What do you think of when you hear October? Oktoberfest? Probably (even though most of it takes place in September). Halloween? For sure! Everybody thinks about pumpkin lanterns and scary costumes in October. But there are other, less popular (yet not less fascinating) October traditions from around the world that deserve to be mentioned.
If you happen to travel to any of the countries below in October, make sure you participate (in one way or another) in their local October traditions and festivals:
White Night (Paris, France), 1st October 2016
The White Night (or Nuit Blanche in French) is an annual event that takes place on the night before 2nd October to the delight of all tourists and local Parisians. During the White Night, you can become part of this amazing festival of Parisian culture and entertainment. All tourists’ attractions, libraries, museums, etc. are open till morning and the public transportation works all night! If you want to soak in the atmosphere of Paris at night and enjoy an unforgettable night full of street shows and cultural events, this is when you should visit the capital of love. What a great way to experience the cultural mixture of one of the oldest capitals of Europe!
Círio De Nazaré (Belém, Brazil), 9th October 2016
Celebrated annually on the second Sunday of October, 2nd, Círio De Nazaré features the largest river festival procession that is famous not only in Brazil but all over the world. A must-see sight, the procession consists of thousands of people following an effigy of the Virgin of Nazaré (she is put on a platform heavily decorated with flowers). If you happen to witness this amazing procession, don’t be surprised at the barefoot men and women holding onto a rope (a symbol of the strong link between them and the saint) and children dressed like little angels. The traditional celebration of Círio De Nazaré ends late at night with live music and entertainment and a lot of dancing and having fun.
Festival of Dashain (Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan, Nepal), 1st – 15th October 2016
Dashain, the longest (and most favorite) festival of Nepal, is an annual 2-week festival that is something like Christmas for the locals. This is a period in which offices and schools are closed and people spend some quality time with their families. If you are in Nepal during Dashain, you will see thousands of kites in the skies of Kathmandu! This festival is the time when people go to see their family elders, they wear their new clothes and exchange gifts (just like we do on Christmas). A rather controversial act that the developed world (and especially animal activists) does not agree with and cannot accept are the animal sacrifices – on the night of “Kal Ratri” tens of thousands of goats are slaughtered as a sacrifice to the goddess Durga.
Diwali (India), 30th October – 3rd November 2016
The 5-day Indian festival Diwali (also known as the Festival of Lights) is one of the most famous Hindu festivals. Each of the 5 Diwali days has its own specific celebrations and a special meaning. This festival also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year with people preparing days in advance for it by cleaning their houses as the goddess Lakshmi is believed to visit them during Diwali, bringing wealth and prosperity for the New Year with her. Fireworks, Lighting rows, lamps, lanterns, and all other kinds of lit objects are among the most often used symbols of light during the Festival of Light. * Note: Often, Diwali starts in November.