November Festivals – What does the world celebrate this month?
Thursday, 15 November 2018 | Kate
Bring November to mind and you'll probably find yourself thinking about mists and mellow fruitfulness, magical late-autumn leaf colour, crisp dark early evenings, chilly mornings. But look beyond the borders of our funny little island and there are festivals and celebrations galore, going on all over the world, for all sorts of fascinating reasons. Here are just a few of them.
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Iceland Airwaves – Reykjavik
Fifteen years ago it was a small party in an aircraft hangar. Now it's an international favourite, a place stacked with all sorts of awesome new bands rather than big-time headliners, supported by a thrilling programme of art and fashion events, plus loads of free shows off-venue set up for the locals but just as welcoming to outsiders. Iceland's very cold at this time of year so treat yourself to one of our spectacularly warm lined hoodies or hoodie coats and stay snug, day and night.
Diwali Festival of Light - India
Diwali falls on the night of the new moon, between mid-October and mid-November. Diwali translates as 'rows of lighted lamps' and the annual Festival of Light sees every building decorated with tiny traditional pottery oil lamps called diyas, and fireworks lit to celebrate good's victory over evil in a vivid, joyous five day celebration. You need colour to help you celebrate? We have some stunningly colourful clothes waiting for you.
The Pennsylvania Baconfest – Easton, Pennsylvania
Americans eat an awful lot of bacon. They even eat it with syrup, which is basically a bit like treacle. And they're always looking for new and unusual ways to enjoy it. Attend this festival and you can treat yourself to delights like bacon pretzels, bacon and chocolate cupcakes, and bacon jam. Most of the goods on show are made by small free-range businesses, so you can enjoy the fun without feeling guilty about the USA's famously poor animal welfare rules. If you don't eat meat there's also fresh local fruit, veg and artisan breads on sale.
The Santiago Sacatepéquez kite festival - Guatemala
The Guatemalan town of Santiago Sacatepéquez celebrates All Saints Day in an unusual way. The locals hold a kite festival on 1st November each year, an event that sees hundreds of beautiful, highly decorated hand-made giant kites flown over the town's cemetery.
The Cape Town International Kite Festival - Africa
There's also the Cape Town International Kite Festival in South Africa, held in the beach-side suburb of Muizenberg and created to raise awareness about the importance of physical and mental well-being. It's an international event stuffed with wonderful kites plus kite-making workshops, food, crafts, and entertainment.
The Pushkar Camel Fair – India
Now that's what we call an unusually attractive camel! At Pushkar Camels are celebrated India-style, with snake charmers, fortune tellers, dancers, musicians, magicians and holy men, all marking autumn's full moon. The Camel Beauty Contests are amazing, as are the many camel races, especially enjoyed while eating an excellent curry, the real deal. And a refreshing dawn dip in Pushkar Lake is hard to resist as well as a great way to absolve your sins. In a festival that's 12 days long, the first five days are all about buying and selling camels and the rest is all about fun – camel musical chairs, camel beauty contests and more. It's brilliantly eccentric.
The That Luang Festival - Laos
This beautiful, highly religious festival takes place in That Luang, a place that symbolises everything that's great about Laos. You'll discover literally thousands of monks plus tens of thousands of pilgrims from Laos and the surrounding nations, all arriving to enjoy the processions, pre-dawn chants, fireworks, food and ancient traditional games.
The Kenu and Kundu Festival - Papua New Guinea
Live music, traditional dancing, craft displays and drama. This gorgeous festival marks Papuan traditions, and the remarkable kundu drums and canoes are the stars of the show. It might be a newcomer on the international festival scene, first created in 2003, but it's an excellent way to discover the vibrant culture of this exotic place.
The Richterswil - Switzerland
You might not think the humble turnip is worthy of a festival of its own... but the Swiss beg to differ. The town of Richterswil sits on the shore of Lake Zürich and celebrates the many apparent virtues of this much-neglected vegetable through the fine art of turnip carving. The one day event includes alfresco music, a market selling local specialities, and a parade of floats showcasing an awesome 26 tonnes of carved turnips – animals, flowers, people, even cuckoo clocks, all lit up with candles.
Chiang Mai and The Monkey Buffet Festival – Both in Thailand
The night of the full moon on the twelfth lunar month is auspicious in Thailand. As the full moon begins to rise, locals carry take their lanterns to the river, light them and set them afloat for Chiang Mai. When thousands of people gather to symbolically release their fears, regrets and negativity, the atmosphere is seriously special. Lovely paper lanterns and floats made of banana leaves float by, enjoyed by thousands of people along with parades and beauty pageants, music, lantern-making, dancing, singing, fireworks and delicious Thai food.
The Monkey Buffet Festival is another Thai classic of a festival, held at Lopburi, once the nation's royal capital and just north of Bangkok. The annual festival, packed with dance and song, takes place at the tenth century temple of Pra Prang Sam Yot, a masterpiece of ancient Khmer architecture. It involves feeding more than 4000 kilograms of fruit and cakes to the Lopburi’s 3000 resident monkeys to thank them for bringing tourists to the town.
Whether you're off somewhere hot or cold, we have all the beautiful independent fashion you need to stay comfortable and make an impact. Happy travels!