October brings a huge variety of celebrations around the world, often full of colour and excitement. From MassKara in the Philippines, to Oktoberfest in Germany, to Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta in the United States — as well as hundreds, if not thousands of other events around the world — there’s something to get involved in near you!

1. MassKara

Where: Bacolod, Philippines
When: 2018: October 4-24
The city of Bacolod explodes with colour and life every October during MassKara, one of the liveliest, most vibrant festivals in the Philippines. Thousands of people don masks and make their way into town to celebrate — parades, food stalls, costumes all form part of the festival. If you’re a food lover or photography enthusiast you’ll love MassKara!

MassKara Philippines festival by Jasjit Singh
MassKara (photo by Jasjit Singh)

2. Jambay Lhakhang Drup, Naked Monk Dance

Where: Bumthang, Bhutan
When: 2018: October 24-27
Bhutan is a travel destination like no other, and it has a full complement of festivals throughout the year. If you can time your visit for late October, don’t miss the Naked Monk Dance, part of the Jambay Lhakhang Drup festival. This ritual has been going on for hundreds of years, and yes, does feature naked monks. You can take part by running though a fire. It’s a unique experience.

Bhutan Naked Monk Dance
Naked Monk Dance (photo by Evan Purcell)

3. Durga Puja

Where: Bengal, particularly Kolkata, India
When: 2018: October 15-19, 2019: October 4-8
Durga Puja is the biggest festival in Bengal, and takes place in early to mid October each year. In this festival, the Goddess Durga is celebrated, and comes to life all across the northeast region of India. You’ll be immersed in colour, sound and smell as you watch countless ornate make-shift temples make their way through the city. Everyone’s happy, everyone’s involved, and you’ll have an amazing time.

Durga Puja pandal interior | Durga Puja festival
Durga Puja

4. Oktoberfest

Where: Munich, Germany (and many other locations)
When: 2018: September 22 – October 7, 2019: September 21 – October 6
The original Oktoberfest was held back in 1810 to celebrate King Ludwig I’s wedding, which is still a great reason for having a beer or seven, right? Oktoberfest is now celebrated all over the world, so find an event near you, (like the one in Tulsa, perhaps?) chuck on some lederhosen, and have a great time.

Beer at oktoberfest
At Oktoberfest, beer is obligatory!

5. Tihar Festival, Nepal

Where: All over Nepal
When: 2018: November 7-9 2019: October 27-29
Nepal’s Tihar Festival, a Hindu Festival of Light, is a five-day celebration of animals and families. If you love crows and ravens, you can honour your feathered friends on the first day of the festival, which is dedicated to them. If you’re more of a dog lover, day two is for canines of all kinds. Cows, oxen and families are also celebrated throughout the week.

Nepal's Tihar festival.
Celebrate your furry friends at Nepal’s Tihar festival.

6. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Where: Albuquerque, USA
When: 2018: October 6-14, 2019: October 5-13
Ever dreamed of floating up, up and away? Love the romance of a hot-air balloon? Head to Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and lose yourself among the balloons. As well as watching the spectacle of hundreds of balloons rising into the air, you can also check out some amazingly creative balloon designs.

This is the most popular (and most photographed) hot-air balloon event in the world, so make sure to take your camera!

It's one of the few hot-air balloon festivals in the world where you're allowed to walk among the balloons.
Hot air balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival

This list of the top October 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 October. Let us know if there are festivals you think we should add to this list!

October festivals pin
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