What a thrill it is to arrive in the right place at the right time. It feels like a travel gift when on that very day a colourful Semana Santa street procession is starting up in Seville, or Aussie locals are licking their lips at the Broome Mango Festival and camel caravans are pulling into Pushkar for one of India’s most amazing fairs. Rather than leaving these incredible real life experiences to chance, planning your trip around a festival can be part of the fun.
It’s not easy to narrow it down, but here are our 5 best festivals for October and November…
Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages) – Kyoto, Japan, 22 October:
“The main event is the historical parade, featuring period costumes from eras dating back to 794,when the city began its 1000-year tenure as capital.”
Divali (Festival of the Lights) – India, 15th day of the Indian lunar month of Kartika:
“Festival of Lights is a time for positivity and joy. Coming at the end of the harvest season, it’s a period of relative prosperity… and feels like the subcontinent’s version of Christmas.”
La Diablada – Puna, Peru, week leading up to 5 November:
“According to one version of events, the horned parade hits the streets in remembrance of the departure of the devilish conquistadors in the late 19th century. Another version has it that the procession is lakeside Puno’s way of paying its respects to the ancient spirits of Lake Titicaca.”
Perang Topat (Rice Cake War) – Lingsar, Lombok, end Nov/early Dec (6th full moon in the Sasak calendar):
“At this quirky harvest festival, the Hindu and Muslim residents of Lombok, east of Bali, unite [in a good-natured fight] to pelt each other with boiled rice.”
Cooper Capers – Ariel, USA, Saturday after Thanksgiving:
“Code-named ‘Norjak’ by the FBI, it’s America’s only unsolved highjacking investigation. On 24 November 1971, a nondescript man held up a Boeing 727 with a bomb threat and parachuted into the night with $200,000 strapped to his waist. DB Cooper was gone, leaving only a mother-of-pearl tie clip.
The lakeside town of Ariel in Washington State, where authorities initially thought Cooper had landed, became the base for the search party. Every year, conspiracy theorists and storytellers gather in the small town, deep in the Pacific Northwest, to exchange views about what became of Cooper.”
Our thanks to Lonely Planet for their festival descriptions and you can find much more to help plan your trip in their ‘guide to having the time of your life’: A Year of Festivals.
* photo Chris Silk, India.