Rijeka is using the slogan "Port of Diversity" and its opening programme on February 1 will pay tribute to the workers, to the avant-garde and to the tradition of the surrounding region, while recalling the fundamental social values on which modern Europe was built.

The ceremony will take place in the port, chosen as the space that represents the strong identity of the town. In the history and present-day of Rijeka, the port is a symbol of its modernity and openness, and its values are said to be reflected in a harmony that is only possible in a place which accepts sails of all colours.

The three main programme themes were chosen as symbols of the intertwining identities of Rijeka and contemporary Europe: water, work and migration. These themes appear in a variety of ways – exhibits, shows, operas, conferences, concerts, festivals, visits by international and Croatian artists, projects undertaken by local associations, the renovation of spaces and the installation of sculptures, book promotions and meet-and-greets with the citizens of Rijeka, the region, Croatia and Europe.

More than 250 programmes featuring over 600 individual events will take place in 2020. Over 250 partner organisations have been involved, with partners and artists arriving from 40 European countries and the rest of the world.

Galway is running with the slogan "Let the Magic In". Its year in the spotlight begins with a ceremonial turf cutting on 1 February to mark St Brigid's Day, then the ceremony will travel across the county from 2 to 7 February. Saint Brigid of Kildare, or Brigid of Ireland (circa 451-525) is one of Ireland's patron saints, along with Patrick and Columba.

Fiery celebrations are expected in towns and villages across the county in keeping with the ancient traditions of the Irish Celtic calendar. The communities of An Spidéal, Tuam, Ballinasloe, Clifden, Portumna and Athenry, will all be involved before a final installment at South Park in Galway City on 8 February.

Taking place in the open air and marking the passing of winter darkness, the opening ceremony is designed to be remembered. The cacophony of sound and vision will pay tribute to traditional Irish stories past and present.

The themes of language, landscape and migration will be explored, structured around the old Celtic calendar of Imbolc (in February-April), Bealtaine (May-July), Lughnasa (August-October) and Samhain (November-January 2021).


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