Three of a kind
MOUNT HAGEN CULTURAL SHOW, PNG
Thumping kundu drums, guttural chanting, towering headdresses, vibrantly painted faces and intricate tribal adornments – the Mount Hagen cultural show is a highlight of the Papua New Guinean cultural calendar and for excellent reason, too. The two-day festival, which has been running since 1964, draws sing-sing groups from across the country showcasing their costumes, music, culture and dance. Visitors are able to watch hundreds of warriors in sing-sing ‘battles’, trying to outdo each other with their singing and dancing, in an effort to get the biggest applause from the audience.
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This festival was originally about promoting peace between warring tribes. During the celebrations, boys honour their ancestors by dressing as old men, shaving their heads to look like they’re balding and sticking the clipped hair onto their faces to mimic facial hair.
The festival is held each August. This year’s dates are August 17–19. See papuanewguinea. travel/eventscalendar.
GALUNGAN & KUNINGAN FESTIVAL, BALI
It’s believed that all Balinese gods descend to earth to celebrate during the 10-day Galungan Festival, the island’s most important annual event, which symbolises the victory of dharma over adharma (or good over evil). On the day of the Kuningan Festival, the climax on the 10th day of the Galungan Festival when the Balinese thank and farewell the gods until next year with prayers and special ceremonies, visitors can witness the Balinese people dressing up in their finest clothes and jewels.
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A a tall bamboo pole extravagantly decorated with woven coconut leaves, fruit, flowers and cakes, is placed at the right side of the entrance of most houses on the island during Galungan, to offer thanks to the gods. penjor,
The 210-day Pawukon calendar, which has origins in the Hindu religion and uses 10 different types of weeks that are between one and 10 days long, is used to determine festival dates in Bali. Galungan 2018 falls on May 30 and December 26, with Kuningan on June 9. See balitourismboard.org.
HOLI FESTIVAL, FIJI
Holi, the Hindu festival of colours, with ancient roots in India and Nepal, is celebrated by IndoFijians the day after the full moon in March each year. Streets around the island nation explode with colour as locals throw handfuls of coloured paint powders at each other, in a boisterous marking of the beginning of spring and harvest season, the triumph of good over evil, and the farewelling of the past year and welcoming of new beginnings. Dyed water is also thrown from buckets, shot from water guns and tossed from water balloons, as the world gets turned technicolour for one raucous day filled with dancing and parties. Just beware: visitors are prime targets, so wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting staine, and be prepared to end up looking like a human rainbow.
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Since people of Indian origin make up approximately 40 per cent of Fiji’s 900,000 population, numerous Hindu festivals are celebrated throughout the year, also including Diwali and Ram Navami, which celebrates the birth of the god Rama.
Holi is actually a two-day festival, but the carnival of colour takes place on the second day, the day after the March full moon. See fiji.travel.