TRAVEL: WHAT'S ON WORLDWIDE

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The Independent Travel
OTTAWA

Winterlude. Weekends, 7-23 February. With the longest ice-rink in the world and playgrounds made of snow, as well as performances from top singers and skaters, this is supposed to be the biggest winter festival anywhere.

VIENNA

The main season of lavish society balls, recalling the grand days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, begins on 6 February with the Opera Ball in the glittering Staatsoper. Further exclusive balls follow on consecutive nights up to 11 February. A must for the Ferrero-Rocher chocolate set.

BOB MARLEY'S BIRTHDAY

Hard to believe, but he would have been 52. Sixteen years after his death the Marley Cult is growing ever stronger and to celebrate his life, reggae fans are holding an anniversary bash in Kingston, Jamaica, on his birthday, 6 February.

CARNIVAL

Up to 11 February. This annual worldwide festival immediately prior to Lent is marked by parades and activities in cities across the Catholic world. In Venice there will be dancing, costume parades and masked party- goers in St Mark's Square for most of the week. In Cologne, ceremonies culminate on 10 February with the Rose Monday parade, while in New Orleans drunken celebrations peak on 11 February, known as Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday. Trinidad and Tobago is also a huge fiesta. The greatest show of all however is Rio de Janeiro where balls and parades reach their orgiastic climax on February 9 and 10.

YORVIK FESTIVAL

7-16 February. At various venues in York, North Yorkshire, the distant memory of viking raids will be celebrated with firework displays, torchlit processions, longboat races and concerts. Call 01904 643211.

JAPAN

The bean-throwing ritual, Setsubun, takes place tomorrow, marking the last day of winter. People gather in temple forecourts, throwing beans and shouting "Fortune in, devils out" as a means of ensuring good luck for the coming year.

EID EL-FITR

9 February (subject to the appearance of the moon) and following. This is the great feast to mark the end of Ramadan, celebrated throughout the Islamic world. Huge congregational prayers take place, and families gather. After a month of fasting during daylight hours, a large amount of food usually gets eaten.

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