Francophile film addicts should make haste to the capital of French cinematography. The annual "Festival du Film de Paris" is, as ever, packed reel-to-reel with previews of unreleased films, debates, short films and children's films, plus audiences with directors, actors and the like. This year features some celluloid gems from directors such as James Ivory, Stephen Frears and Peter Mullan, the star of My Name is Joe. At various venues at various times. Information (tel: 00 33 1 45 72 96 40).
UNTIL 18 APRIL
Art in Madrid is "Out of Order" for the next couple of weeks. This exhibition, additionally titled "Women of the Spanish Vanguard", reviews the history of women who were at the forefront of Spanish art. Showing will be some 60 works by six painters spanning the years from 1910 to the 1940s. This was an epoch in which women were making determined advances into the male-dominated art world, producing bold and original work. "The Out of Order" painters are Maria Blanchard, Maruja Mallo, Angeles Santos and Remedious Varo, plus Argentinian Norah Borges and Georgian Olga Sacharoff. For more information contact the Fundacion Mapfre Vida (tel: 00 34 91 581 1596).
This is the last month of the Huong Tich Pilgrimage, which began its three-month season in February. The journey starts with a bus ride from Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, to the river Day, followed by a boat trip up the Yen Vi Stream to the Thien Tru Pagoda. Little could prepare one for the stunning ascent from there through the jungle to the Tich Grotto, the focus of the pilgrimage. Led by incense bearers, pilgrims pass countless shrines and pagodas. The inside of the grotto can be explored either on foot or by boat. By steering through the stalagmites and following one's nose it is possible to find the Pagoda of Perfumes.
One of the world's most spectacular gatherings of wildlife begins this month in the Serengeti National Park. In April, as the Serengeti rainy season comes to an end, 1.2 million wildebeest gather on the southern Serengeti plain. They follow in the wake of some 350,000 migrating zebra. The zebra graze coarse grass with their sharp teeth, exposing softer shoots for the weak-toothed wildebeest. Other migrating animals accompanying the wildebeest are antelope, gazelle and opportunistic lions. By May, this grunting, "he-hawing" bunch will begin their migration north and west, forming lines stretching miles. By June, the animals can be seen racing north toward the Masai Mara in Kenya.
Lambing season has come around again, so the air around Rede Hall Farm Park near Bury St Edmunds will be filled with a cacophony of bleating. The farm has more than 160 ewes from different rare breeds which should make for some unique lambs. Visitors will not only get a glimpse of new, un-cloned Dollys making their way into the world but will also learn about Suffolk's recent agrarian heritage. The farm is run the way it would have been in the 1940s, with horse-drawn carts trundling around the yard. Information (tel: 01284 850695).
"Pan-Celtic" week in Galway features such ancient traditions as hurling matches. These events might have been more common had the Romans not succeeded in pushing the Celts to the extreme North and West of Britain. As it is, these riveting spectator sports have become the preserve of heritage festivals. Hurling is a lacrosse-like game played by teams of 15 who wallop a leather ball with crooked wooden sticks known as hurleys. After a good hurl, the evening brings a wealth of Celtic storytelling, poetry and music with much feasting and drinking.
For Jews in Tunisia, the seventh day of Passover is a fragrant affair. Pilgrimage is made to a body of water, over which prayers are said. During the return to the synagogue, the procession of men is greeted by women baring flowers and perfume. Once the men, garlanded and doused, are inside the synagogue, songs of the sea are sung and the pungent bunch performs a dance around two men dressed as Moses and Aaron.
Otherwise known as Hana Matsuri, the Flower Festival is Japan's nation- wide floral tribute to Buddha's birthday. Though this is not a national holiday, Buddhist temples across Japan display small statues of Buddha over which they pour Amacha - sweet tea - as an expression of devotion. In Tokyo, the main celebrations take place at the Senso-ji and Zojo-ji temples. Once these are over, keen shoppers should head for Nakamisedori, the temples' shopping street. Goods to look out for are Edo-style crafts and wigs to be worn with a kimono. If you're in need of a mid-celebration snack, try Sembei, savoury rice crackers.
The Wang-in Culture Festival held in the village of YeongAm is a celebration of the life of Dr Wang-in, one of the country's most important historical figures. In the fourth century he travelled to Japan to meet the emperor and hand over Confucian texts and a precious book of Chinese characters. The main event is the street parade which depicts the great man's journey. This involves dragging him on a massive sledge. Open-air theatre, seeking to provoke the spirit of Wang-in, will take place alongside the procession.Reuse content