Three of a kind

Colour­ful fes­ti­vals

Paradise - - In Paradise | Contents -


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.


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.


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.


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 bal­i­tourism­


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.


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

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