world of one of British television's most popular film series.

15 December - 9 March


The Patinoire de l'Hotel de Ville in Paris features outdoor skating, which will no doubt appeal to romantic Francophiles. The pedestrian square is transformed into a winter wonderland with towering Christmas trees and festive decorations around the ice rink, overlooked by the floodlit facade of the neo-renaissance Hotel de Ville. Open daily 10am-8pm with traditional fairground rides for children.

17-19 December


The courtly ladies of ancient Japan liked nothing better than a spot of Battledore, particularly at this time of year. Battledore is a badminton- like game traditionally played around New Year and although the sport is no longer actually played, this seasonal tradition is still marked in the Asakusa temple in Tokyo by a three-day festival - the Hagoita Ichi. The Battledore fair has hundreds of ornamental bats for sale with stalls open from 10am-9pm daily. For something a little more serious you could head to the Edo-Tokyo Museum for a two-day Japanese storytelling festival (19-20 December). Although the stories will be of the humorous variety, don't expect to be rolling in the aisles; this is a very traditional, formalised art with a long, distinguished history. You would expect very old jokes told with sombre faces and in reverent tones.

18 December


If you happen to be in Barcelona this week you have the opportunity to catch a one-off surprise concert by Prince. Held at the city's largest indoor venue, Prince is expecting a huge audience for a show comprising new material taken from his latest Album New Power Soul and such purple oldies as Nothing Compares to you, Kiss and Purple Rain. Performing alongside the mogul from Minneapolis will be The New Power Generation and Larry Graham. Call 00 34 934 262089 for tickets.

18 December


Bikol Pastores is a Christmas celebration unique to South Luzon's Albay province. The region's capital, Legaspi, is the site of a festival believed to have originated with singing shepherds who once took to the streets in a colourful procession to honour Christ's birth. Today the city's young men and women dressed as pastores dance through the city's main thoroughfares singing that shepherd's favourite "Pastores A Belen".

19 December


On Saturday, Stockholm will bring to a conclusion its year as Cultural Capital of Europe. As part of the final celebrations, many of the city's museums, theatres, concert halls and cinemas will be opening their doors to the public and inviting them in free. Events being staged include the biggest salsa party in Stockholm's history, free entry into the museum of modern art, and a puppet show and special Christmas concert for children.

19-20 December


The International Dog Sled championships in Madonna di Campiglio, promises to be anything but a dog's life. More popular for smart international events than any of Italy's other resorts, this top-rated ski centre is quite at home playing host to a pack of Siberian huskies, the best DJs from Rimini and London, and the fur-jacket and mirror-shades brigade.

19 December - 1 January


Wiltz, north of Luxembourg in the snowy Ardennes, is the site of The Caravaner's Winter Rally. More a celebration of mobile-home owners than a "trailer-trash" bash, the rally attracts some 300 caravan enthusiasts from across the counrty. Not put off by the cold weather, these part-time gypsies set up camp for the festive season and warm themselves with games of petanque, plates of black pudding and visits to the local brewery.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice