By: Jennifer K. Velez, TWIP
The first frost of the year means getting cozy by the fire and hibernating until Spring for a number of us. If you ask most Americans, that’s how they start their holiday season. However if you are like us at TWIP, or you identify your travanality as a Wayfarer, then November is the perfect month to experience how cultures celebrate the transition into the holidays.
Dia de los muertos (Day of the Dead), October 31-November 2nd
In Mexico, the spirit of Halloween lives past October 31st. Day of the Dead, also known as All Souls Day, is just the start of Mexico’s spirit-filled celebration. Families create altars (ofrendas) latent with candles, flowers and delicacies to welcome their deceased loved ones into their homes. For 24 hours the deceased relatives of Mexico are welcome to spend this time celebrating with their families. The streets open up with live music and homes are decorated with sugar skulls, marigolds and incense. These families spend the last day of Dia de los muertos cleaning tombs in the graveyard. Day of the Dead is becoming increasingly popular amongst Americans and Europeans.
Melbourne Cup Carnival, November 3rd
Since 1861 the Melbourne Cup Carnival has been known as “the race that stops a nation.” Each year the Victoria Racing Club holds races at the Flemington Racecourse. The carnival is one of the biggest events in sports and is considered a highlight social event of the year. Guests sport lavish clothing and women don eccentric hats. Many choose to participate in Myer’s Fashion Competition, which originated in 1962 with the hopes of attracting women to the event. Children can ride ponies and visit the animal farm, while parents lounge, drink and socialize. The Melbourne Cup Carnival has something for all ages.
Diwali, November 10-11th
Each year India hosts a spiritual gathering known as Diwali, the Festival of Lights, to celebrate Rama’s return from exile and their victory of light over darkness. Diwali is a time of prosperity in India, as everyone comes together for this joyous spiritual celebration. The festival has proven to be the busiest and happiest time of the year in Nepal. Families share sweets, purchase fine clothing and other luxuries, shoot of fireworks and firecrackers, and string up lights. Those who are celebrating also light traditional earthen diyas (candles) and decorate their houses with colourful rangoli artworks – patterns created on the floor using coloured rice or powder. There’s no better time to experience India then during this beautiful and spiritual event.
Budapest Christmas Fair, November 27th-December 25th
The Budapest Christmas Fair does not disappoint as we enter our holiday season with cottage style wooden stalls, two outdoors stages and decorations for days. Passersby are intoxicated with the aroma of freshly baked goods and warm beverages. The Christmas Fair on Vorosmarty Square is placed in front of the Budapest basilica. The Christmas Fair is a way to keep the old tradition and culture alive. Like any Holiday Fair, visitors can roam, engage with craft stalls, enjoy tasting freshly mulled wine, baked pastries (Kurtoskalacs) or listening to live music. Thousands travel to Budapest each holiday to experience a traditional Hungarian Christmas.
Wherever you end up this November, do take advantage of these festivities. Whether you travel far or cozy up at home, get festive and creative! Autumn happens in the blink of an eye and before you realize, it’s Christmas!