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5 International Bucket List Festivals in November You Cannot Miss

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Fall is one of my favorite times of the year; there is a crispness in the air as the leaves begin to change color, resulting in vibrant shades of reds, yellows and orange-hued foliage everywhere you turn.


When it comes to traveling, another perk of fall is that peak tourist season is finally winding down. Tickets are cheaper, destinations are quieter and the weather is cooler, making fall a great time to explore the world.


Here are 5 bucket list international festivals and events in November that are worth traveling around the world to experience.


Día de los Muertos - Mexico City, Mexico

While October 31 aka Halloween is highly regarded in the United States, the following day, November 1, is of importance to those living in Mexico. Known as Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead in English), the festival is dedicated to honoring the dead and is seen as a celebration of all the lives that have been lost.


Death is seen as a part of life, and instead of somber processions, you will find people taking to the streets and participating in parades and lively festivities. Dia de los Muertos is often characterized by bright flowers, vibrant sugar skull designs and plenty of candles. Participants often dress up as skeletons, donning elaborately-painted skull faces.


Sumo Grand Tournament - Fukoka, Japan

The popular Japanese sport of sumo is over 2,000 years old and has roots in Japan’s Shinto religion when it was originally performed to entertain the gods during annual festivals. The sumo wrestling we know today was in thanks to Japan’s feudal lord, Oda Nobunaga, who was responsible for creating the dohyo, or Sumo wrestling ring.


There are six sumo grand tournaments that happen in Japan every year, and the last—and smallest—one happens in the city of Fukuoka for 15 days every November. Tickets for matches go on sale in October, and sell out very quickly, so it’s important to plan ahead if you want to attend. For ticket information, check out the official Sumo Tournament website.


Kona Coffee Cultural Festival - Hawaii, USA

Now in it’s 48th year, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival seeks to promote and preserve Kona’s rich coffee culture which was first cultivated by American missionary, Reverend Samuel Ruggles, when he brought over a coffee tree from Oahu to the Big Island. The tree not only survived in Kona, but it thrived in part due to the island’s volcanic soil, warm climate, plentiful rainfall and higher elevation.


The 10-day festival celebrates all things coffee hosting everything from art exhibits and parades to farm tours, barista trainings and coffee tastings.


Dev Diwali - Varanasi, India

The annual festival Dev Diwali—the Festival of Light of the Gods—happens two weeks after Diwali in the city of Varanasi along the Ganges. The festival, celebrated on a full moon in November, is in honor of the Hindu gods and goddesses that are believed to visit Earth to bathe in the holy waters of the Ganga River. As it is a festival of light, hundreds of oil lamps are lit and sent down the ghats in the evening, making for a wonderful moonlit experience.


Yi Peng Lantern Festival - Chiang Mai, Thailand

Just like with Dev Diwali, the celebration of the Yi Peng Lantern Festival focuses on the observance of the full moon that occurs every November. Unique to the town of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, thousands of floating lanterns made from thin rice paper are released into the sky with a wish for good luck and health in the new year. Locals believe that with the act of releasing a lantern, one is also letting go of the negatives and making way for the positives in the coming year.


In addition to lighting the lanterns, you will find the streets of Chiang Mai busy with plenty of parades and celebrations, as well as houses decked out with lanterns and lights.


November presents travelers with plenty of travel deals and savings to take advantage of before the holiday season can begin. If you’re headed to any of these destinations, don’t miss your chance to experience one of these incredible festivals. 


All content provided in this blog is supplied by Christabel Lobo and is for informational purposes only. Barclays makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.


Image credit: Shutterstock



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