It’s a time of big national events in most of the world… Just what is it about November that brings together so many parties? No matter what, there are plenty of things to do around the world, and plenty of November festivals to take part in — many of which involve fire!
1. Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead)
When: November 1-2 every year
The Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Mexico with papier-mâché skeletons and candy skulls. The ritual celebrations honouring the dead are strangely fascinating and — with such striking iconography — they are recognised around the world.
Where: Worldwide, particularly India
When: 2018: November 7, 2019: October 27
Diwali is celebrated throughout the Hindu world, so you’ll find events spread from India to Britain, South Africa to Fiji, and almost everywhere in between. The “Festival of Light” is celebrated with fireworks, candles, and religious rituals. It’s a time to celebrate life and happiness, to give gifts and to seek blessings.
3. Guy Fawkes Day
Where: United Kingdom and many ex-colonies
When: November 5 every year
“Remember, remember the fifth of November…” No, it’s not time to watch reruns of V for Vendetta, it’s Guy Fawkes Day. Celebrated in England and many of its former colonies, Guy Fawkes commemorates the capture of an anti-government terrorist (Mr Fawkes) with bonfires and fireworks. Which is kind of what he was after in any case.
4. Thanksgiving (USA)
Where: All over the USA
When: 2018: November 22, 2019: November 28
The whole world knows about Thanksgiving, even though it’s only celebrated in North America. (Canada’s Thanksgiving is in October, though). Remembering early colonials, eating turkey, and spending time with family is the plan for the day. Almost everywhere in the States will have some kind of public celebration, like New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade, complete with marching bands and giant cartoon–inspired balloons.
5. The Pha That Luang Festival
Where: Vientiane, Laos
When: 2018: November 23, 2019: November 12
The annual Pha That Luang Festival celebrates the Golden Stupa, the most important religious symbol in Laos. The celebration begins with three days of religious ceremonies and processions, after which people jump into seven days of revelry. The main carnival features the Miss Laos beauty contest as well as bands, rides, and delicious street food — you’ll have an awesome time!
6. Loi Krathong
When: 2018: November 23, 2019: November 13
Thailand’s Loi Krathong festival is a time of new beginnings and lanterns — head to Chiang Mai to release a lantern of your own.
This list of the top November festivals is in no particular order, and is also completely subjective — they’re the festivals we’ve most enjoyed, or would most like to take part in, of all the festivals that take place in November. Let us know if there are festivals you think we should add to this list!