Asia & the Pacific

Major regattas in the South Pad fir are listed on page T-30.

THE ATLANTIC

WINTER TRAVEL PLANNER 1986

WH AUSTRALIA

THROUGH MARCH 27, FESTIVAL OF SPORT, Perth. A setting for the jewel of the America’s Cup regatta. The highlights will include a U.S. versus Australia golf match on November 18, pitting Greg Norman and Jan Stephenson against Mark O’Meara and Kathy Baker; the National Panasonic Western Australian golf tournament, November 20-2.1; an international rodeo at Pinjarra, southeast of Perth, November 29-30; an 11-event horse-racing series beginning on November 29 and culminating in the A$1 million Swan Premium Australasian race on January 26; and a world Heavyweight title fight on January 17,

NOVEMBER 13-16, AUSTRALIAN OPEN GOlF CHAMPIONSHIPS, Melboune.

DECEMBER 31-JANUARY 28,

FESTIVAL OF SYDNEY. Australia’s premier summer arts festival, presenting music, theater, dance, and the visual arts indoors and out.

JANUARY 4-27, INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL, Perth. Featuring jazz bands from the U.S. and Britain as well as native ones.

JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 21, FESTIVAL OF PERTH. Another cultural concomitant to the America’s Cup and Festival of Sport events. Music, theater, opera, dance, film, and the visual arts, indoors and out.

FEBRUARY 27-MARCII 9, MOOMBA FESTIVAL, Melbourne. Phis is, roughly speaking, Australia’s answer to the New Orleans Mardi Gras. The reversal of seasons Down Under permits water-skiing competitions on the river, open-air theatrical events, and so on, to be part of the fun.

FEBRUARY 28-MARCH IS, BALLARAT BEGONIA FESTIVAL. The town of Ballarat, 70 miles northwest of Melbourne and known for its Sovereign Hill district, which looks much the way the town did in the gold-mining era, has an annual Moral festival, and slips in some arts events too.

For information: Australian Tourist Commission, 489 Fifth Ave., New York, AT 10017. (212) 687-6300.

BHUTAN

JANUARY 8-12, TONGS A TSECHU, Tongsa Dzong. A religious dance festiv al at the nation’s largest and, arguably, most impressive dzong, or fortified monastery.

APRIL 10-14, PARO TSECHU, Paro Dzong. The most widely known tsechu. Narrative mask dances are performed in the courtyard, to the sound of the shawm, or conch-shell trumpet, the rung, a long, deeptoned trumpet whose bell rests on the ground, and drums, cymbals, and bells.

For information; Bhutan Travel Service,

120 F. 56th St., New York. NY 10022. (212) 838-6382.

CHINA

JANUARY 29-31, SPRING FESTIVAL, throughout China. This festival—Chinese New Year, by another, official name—eats up almost half of China’s annual allotment of public holidays. Mostly it’s an opportunity for people who work away from home to spend time with their families. However, the major cities have fireworks displays and other festivities.

FEBRUARY 12. LANTERN FESTIVAL,

Harbin. While the residents of most cities are hanging paper lanterns, the population of the capital of China’s northernmost province is flocking to the park bordering the Sunghua River, to see the spectacular display of illuminated ice sculptures there.

APRIL 13-15, WATER SPLASHING FESTIVAL, Xishuangbanna. This is New Year, according to people of the Dai nationality. It’s the custom to splash water on one another, to chase away the ev il spirit. Also, there are dragon-boat races on the Lanchang River and performances of the peacock dance around nighttime bonfires.

For information: China National Foulist Office, 60 F. 42ndSt., New York. NY 10165. (212) 86 7-0271.

FRENCH POLYNESIA

DECEMBER 6, TIARE TAHITI DAY, Papeete. The tiare is considered the national flower of French Polynesia (this overlooks the fact that the islands arc an overseas department of France, rather than a nation, but never mind). Everybody ends up with a tiare—or a whole lei of them. There arc contests, and the Tiare Ball crowns the evening.

DECEMBER 31, NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATIONS, Papeete. The Cross dc la Saint Sylvestre footrace takes place on the city’s streets, and after dusk the bustling waterfront is festively illuminated.

For information: Tahiti Tourist Promotion Board, 12233 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064. (213) 207-1919.

HONG KONG

JANUARY 18-FEBRUARY 14, HONG KONG FESTIVAL. Classical and folk music, jazz, dance, and drama, performed by an international roster of artists.

Reserve tickets and accommodations early.

JANUARY 29, CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS. Huge illuminated decorations adorn the streets of the central district and Tsimsharsui, in Kowloon, and everyone is in a celebratory mood. Hong Kong residents, 98 percent of whom arc ethnically Chinese, consider this the largest festival of the year (as do members of Chinese communities the world over). New Year in Hong Kong is a family-oriented celebration, much as Christmas is in the United States. Kung Hei Fat Choi (May you prosper)!

