With November fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what there is to see and do around the world. Fortunately it is shaping up to be an exciting month, so let’s dive in and discover what’s on the calendar.
1. Dia de los Muertos
Oaxaca, Mexico | November 2
This Mexican tradition, known the world over as the ‘Day of the Dead’, came into the spotlight thanks to the decorated sugar skulls that made their way into pop culture. A fusion between Mesoamerican beliefs and Catholic influences, it is a way of honouring those who have passed on, and celebrating their memory.
In Mexico, the heartland of this tradition, families go to pay respects to their departed loved ones, often by cleaning their graves and tombstones before decorating them in bright colours with garlands of yellow marigolds. Sugar skulls (calaveras) and papier mache skeletons (calacas) line the streets and devotional altars seem to spring up at each corner.
Make your way to Oaxaca and get your face painted, join a cemetery tour and mix with the locals for a no holds barred authentic experience. Here’s an insight from Professor Brain Cox’s Dia de los Muertos experience, courtesy of the BBC.
2. Melbourne Cup Carnival
Melbourne, Australia | November 3
This stalwart of the Australian social calendar draws people from near and far to experience the glitz and glamour of Melbourne’s races. As much about the horses as it is about the spectacle, get your travel plans sorted quick, as the city fills up in anticipation for the event.
The tradition stretches back over 150 years, and will take place this year at Flemington Racecourse, where the battle will be fought for a stake of the AU$6.2 million in prize money. The Emirates Melbourne Cup is fondly referred to as the ‘race that stops a nation’; Aussies are known to drop whatever they’re doing to witness the exhilarating run of some of the finest horses in the game.
Make sure you are dressed to impress however, as the Cup events have a dress code for spectators, including tailored trousers, a blazer, tie and shoes for men. The guidelines for women are less strict, but standards are high for classy ensembles with an optional whimsical fascinator.
Mumbai, India | November 11-15
The Hindu festival of light is truly something to experience in your lifetime. This ancient celebration crops up in different incarnations throughout the world, but there’s no place to celebrate it like in Mumbai, the most populous city in India.
Diwali is a joyous occasion, rife with glowing lanterns, sumptuous feasts and the celebration of the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. Spirits are high during this annual occasion, with the start of the new financial year in India and the end of another harvest season.
The goddess of good fortune and wealth, Lakshmi, is understandably worshipped during Diwali, and while this is a primarily religious celebration, all are welcome to come and share in the festival. Light candles, watch the fireworks and admire the beautiful colours of the women’s bright saris. If you’re lucky, you may even be invited to local’s home for a Diwali meal in the open-hearted spirit of the festival.
Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect during Diwali, thanks to the good people at National Geographic.