When: 16 February – 2 March
Where: In countries with a Chinese population
This month sees Chinese New Year celebrated with much pomp and circumstance in countries with significant Chinese populations. Also known as the Spring Festival in China, businesses are often closed for a week as people head back to their hometowns to visit relatives and pay respects to the elders. Traditionally, family members gather for a feast known as the reunion dinner on the eve of the festival. The giving of money in red packets is a common practice, as are cultural performances and parades in public spaces, accompanied by firecrackers and lion or dragon dance displays. Some visit temples to pray for blessings for the new year, and to give offerings to gods and ancestors. Certain traditions such as the eating of special festive foods vary from place to place, which makes it all the more interesting to experience when you visit any of these countries during the festival.
When: 1-10 February
Where: PJ Live Arts, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Watch a hilarious take on Shakespeare’s most comical romance, As You Like It, as performed by the world’s first cycling theatre company, The Handlebards. Described by award-winning actor Sir Ian McKellen as “uproariously funny”, the company has performed in over 100 different venues and is commended for its highly visual and accessible style of Shakespeare. The show in Malaysia features an all-female cast and tells the story of Rosalind, a banished duke’s daughter who falls in love with Orlando at a wrestling match. Banished from court by her jealous uncle, she disguises herself as a boy to look for her father in the Forest of Arden, but meets Orlando again and counsels him in the art of love and wooing.
When: 1-12 February
Where: Odori Park, Tsudome Site, Susukino Site, Sapporo, Japan
Held since 1950, the Sapporo Snow Festival is Japan’s largest winter festival, drawing two million people to the city each year. The 1.5-kilometre-long Odori Park in downtown Sapporo is transformed into a fantasy world of snow and ice sculptures, lit by colourful lights come nightfall. Fun for the family awaits at Tsudome, the festival’s second-largest site, where one will find towering snow slides and snow-rafting areas suitable for all ages. Last but not least, the Susukino venue features an ice sculpture contest and an Ice Bar where visitors can sip on hot drinks while surrounded by snow.
When: 9 – 11 February
Where: Asia World Expo, Hong Kong
Catch the world’s best equestrian riders in action as they cant, jump and gallop their way to victory at the Longines Masters of Hong Kong. Presented by EEM World, the prestigious indoor equestrian competition puts both rider and horse to the test as they battle it out in power, agility and showmanship. For an exclusive lifestyle experience, explore the Prestige Village between and after competitions for luxury shopping, glittering after-parties, meet-and-greet sessions with riders, as well as educational, family-friendly activities with the young ones at the Kids Club.
When: 22-25 February
Where: Various venues across London, England
Immerse yourself in all things fashion at the London Fashion Week Festival (LFWF), a city-wide celebration of fashion that includes London Fashion Week and the International Fashion Showcase. The main highlight is the LFWF ticketed event at The Store Studios in Strand, which features London’s hottest designers presenting their seasonal collections on the runway. This is a rare chance for members of the public to be part of a designer catwalk show, normally reserved for fashion editors and professional stylists. To round it off, shop for exclusive offers from over 150 designers, and attend curated talks by industry experts.
When: 10 February – 11 March
Where: Kew Gardens, London
It may be winter in London, but visitors to the Kew Gardens will get to experience a tropical paradise of orchids and other beautiful blooms at the 23rd Orchids Festival. This year's theme revolves around Thailand's vibrant colours, culture and stunning flora. Enter the tropical glasshouse at the Princess of Wales Conservatory and be greeted by a bright Vanda tunnel, arches delicately covered with hanging orchid bouquets and handcrafted floating Thai umbrellas leading to a stunning Bang Pa-In inspired orchid 'palace'. More than just a flower show, guests will also learn about the significance of orchids in Thai cuisine, medicine and culture. Be treated to authentic street food, shop at pop up stores with authentic Thai products, unwind to live music performances, or discover more about the country and orchids with a series of talks by Kew's horticulturists and scientists.