A traveller’s guide to international festivals in November
For culture vultures who want to fly out and abroad, here are some of the best events lighting up the month of November.
Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Thailand
An ancient festival predominantly celebrated in northern Thailand, the Yi Peng Lantern Festival is celebrated to mark the beginning of the cool season (November to February) and conclude the period of monsoon in the country. On the day of the full moon of the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar, the mountainous city of Chiang Mai is canopied by an insurmountable number of “khom lois” or paper lanterns—a celebration that people come to experience from all across the globe. It is believed that releasing the lanterns is symbolic of a release from negative elements in life and the act will bring good luck while paying an ode to the ancestors and deities. Adding to it, Yi Peng coincides with the Loy Krathong Festival (Thailand Lights Festival) which is worth staying back an extra day for.
When: November 27 to 28th
Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan
When thinking of the Pushkar Camel Fair, don’t limit your imagination to a festival centred around livestock trading outlined by a hilly landscape. The week-long mela held each November is an international showcase of Rajasthan’s cultural heritage with an economical accent. While camel trading takes centre stage—claiming the record of the largest trading zone with over 25,000 transactions—cattle breeders from several Indian regions thrive on peaking transactions and the availability of rare breeds like Haryanvi, Kankrej and more. Moreover, from the second day onward, in the stretch of the desert, an oasis of a giant carnival appears with live music shows, Kalbelia performances and
When: November 20th to 28th
Niagara Falls Festival of Lights, Canada
The Niagara Falls Festival of Lights transforms the falls into a dazzling display, utilizing over 3 million LED lights. It's one of the world's largest illuminated displays. The event draws over 1 million visitors annually, making it a major tourist attraction for Canada. The festival's origins date back to 1982 and have since become a beloved tradition for locals and tourists alike.
When: November 18, 2023 to January 7, 2024
Strawberry Fields, Australia
Strawberry Fields is a renowned music and arts festival set in a remote location, providing a unique experience for attendees. The festival site is nestled along the banks of the Murray River, offering a picturesque backdrop for the event. Sustainability is a core value, with initiatives like solar-powered stages and a commitment to reducing environmental impact. The festival's lineup features a curated selection of underground and electronic music acts, attracting a dedicated following.
When: November 17th to 19th
Cambodian Water Festival (Bon Om Touk)
Another festival taking place during the full moon, the annual water festival indicating the end of the rainy season and reversal of Tonle Sap river’s flow (a rare natural occurrence) is a sight to behold for both those who take a liking to adventure and cultural travel. After getting cancelled for three consecutive years, Bon Om Touk is back in 2023. A venerable Cambodian tradition that can be traced back to the ancient Angkor era, the boat races form a centrepiece of the festival, showcasing teams competing in ornate, dragon-shaped vessels. The races are a symbol of unity and communal spirit among Cambodians. The festival also includes vibrant processions, traditional music, and lively street food stalls, creating a lively and native experience.
When: November 26th to 28th