WHAT'S ON WORLDWIDE

UNTIL MARCH 28

Britain Today is the final day of The Word, the London Festival of Literature. A "Signathon" will be held from 11am, with Wilbur Smith, author of Monsoon, and Lord Archer, the politician who is also renowned for his popular novels including As The Crow Flies, as well as some 50 other authors. Also, in "Kureishi's London", the author of The Buddha of Suburbia, Hanif Kureishi, will talk about his city and how it has inspired his work.

2 APRIL

Philippines The Pasyon sa Bantayan festival in Bantayan, one of the Visayan Islands of Cebu Province in the Philippines, is an intensely religious affair. At around 4pm on Good Friday, a magnificent lantern procession of icons and images, many of which are centuries old, will set off along the main thoroughfares of the market town, depicting the passion of Christ and other biblical figures.

2 APRIL

Italy The rite of the Vattienti (the flagellants) at Nocera Terinese in Calabria is one of Europe's more shocking religious events. The bloody rite has survived centuries and, for a few penitents, is a none-too-pleasant way to spend Good Friday. After receiving grace, their heads are topped with a crown of thorns, like the one worn by Jesus. And, as if this is not punishment enough, the penitents then lash themselves with slivers of glass attached to waxed corks.

UNTIL 4 APRIL

Australia The Melbourne food and wine festival is Australia's top gourmet event. International chefs will take spectators through a range of tasting, cooking and master-classes, and the festival also includes the world's longest lunch, where people sit to dine at a table seating more than 1,000. For those looking for specialist culinary experiences try the sushi crawl, organised by Japanese sushi experts. For information,visit the website: www.tourism.vic.gov.au.

UNTIL 5 APRIL

Portugal Semena Santa (Holy Week) is most spectacular at Braga, Portugal's religious capital. It becomes the focus of some of the Christian world's most dramatic festivities. In the weeks leading up to Easter, roadside altars will be lit representing the stations of the cross. The eeriest moment is when the Senhor Ecce Homo procession of barefooted penitents wearing pointed black hoods, on the evening of Maundy Thursday.

UNTIL 5 APRIL

Spain Holy Week celebrations in Seville are regarded as the most important in Spain. Depending on whether you are a Christian or merely a tourist you will follow the festivities with devotion or awe. On Thursday night, the Virgin Mary, will be on display among other favourite icons. But you'll have to fight to get a glimpse of her as she is carried through the streets on the shoulders of hooded bearers who belong to competing fraternities.

2-5 APRIL

Britain Abbotsbury Sub Tropical Gardens is the host for a Giant Easter Egg Hunt. The 20-acre garden, which was established in 1765, will be in full bloom with camelias, first introduced into this country from Japan in 1792. Participants hunt for tokens and trade them in for Creme Eggs. And if you find a small golden horseshoe you can claim a football-sized egg stuffed with chocolates.

SIMON KEANE

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