Oktoberfest (Munich) – September 21st – October 6th
Oktoberfest is a 16 day celebration of beer held in Munich, with a few days left of this years festival and more than 6 million annual attendees making it one of the largest fairs in the world. First taking place in 1810, the Munich festival is the original and still the best – to soak up the gallons of beer consumed, the often overlooked food is excellent. Traditional Hendl (Chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish skewers) and Bavarian delicacies such as Weisswurst (white sausage) ensure the beer does not take all the accolades.
Full Moon Party (Thailand) – October 19th / November 17th
|Although a monthly occurrence, the Autumnal full moon parties on Kho Phangan are generally a better affair, as you miss the sometimes oppressive overcrowding of the summer. A party for backpackers, and generally those in their early 20s, the Thai full moon parties have become world famous. Based on a pagan celebration, nowadays you are more likely to find gap year adventurers drinking their fill of the notorious cocktail “buckets”. However despite this, it is definitely a unique experience and one well worth the effort if you are in the region.|
Halloween – October 31st
|Halloween is a yearly event that is celebrated in many countries around the world, particularly a favourite in the USA where streets fill with pumpkins and trick-or-treating antics. Halloween, also known as All Hallows Eve, is the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows, the day initiating the triduum of Hallowmas that was dedicated in the liturgical year to remembering the dead. It is a time to show off your scariest attire and pumpkin cutting skills.|
Day of the Dead (Mexico) – November 1st / 2nd
|Primarily celebrated in Mexico, El Día de los Muertos is connected to the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, in which friends and family gather to remember the dead. Although many families choose to decorate private altars, there are also nationwide processions with the traditional costumes, decorative candy skulls, marigolds and food and drink for the departed. If you cannot make it to Mexico, versions of the Day of the Dead are also celebrated in the USA and various European countries.|
Diwali – November 3rd
|A five day festival, Diwali is the most important celebration in the Hindu calendar and represents the start of the New Year. The festival celebrates the return of Lord Rama and his wife Sita to their kingdom, after defeating the demon king Ravana. The third day is the one to catch, with millions of lamps placed in houses and fireworks let off, giving Diwali its nickname “the festival of lights”. Jaipur is a particularly beautiful place to experience the celebrations as not only the buildings but all the markets are illuminated, making for a fantastic visual experience.|
Bunka Ni Ho / Japanese Culture Day (Japan) – November 3rd
Bunka Ni Ho is celebrated every year in Japan with the aim of promoting Japanese culture, artistic and academic endeavours. Local and prefectural governments host exhibitions featuring art shows, cultural festivals, traditional clothing displays and parades. In addition, Japanese cultural awards ceremonies take place on this day, with the Emperor presenting the prestigious Order of Culture for significant advancements in arts, science or culture. The prize is not limited to Japanese citizens, so time it right and you may be in luck.
Bonfire Night (England) – November 5th
|Remember, remember the 5th of November; gunpowder treason and plot’. This annual British celebration ensures that the plot to assassinate James I and blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 will not be forgotten any time soon. With local communities and councils organising nationwide bonfires and fireworks displays, November 5th is a spectacular night to be in Britain. Although the popularity of “penny for the guy” has dropped, the fireworks have arguably become more impressive, and it is well worth heading to a local park to see the entertainment.|
Thanksgiving (USA) – November 28th
Arguably more celebrated than Christmas in America, Thanksgiving occurs on the fourth Thursday of November and appropriately gives thanks for the harvest and for the previous year. Dating from the first Thanksgiving by the pilgrims in 1621, modern day celebrations still incorporate similar elements, such as the traditional food including turkey and pumpkin pie. If possible try to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York featuring floats, large balloons and marching bands.
St Andrew’s Day (Scotland) – November 30th
If you head north of the border on November 30th, you will be treated to a diverse celebration of all things Scottish. Art shows, Scottish country dancing, ceilidhs, bagpipes and traditional food and drink including the ubiquitous haggis are some of the highlights on display. It is a particularly good time to visit Edinburgh, as St. Andrew’s day signals the start of a week of cultural celebrations, and Edinburgh Castle is open to all free of charge.