World Party 3

Asia 11 – Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela (1) Where? Allahabad (2007) Haridwar (2010) When? When Jupiter enters Aquarius and the sun enters Aries (January or February, roughly every three years) How long? 1 month The Indian subcontinent hosts more mass religious festivals than anywhere else on the planet, but the Kumbh Mela is the biggest, weirdest and most mind-boggling of them all. It is, in fact, the ... Read More »

Asia 10 – Holi

Holi (2) Where to go Although Holi is celebrated all over India it’s primarily a North Indian festival. Partying in the Uttar Pradesh towns of Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana and Nandgaon – places associated with the birth and childhood of Krishna – lasts all week, with each major temple devoted to Radha and Krishna commemorating the occasion on a different day ... Read More »

Asia 9 – Holi

Holi (1) Where? Primarily North India, but other states such as West Bengal, Manipur, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Goa also join in the revelry. Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh, hosts perhaps the biggest Holi party When? February or March How long? About 4 days Holi is one of the most vibrant Indian festivals. It has its origins in Hinduism, but ... Read More »

Asia 8 – Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri (2) The parade Try not to overdo it on the evening of the 16th, because you’ll want to be up early the next morning for the parade, which starts at 9am and begins to wind down after noon, with the last of the hoko and yama rolling off the streets by 2pm. You’ll hear it before you see ... Read More »

Asia 7 – Gion Matsuri

Gion Matsuri (1) Where? Kyoto, Japan When? July How long? 10 days Japan can be a weird place, at least to the uninitiated. Sometimes, it’s the epitome of modern, urban life; at others it’s as if the country is stuck in the Middle Ages. Nowhere is this more evident, or perhaps more jarring, than in Kyoto, and there’s no better ... Read More »

Asia 6 – Full Moon Party

Full Moon Party (2) Full Moon Party, Goa, India Full-moon parties aren’t confined to Ko Pha Ngan – or even Thailand. Goa was once home to some of the biggest events. Started in the 1960s by hippies wintering in north Goa after long hauls across Western Asia, the party scene came of age in the 1990s with the advent of ... Read More »

Asia 5 – Full Moon Party

Full Moon Party (1) Where? Hat Rin, Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand When? Every month, on the night of the full moon (though it’s sometimes moved forward or backward by one day if the full moon coincides with a Buddhist holiday) How long? 1 night The tourist party season in Southeast Asia traditionally gets underway at the end of the year ... Read More »

Asia 4 – Esala Perahera

Esala Perahera (2) The parades Although originally a Buddhist celebration, the Esala Perahera was also spiced up with a fair dash of Hinduism during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when the Kingdom of Kandy was ruled by Hindus from the Nayakkar dynasty of southern India, and when Hindu deities became absorbed into local Buddhist traditions. The four most important of ... Read More »

Asia 3 – Esala Perahera

Esala Perahera (1) Where? Kandy, Sri Lanka When? The last ten days of the Buddhist lunar month of Esala (usually late July and early August), ending on the full moon day of the lunar month of Nikini How long? 10 days, plus an afternoon “day perahera” on the day after the conclusion of the festival proper. In terms of noise, colour ... Read More »

Asia 2 – Ati-Atihan

Ati-Atihan (2) The build-up Although the festival doesn’t really get into top gear until the third week of January, the build-up starts a week earlier with events like craft fairs, cock fighting, snake dancing and a re­enactment of the Purchase of Panay, whetting the appetite for the three-day frenzy that ends it all. Most of the action, including the fancy-dress ... Read More »