The year is drawing to a close, and you must have already started planning your way to taking off during the winter vacations. But Christmas is still two months away, and you might have the yearning for a dose of autumn travel. Well, you’d be happy to know that some of the year’s most coveted festivities are hosted in October across the globe amidst the colorful foliage in soft mornings, placid afternoons and romantic evenings of the fall.
The air thick with celebrations, tourists and locals alike are treated to spectacular sights and festive food and wine that fill their hearts and making your trip remarkable and unique in its true sense.
We’ve zeroed down three of the most significant events privileged to the month of October for you to cross off your fall must-visit list.
Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
Germany’s Oktoberfest is the pallbearer of the phrase, “Eat, drink, and be merry.” The world’s largest folk carnival flags off in the last week of September and continues for a fortnight leading up to the first days of October. Oktoberfest is known far and wide for staggering mouthfuls of authentic Bavarian beers washed down with a generous helping of smoked fish, pork, Bratwurst(sausages), gingerbread, and wild ox.
But Oktoberfest has a lot more to it than just its gastronomy. A grand tent patron’s parade marks its first day followed by traditional costume parades some days later. Families can bask in the joy on the Ferris wheel, roller coaster, water slides, the haunted house and various other entertainment kiosks and game booths as they devour a giant pretzel and multiple varieties of cakes and pastries. Add the Bavarian folk dance to the mix and a live band performance in the open air – you’ve got yourself filled to the brim with happiness!
Diwali – India
India, a land with a different culture at every bend in the road, unites every year in October to celebrate one of the most grandiose festivals of lights in the world. Diwali marks the homecoming of Lord Rama after 14 years of exile in the forest. A fortnight before Diwali, India celebrates the festival of Dussehra, the day on which Lord Rama is believed to have defeated Ravana in the War of Lanka and taken back his abducted wife, Sita.
The days up the Diwali countdown are filled with local traditions and customs. Houses, markets, and malls come alive with lights even as they face a frantic rush for buying clothes, accessories, and appliances. On the actual D-day, this entire nation of 1.3 billion people joins hands to light lamps to dispel darkness and bring in fortune and happiness into their businesses and lives. The spectacle of the night sky aglow with cracker lights is the closest man-made equivalent of meteor shower you can witness. For the food lovers, there is no dearth of traditional local dishes laid out in front of you, and with every different state you visit, the delicacies change the culture they represent. In its true sense, India gives you a taste of its varied culture during this Diwali month.
Albuquerque Balloon festival – New Mexico, USA
Take a stroll down the boulevard of childhood dreams at the 9-day balloon festival in Albuquerque. The Albuquerque Balloon Festival is the world’s biggest annual balloon convention where childhood fantasies come true as colorful hot air balloons propelled by propane take to the skies from the wee hours of the morning. And these are no ordinary balloons. More than 600 balloons take shapes ranging from animals and birds to your favorite cartoon and folklore characters as well as famous personalities such as Elvis Presley. Even everyday mundane objects such as apples and bananas are brought to life by these floating balloons!
The ballooning events themselves are divided into smaller events such as the Dawn Patrol in the crisp hours of the October morning, the Mass Accession where all the balloons take to the skies at once, the Artistic Vision with local artists painting the balloons as their muse, the Special Shaped Rodeo with its quirky shaped balloons, and the “Glowed” Balloon Glows where balloons take the place of stars to illuminate the night sky. Don’t worry. The event is prepared for when your neck starts to strain after continuously staring towards the sky for a long time. You can head to the stage area where various children’s acts and band shows are up on display with an ice cream or your favorite childhood delicacy in one hand.
So there you go! While the above events are scheduled on specific dates every year, we suggest it is best to land there a few days in advance. You can get a good deal with flights and accommodation plus, the joy and frenzy of the preparations are as engaging and beautiful as the actual event. As an added perk, you get to explore the local culture in the days leading up to it!
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and hop on a plane to one of these places before the frenzy starts already!