FEBRUARY 12, LANTERN FESTIVAL. Colored lanterns are alight everywhere, and traditional cultural performances are given at Ko Shan Park, in Kowloon. At the Sung Dynasty Village, also in Kowloon, the day is celebrated as it was a thousand years ago, with lantern auctions, a feast, and a cultural show. This Lantern Festival (not to be confused with the one at mid-autumn) is meant to give the New Year season a rousing send-off.

For information: Hong Kong tourist Association, 548 Fifth Ave., New York. NY 10036. (212) 869-5008.

Q INDIA

NOVEMBER 1, DIVALI, throughout India. Some say this festival originally celebrated Lord Rama’s return from exile. Others say the occasion was the triumph of Lord Krishna over the demon king Nasakasura. Still others believe Divali (or Diwali or Deepavali) to be the sole day of the year when Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, returns to earth. Laxmi’s partisans have generally won out, except in the Calcutta area, where the goddess Kali is venerated. In any case, it’s a gay and picturesque Hindu religious festival of lights.

FEBRUARY 26-MARCH 4, CARNIVAL, Panaji. The capital of Goa, a former Portuguese colony on India’s western coast.

puts on a zestful prc-Lcnten Carnival. Hie King of Carnival here is named Memo, and he and his subjects behave much the way their counterparts elsewhere do.

MARCH 16, HOI.I, throughout northern India. Don’t dress up for this one: the favored form of celebration is the throwing of colored water and colored powder on everyone else. It makes for a rowdy but effective welcome to spring.

For information: Government of India Tounst Office. 20 Rockefeller Plaza, North Mezzanine, New York. NY 10112.

JAPAN

JAnuar 18, ONZA HIHO DARANi-E, Tokyo. Many Japanese rituals and festivals have to do with the banishing of evil spirits, but the evil spirits attend—in order to he banished-only a few. At Kannon Temple, in Asakusa, a red devil and a blue devil pay a dramatic visit on the final evening of a week-long Buddhist service. Prior to this climactic ceremony, there’s not much to see: six groups of priests take shifts chanting, behind curtains, for 156 straight hours.

FEBRUARY 5-11, YUKI MATSURI, Sapporo. The biggest festival of the year on the northern island of Hokkaido is better known in the West as the Sapporo Snow Festival. I luge, elaborate snow sculptures— one year there was a model of a Greek temple, complete with all the statues in the forecourt—are exhibited on the city’s main street, and there’s a parade, skating contests and other sporting events, and various cultural activities.

FEBRUARY 8. MARI KUYO, throughout Japan. These days it’s mostly tailors and dressmakers who observe the hart kayo custom, but back in the Edo period, when it originated, it was a household standard. I he literal translation of hari kuyo is “needle memorial service. One collects all one’s old sewing needles, sticks them into cakes of tofu or konnyaku, a paste made from the root of the devil’s-tongue plant, and prays for the repose of the needles, the improvement of one’s sewing skills, and safe tv from injury while sewing.

MARCH 12. OMIZUTORI MATSURI.

Kara. The highlight of a famous two-weeklong festival at the ancient and remarkable Todaiji Temple, omizutori. or “waterdrawing,” is a 1,200-year-old rite. To the sound of shell horns, blown by priests, monks wave torches from the veranda ot the Nigatsudo Hall, go down to draw holy water from a well, and offer it to a huge image ot the 11-faced Kannon. in whose honor the festival is held.

APRIL 3-5. ISE SHRINE KAGURA MATSURI. kagura pantomime dances and a first-rate series of No plays, at the serenely lovely Ise Shrine.

For information: Japan National Tourist Organization, 620 Fifth .Ave., New York, AT 10111. (212) 757-5640.

NEPAL

EERRl ARY 26. MAI 1A SHIVARATREE, Kathmandu. Ilundreds of thousands ot Hindus visit the temple of Pashupatinath to offer flowers, fruit, coins, prayers, and hymns to Shiva. At Tundikhel, in the afternoon, the Royal Nepalese Army makes its offering in the form ot ceremonial volleys of gunfire.

For information: Royal Nepalese Consulate General. R20 Second Ave., New York, NY 10017. (212)370-4188.

NEW ZEALAND

MARCH 5-7, GOLDEN SHEARS INTERNATIONAL SHEARING CHAMPIONSHIPS, Mastcrton. The sheep ranches send their best shearers to compete. A big livestock and agricultural show accompanies the contest, and there arc demonstrations of such arts essential to sheep ranching as the rounding up of sheep by dogs.

MARCH 14. NGARUAWAHIA RIVER REGATTA, Rotorua. A traditional festival of the Maori, New Zealand’s original inhabitants. Maoris in colorful native costume give performances of songs and dances and have a big canoe race on the river.

For information: New Zealand Tourist and Publicity Office. 620 Fifth Ave., New York. A 10111. (212) 586-0060.

PHILIPPINES

DECEMBER 24. LANTERN FESTIVAL, San Fernando. Multi-colored parols, wood and paper lanterns, are paraded through the streets of this town northwest of Manila. Some of the parols are so large that they must be carried on trucks.

JANUARY 9, FEAST OF THE BLACK NAZARENK, Manila. A procession in the Quiapo district of the city honors an ancient life-size coal-black image of Christ, which is borne through the streets on a palanquin.