14 Dec - 14 Jan

Miami (right)

The Orange Bowl Festival and Big Orange New Year's Eve Celebration kicks off this week-end 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.

14 Dec - Oct 98


Star Wars fanatics whose appetite remains unsated by the recent suped- up revival of George Lucas' trilogy, can re-charge "the force" with a visit to Washington's Smithsonian Institution for the "Star Wars: The Magic of The Myth" exhibition. The show is narrated by Lord Vader himself, and contains over 200 artefacts from the films, such as Luke's light sabre, Darth Vader's grim reaper's outfit, and the receptively bleeping and bleating models of R2-D2 and C3PO.

17 Dec - 1 Jan


The Festival of the First Fruits or Incwala is the most sacred and colourful of all Swazi ceremonies, and serves to renew communal strength and unity with the aid of 40km pilgrimages, singing, ritual animal slaughter, and the gathering of sacred tree branches, and foam from the Indian Ocean. This three-week festival leading up to the Swazi New Year begins at new moon and culminates with the "Big Incwala", when the King performs his sacred dance before his avid warriors.

20 - 21 Dec


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 other of Italy's 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/mirror shade brigade.

21 - 25 Dec


The Festival of The Sahara in Douz remains one of Tunisia's classics, despite the substantial number of tourists who now attend. Ten days of

horse-racing and camel charges, plus some 50,000 tourists, villagers, and nomads transform this customarily calm Saharan market oasis into a shrieking, hollering, gun-blazing bedlam. The precision cavalry charges are always popular - along with the obligatory camel races.