November is traditionally a month of barren trees, frosty fireworks and an unshakable feeling that despite the premature celebrations, it’s not quite Christmas. But this is not the case around the world. From basking in an Indian festival of lights to watching the race that stops a nation, November doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, so we have selected a few of our favourite reasons to travel and discover in this late autumnal month.
Why go? When the gates of heaven are opened at midnight of the 31st October and the spirits descend down, the Dia de Los Muetros can begin. A celebration rather than a funeral, the day of the dead is a must see event that blends the Catholic ‘all saints and all souls day’ with local indigenous customs that revere the souls of the deceased. The festivities that await them are full of light, life and colour and promise a moving and unforgettable start to November. The ecological theme park Xcaret at Rivera Maya host an annual festival, creating a spiritual mood amidst a Mayan archaeological site. Whilst in the region, pop down to one of Mexico’s more delectable beaches resorts to enjoy a dip in the warmer weather.
Why go? On the 26th November Thanksgiving, immortalised by television specials and hollywood, hits America. The traditional narrative paints a picture of a peaceful feast between pilgrims and natives, and whilst the spirit of sharing food lives on today, it wears a very different coat. Head over to New York City to marvel at the most American parade around (and they really know their parades), or over indulge in ultra-American turkey, and apple pie.
Why go? With monsoon season at an end and winter creeping in, November is an ideal time to visit India. Soak up the cultural melange and striking sights without stifling crowds or climate. India also hosts several amazing events; for five days starting the 11th November, Diwali is the largest of its kind and is celebrated by Hindu, Sikh and Jain alike. This festival of lights which preempts lights eventual triumph over dark sees Indians everywhere displaying colours and candles outside their homes and temples, with the most spectacular display of lamps and fireworks along the river Ganges.
Why go? Dances and festivities will sweep the country on the 11th November, at the end of the high season, as Bhutan celebrates the 60th birthday of the fourth Dragon King, Jigme Singge Wangchuck. A blow out of dance, music and singing is expected to take place in the capital Thimphu in tribute to his popular king. Although longer reigning, Jigme is a beloved figure in Bhutan and is credited with creating the Bhutanese idea of Gross National Happiness, as well as fronting a quality over quantity tourism drive. Such is the importance of his 60th that the entire year has been dedicated to tourism giving you ample chance to experience the wonderful Bhutanese culture.
Why go? On the 3rd November the thundering of hooves stops a nation. The Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse is the premier Australian racing event and as the richest handicap race of its distance, draws spectacular crowd who are dressed to the nines. Hats and horses aside, the warm temperature and stunning beaches of this Australian metropolis will be a welcome break from the cold November rain.
Why go? Scotland in November is beautiful. Cosy up by a fire in a traditional Scottish pub or hike out on the highlands to breath in crisp winter air. November also sees a bank holiday on the 30th, in honour of St Andrew, their patron saint. Learn to enjoy bagpipe music, haggis, and Ceilidh on Edinburgh’s famous royal mile before heading out for an evening of uplifting Scottish patriotism.