Lights of November
November is a month full of fire and celebration with some of the biggest cultural festivals of the year. Cities around the world light up the night skies with lanterns, candles, torches - you may even see some sparklers. Whether it be a festival in remembrance of finding good luck or a celebration as an ode to the Gods, one thing is certain: they are all steeped in tradition, culture, and enjoyment.
Dia de Los Muertos, Mexico
Date: Oct 30 - Nov 2
Though La Calaca in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico starts in late October, the 2-day celebration Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead officially begins Nov 1. The festivals are in honor of and in dedication to the deceased. People organize picnics in the cemetery to be with relatives who have passed. It is common for family members to bake loaves of bread, pastries, and cakes in the shape of skulls, coffins, and skeletons.
The days of celebration are filled with music and cultural activities especially in San Miguel de Allende. Tours to the cemeteries, traditional altars, costumed processions and parties that last all night long are all ways to acknowledge that we still have relationships with our ancestors and loved ones who are no longer amongst us.
Date: Oct 30 - Nov 3
Diwali is one of the most important and biggest Hindu festivals celebrated in India. It is also an official holiday in: Fiji, Guyana, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mayanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago (possibly more!). The spiritual significance of Diwali is of victory of light over darkness - good over evil and love over hate style - and commemorates the return of King Rama to his kingdom after a 14-year long exile.
Every house, shop, store, nook and cranny is brightly lit with all kinds of lamps, electric garlands, oil lamps, torches and fireworks illuminating the landscape of the country. No wonder Diwali is often dubbed as the festival of lights! The festival denotes an exchange of gifts, abundance of sweets and unlimited merriment in the atmosphere. The height of the 5-day preparations and rituals is the main festival night on the darkest new moon of the year - usually late October/early November.
Lewes Bonfire, England
Date: November 5
The 5th of November..”
Fire plays an especially important role in the Bonfire festival celebrated in England as the Brits light bonfires in remembrance of the Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to bomb parliament in 1605. 13 co-conspirators, Fawkes included, plotted to assassinate King James I for the relentless repression of Catholics.
The town of Lewes is known for the largest and most elaborate bonfire celebrations. People go all out with their costumes that match with their respective groups and parade on their set routes with torches and crosses on fire lighting the way.
Sky Lantern Release at Lanna Dhutanka Temple, Mae Jo, Thailand
Date: Nov 14
The temple arranges sky lantern releases to celebrate the end of Buddhist lent or Awk Phansa. This event is often confused with the Yi Peng Festivals by travel sites and blogs so take note! This is a totally separate, ticketed event. Tickets range from $100-$300 this year. Yi Peng and Loy Krathong above are free.
Yi Peng and Loy Krathong, Thailand
Date: Nov 13-15
Though Thailand also has its own festival of lights, it is celebrated in a different manner and follows different traditions. The Yi Peng and Loy Krathong, are celebrations to honor Buddha. The air reverberates with the chants of the monks, followed by the floating of krathongs, baskets made of banana stalks, decorated with incense, flowers, candles and offerings. What follows is a sight to behold - the sky is filled with khomlois (lit lantern), which the participants release.
So that is just a few light filled festivals that may spark your fire. I hope this inspires you to travel the world and connect to your inner fire.
By Leah Victoria, @JupitJourney
Jupit Journey is a curated collection for the conscious & curious travel lover. Follow the journey on Instagram @jupitjourney, join the fun by using hashtag #jupitjourney.