World Party 3

Asia 21 – The best of the rest

The best of the rest (1) Chinese New Year Where? Hong Kong When? Late January/ Early February How long? 3 days The best place to welcome in the Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival is, of course, the traditional citadel of good times, Hong Kong. Celebrations last for three days, and feature parades and lion dances accompanied by booming ... Read More »

Asia 20 – Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar Camel Fair (2) The camel fair Once you’ve dumped your luggage at whichever tent camp or guesthouse you’ve managed to find a space in, follow the tide of humanity down through the Main Bazaar, and past the northern edge of the lake to the main mela ground. You’ll smell it long before see it. For most of the past ... Read More »

Asia 19 – Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar Camel Fair (1) Where? Pushkar, Rajasthan, India When? Over the full moon of the Indian Kartika month, usually mid-November How long? 3 days For anyone who has ever wondered what a football crowd-sized quantity of farting camels smells like, the Pushkar Camel Fair, on the fringes of India’s Thar Desert in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, is the place ... Read More »

Asia 18 – Phalgun Festivals

Phalgun  Festivals (2) Losar Don’t expect anything austerely enlightened during Losar the three final days of the old Tibetan year: this is Tantric country. Tibetans and Sherpas have a simple formula of massive boozing and feasting, with fireworks (to chase off the old year’s devils) and ritual throwing of tsampa barley flour (it’s a bread fight – who needs a ... Read More »

Asia 17 – Phalgun Festivals

Phalgun  Festivals (1) Where? Kathmandu Valley, Nepal When? Losar Late January or early February Shivaratri The fourteenth day of the “dark fortnight” (the full moon) of the month of Phalgun Holi Begins a fortnight after Shivaratri, culminating on the day of Phalgun’s full moon How long? Losar 3 days Shivaratri 1 day Holi 8 days Kathmandu is blessed with not just ... Read More »

Aisa 16 – Naadam

Naadam (3) Wrestling The wrestling tournament starts after the opening ceremony. More than five hundred of the country’s top wrestlers compete, and the draw is seeded so that, theoretically, the best wrestlers face each other in the later rounds. Matches are notoriously long in the countryside, often taking hours to complete, but new rules in the Ulaanbaatar finals keep the ... Read More »

Asia 15 – Naadam

Naadam (2) Held every July on Mongolia’s vast grassy steppes, Naadam brings the country to a standstill. The grandest event is staged in Ulaanbaatar on July 11-13, a commercial affair nowadays, with plenty of modem touches and side attractions, and all the hustle and bustle you’d expect from Mongolia’s lone metropolis. It’s still a traditional occasion though, with a strong ... Read More »

Asia 14 – Naadam

Naadam (1) Where? Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia When? The national Naadam is held in Ulaanbaatar on July 11-13. Regional naadams are held across the countryside throughout July How long? 3 days Mongolia’s Enin Gurvan Naadam – Naadam, for short (literally, “Manly Games”) – is one of the world’s oldest and most spectacular annual events. After seeing it, you will understand how the ... Read More »

Asia 13 – Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela (3) Surviving Kumbh Mela I’ve been in crowds before – concerts, protests and the local IKEA on weekends – but none of these gatherings could compare to Kumbh Mela. In fact, my first ten minutes in Kumbh City, the great fifty-square-kilometre tent city erected along the Ganges, were as intimidating a stretch of time as I can remember, ... Read More »

Asia 12 – Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela (2) The mass bathing Whichever of the four mela locations you attend, the main event is always the mass bathing at the river. These invariably follow a familiar routine – you’ll gain a clearer sense of what that is if you get here several days before the peak, before the crowds become too much. Pouring in from the ... Read More »