As the season of changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes and booties begins, so does the celebration of fall around the globe. Though the days get shorter, the list of festivals for the third season of the year definitely does not. When thinking of fall, traditional holidays and celebrations like Halloween and Thanksgiving probably come to mind, but you may not know about these five fall festivals around the world that you absolutely won’t want to miss.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – United States
If you’ve never ridden in a hot air balloon, October is the perfect time to change that. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which takes place at the beginning of October every year, is the world’s largest-ever ballooning event. Originating in 1972 with just 13 balloons, this festival has grown into a multi-day hot air balloon extravaganza with more than 600 launching from the custom-built Balloon Fiesta Park. Make your debut (and your friends jealous) by boarding a colorful hot air balloon and taking the most breathtaking ride along the New Mexico sky. Afraid of heights? Not to worry, pull up a chair and feast your eyes on the hundreds of balloons hovering simultaneously in the beautiful fall air – it will still be one of the most incredible and unforgettable moments of your life.
Loi Krathong and Yi Peng – Thailand
One absolutely magical, well technically two, fall festivals take place each year in Thailand. During the full moon, people from all over Thailand celebrate this event with Loi Krathong. It’s most beautiful and recognizable tradition is marked by sending off thousands of small floating candles into bodies of water (such as rivers and canals) accompanied by a special wish. Simultaneously in other parts of Northern Thailand like Chiang Mai, Yi Peng, another full moon celebration, gets underway. For this customary festival, paper lanterns are released into the sky powered by fire resembling stars for good luck.
Oktoberfest – Germany
Perhaps one of the most well known global fall festivals is Oktoberfest. Originating in Munich, Germany, Oktoberfest is traditionally celebrated each year in Germany and throughout the world with other cities and countries taking inspiration from the original festivities. In Munich, the largest beer festival in the world lasts between 16 and 18 days typically from the end of September through the beginning of October. Travelers head to Germany from all over the world, with attendance reaching more than 6 million people each year who in turn consume millions of liters of beer. Oktoberfest is rooted in a longstanding history dating back to the 1800s (yes they definitely knew how to party back then).
Guy Fawkes Night – United Kingdom
“Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Whether you actually remember this saying or not, Great Britain certainly does. That almost fateful night in 1605 where King James I avoided an assassination attempt orchestrated by Guy Fawkes (also known as the Gunpowder Plot), is still celebrated every fall to this day. Back then, bonfires were lit to commemorate his survival, a custom that is still carried out to the present day. Fireworks are also set off against the backdrop of iconic Tower Bridge as costumed citizens march through the streets holding torches.
Dia de los Muertos – Mexico
Perhaps the most colorful global fall festival is Dia de los Muertos, translating to Day of the Dead, in Mexico. Rather than mourning death, this holiday gives Mexicans the chance to celebrate life and the time spent on earth by the dearly departed. Included in the festivities are decorating graves with offerings such as brightly colored flowers or the deceased’s favorite foods. Colorful skeletons are a popular symbol of this upbeat Mexican festival, representing something that is typically so tragic and upsetting,
Which of these fall festivals have you experienced first hand? Is there another amazing fall festival you can’t miss? Let us know in the comments below!