November is the time to experience the festivals of the world. Half of the world seems to celebrate something in November: India celebrates the festival of lights, Thailand has Loi Krathong, Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead and the US has Thanksgiving.
Diwali (Deepavali) in India
In India, November is the time of Diwali (Deepavali): the festival of lights and the biggest celebration of the year. Diwali is a five-day event and its timing is determined by the Hindu lunar calendar, but it usually falls on the first few days of November. Homes, residential areas and public places are decorated lavishly for Deepavali with lights, from small clay lamps (diyas) to flashing multi-colored electric lights. During Diwali India goes mad about fireworks, and Diwali is a major shopping and gift-giving festival. If you are lucky enough to visit an Indian home during Diwali, expect to be stuffed with homemade sweets.
Loi Krathong in Thailand
Loi Krathong is one of the most magical times to be in Thailand. The festival is celebrated mainly in Thailand but also in Laos. During the festival “krathong”, floating containers carrying incense sticks, flowers and coins, are sent down rivers or other waterways and water spirits are asked to sail away the float makers’ troubles. Traditionally krathong were made of banana leaves, today synthetic materials such as styrofoam are common. A typical traditional krathong contained banana leaves, the bark from banana trees, food, flowers, incense sticks, candles, betel nuts and small coins as an offering to the river spirits. Loi Krathong is celebrated in the 12th month of the lunar calendar, which is usually November, and the krathong are sent floating on the evening of the full moon.
The Day of the Dead in Mexico
Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) in the end of October and/or the beginning of November, and this colorful festival is a great time visit Mexico. The traditional belief is that spirits come back to Earth on the Day of the Dead to visit their loved ones, and the spirits are treated as welcome guests. Decorative altars are made in homes to welcome them and graves are decorated in cemeteries. Celebrations and traditions vary slightly in different parts of Mexico but in many parts of the country this day is a very festive occasion.
Traveling in the US in November
There is one very good reason for being in the US in November and that is Thanksgiving. If you are planning to travel around the Thanksgiving weekend, make your plans as early as possible as this is a very popular time to travel.