Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Travel: What's on worldwide - Reggae roots ... Feeling sheepish ... Thai beauties

2-7 February


Jamaica's Reggae Sunsplash festival is a singular celebration of the music form. Held in the Ocho Rios resort in the parish of St Ann, it will feature top reggae artists and bands including The Slaughterhouse, Papa San and Charlie's Roots. The Sunsplash festival was the first of its kind when it was started 20 years ago.


3 and 7 February

On Wednesday countrywide celebrations will be paying homage to Saint Blaise, the patron saint of sore throats. These will include a dawn chant to the saint in Caceres and a festival in Madrid. Small Spanish hot cakes, bearing the saint's name will be found at both events. On the Sunday in Pontevedra some people will go to the wastelands of Budino to thank St Blaise for any sore throats he has cured. Others will be making their way to the chemist for throat sweets.

4-11 February


The Phra Nakhon Khiri fair will be taking place on a mountain covered in religious temples and a 19th-century palace, all overlooking the city of Phetchaburi. The palace hosts the highlight of the fair which is a sound and light show to celebrate the area's local history. Expect an eclectic mix of talent at the fair's beauty contest which includes a category for Phetchaburi widows (black hooded cloaks or swimming costumes?).

6 February


This week's Devon country antiques fair is taking place at the Matford Centre in Exeter. The fair attracts dealers from across the UK and Europe and has over 400 stalls. You might encounter more than just antiques since it is also market day and the Matford Centre is situated, rather confusingly, inside the Exeter livestock centre. Beware of what might appear to be antique stuffed animals.

6 February

New Zealand

Waitangi Day is New Zealand's national day, in commemoration of the signing of the treaty between the United Kingdom and the Maori people in 1840, pledging that the latter could keep their lands "in perpetuity". The holiday is celebrated variously according to whether or not you believe in the validity of that particular pledge.

6-16 February


The Kurents festival takes place in the small town of Ptuj. As one of Europe's most ancient rites of spring, it involves the townsmen dressing up in whole sheepskins and wielding clubs - you might mistake them for a tyrannical breed of Slovenian sheep. If you can position yourself in a local's sitting-room you should see the best of the action, since sheep- skin wearers (known as Kurents) spend their time barging into people's homes and flushing out their evil winter spirits. Your host will be smashing clay pots at the Kurents' feet to bring good luck.


7 February

Celebrations will mark the 25th anniversary of Grenada's Independence Day. There will be concerts, ceremonies, firework displays and rallies supposedly to highlight the country's march into modernity as well as its historical heritage. Don't worry if that all sounds a bit official: the sounds of calypso and steel drums will also be echoing all around the island. But since buildings on Grenada are not permitted to be taller than the height of a palm tree you'll need to get yourself close to the action: there are limited vantage opportunities.