Events Planner: March events

From Hungarian folk music to Australian cuisine
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The Independent Travel

MALTA

MALTA

Mediterranean Food Festival, Malta, 10-13 March

Malta's cuisine reflects strong influences from Southern Italy, North Africa and Southern Spain. The fusion is celebrated each year at the Mediterranean Food Festival in St Julian's, where there will be food stalls and cookery demonstrations as well as a culinary championship, folk dancing, children's activities and music. Further information: 020-8877 6990; www.visitmalta.com

USA

South by South West, Austin, Texas, 11-20 March

The South by South West Festival features music, film and interactive events and runs for nine days. The music festival is now in its 18th year and will include live performances and interviews from 16-20 March. This year's main draws include a conference hosted by Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and an interview with R&B singer Erykah Badu. The film festival takes place from 11-19 March and will feature the premieres of 40 independent pictures. An interactive festival showcasing the latest in web design and technology is the newest addition to South by South West and is held from 11-15 March. Further information: 00 1 512 467 7979; www.sxsw.com

AUSTRALIA

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, 11-23 March

As the summer heat mellows, Melbourne hosts its annual food and wine festival. Following tradition, the festival welcomes a number of big names including Anthony Bourdain, who will host a gourmet lunch. Other activities include tutored wine tastings, various themed dinners, a spice bazaar and cookery demonstrations. A number of Slow Food events are also planned, as is the world's longest lunch - in the plaza of the Melbourne Museum. Family events include a Spring Valley Breakfast in the Royal Botanic Gardens with entertainers and music. Further information: 00 61 398 236 100; www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au

HUNGARY

Budapest Spring Festival, 18 March-3 April

For two weeks Budapest will host music, arts and cultural events from international performers at a selection of venues. The festival is now in its 25th year and promises a packed programme, including performances from the Budapest Festival orchestra, an evening of Japanese and Hungarian music, choral recitals and folk music. There are special events commemorating the festival's 25th anniversary, including the much-anticipated opening of the National Concert Hall in the Palace of Arts in Pest. Further information: 00 36 14 863311; www.festivalcity.hu

INDIA

Holi, nationwide, 24-25 March

The celebration of Holi welcomes spring with colourful festivities across the country. The best known part of the celebration sees people smear coloured powders on their faces - although they are often pasted everywhere, so it is advisable to wear old clothes. Bonfires burn in the streets to mark the end of winter and the eradication of sin. On the second day, balloons filled with water are thrown into the air, a tradition that reputedly originates from Lord Krishna, who would shower his maids. In some areas festivities can get out of hand, but celebrations in Rajasthan are more tourist-friendly. Further information: 020-7437 3677; www.indiatouristoffice.org

SPAIN

Las Fallas, Valencia, 15-19 March

The explosive annual festival of Las Fallas is one of Valencia's major events. It originated in the 18th century, when rag dolls were burnt to commemorate the feast of St Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. Today the event sees the ignition of huge papier mâché effigies known as fallas - usually satirical figures of politicians and celebrities - that can be over 20m tall. During the week fireworks are set off throughout the city. Further information: 00 34 963 986422; www.fallas.com

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