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January

Chinese New Year. Parade, musical performances, demonstrations of martial arts, Chinese dances, and handicrafts. Between mid-January and mid-February.

Oceania International Documentary Film Festival (FIFO). Films produced by Pacific islanders are shown and judged in Papeete. Last weekend.

February

Tahiti-Moorea Marathon. Prizes worth up to US$15,000 (£7,500) entice some of the world's best runners to trot 42km (26 miles) around Moorea. Second Saturday.

March

Coming of the Gospel. Gatherings on Tahiti commemorate the anniversary of the arrival of the London Missionary Society. March 5.

May

Billabong Pro Surfing. World-class surfers compete on the waves off Teuhupoo on Tahiti Iti. First 2 weeks.

Tahiti Pearl Regatta. Yachts sail among Raiatea, Tahaa, Huahine, and Bora Bora. Mid-May.

June

Miss Tahiti, Miss Heiva, Miss Moorea, and Miss Bora Bora Contests. Candidates from around the islands vie to win the titles. It is among the biggest annual events on outer islands. Early to mid-June.

Tahiti International Golf Open. Local and international golfers vie at Atimaono Golf Course, Tahiti. Mid-June.

July

Heiva Nui. This is the festival to end all festivals in French Polynesia. It was originally a celebration of Bastille Day on July 14, but the islanders have extended the shindig into a month-long blast (it is commonly called Tiurai, the Tahitian word for July). They pull out all the stops, with parades, outrigger canoe races, javelin-throwing contests, fire walking, games, carnivals, festivals, and reenactments of ancient Polynesian ceremonies at restored maraes. Highlight for visitors: an extraordinarily colorful contest to determine the best Tahitian dancing troupe for the year -- never do the hips gyrate more vigorously. Airline and hotel reservations are difficult to come by during July, so book early and take your written confirmation with you. Last weekend in June through July.

August

Mini Fêtes. Winning dancers and singers from the Heiva Nui perform at hotels on the outer islands. All month.

September

World Tourism Day. Islanders pay homage to overseas visitors, who get discounts. Last weekend.

October

Rotui's Tour. Runners race 15km (9 miles) around Moorea's Mount Rotui. Late October.

Hawaiki Nui Va'a. Outrigger canoe racing, the national sport, takes center stage as international teams race from Huahine to Raiatea, Tahaa, and Bora Bora over 3 days. www.hawaikinuivaa.pf. Late October to early November.

Tahiti Carnival. Parades, floats, and much partying on the Papeete waterfront. Last week.

November

Tatoonesia. Local and foreign tattoo artists gather in Papeete to share designs and techniques. Early November. Followed by Exhibition "Tattoo" in late November.

All Saints' Day. Flowers are sold everywhere to families who put them on graves after whitewashing the tombstones. November 1.

December

Tiare Tahiti Flower Festival (The Tiare Days on Tahiti). Everyone on the streets of Papeete and in the hotels receives a tiare Tahiti, the fragrant gardenia that is indigenous to Tahiti. Dinner and dancing later. First week in December.

New Year's Eve. A big festival in downtown Papeete leads territory-wide celebrations. December 31.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.