Now that fall’s finally here, we’re finally able to get excited about celebrating all that comes with it. We’re saying goodbye to the long dog days of summer and hello to cooler temperatures, crisp breezes, and beautiful fall foliage. We’re more than ready to celebrate the fantastic bounty that comes along with every new fall as well.
What better way to kick off the season and partake in all things fall than a harvest festival? Every town, city, and region has its own take on such things, but some festivals really do break the mold when it comes to sheer noteworthiness. Let’s take a closer look at ten of our absolute favorites from all around the globe.
Dia de los Muertos – Mexico
While Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) is certainly celebrated in the U.S., especially by those of Hispanic descent, no place does this festival justice quite like Mexico itself. It’s a two-day affair honoring (and celebrating) the dead. Favorite ways to celebrate include parades, the eating of departed loved ones’ favorite foods, and more.
Diwali Festival of Lights – India
This ancient Hindu festival is largely unknown to North Americans, but is widely celebrated all across both Northern and Southern India. It’s all about celebrating the triumph of light over darkness and lasts five days. However, the biggest day of this November festival occurs on the darkest new moon night of the Hindu month of Kartika.
National Apple Harvest Festival – Pennsylvania, USA
If you’re planning on celebrating this year’s harvest in Pennsylvania, then this is a festival you won’t want to miss. It takes place in Arendtsville, the heart of Pennsylvania’s very own apple country. Enjoy seasonal activities like hayrides, apple bobbing contests, Native American dances, and more.
Cranberry Harvest Celebration – Massachusetts, USA
No New England harvest staple is more iconic than the cranberry, and this Wareham, Mass. festival certainly celebrates it in style. Check out everything from cooking demonstrations, to juried craft fairs, to demonstrations from local farmers. And, of course, you can stock up on plenty of fresh cranberries just in time for Thanksgiving!
Pushkar Camel Fair – India
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to see 50,000 camels all at once, and you’re a world traveler, then this is an option to consider. The annual camel fair most often coincides with the November full moon and includes a variety of activities and spectacles that are well worth witnessing.
North Carolina Pecan Harvest Festival – North Carolina, USA
If you’re one of the many people for whom fall tastes just like a perfectly baked pecan pie, then you’ll love the way North Carolina does harvest festivals. Whiteville’s Pecan Festival celebrates the humble pecan every year with a variety of events including parades, cooking demonstrations, and more.
Maine Harvest Festival – Maine, USA
Another must-see American harvest festival takes place every November in Bangor, Maine. It represents the perfect opportunity to sample local wines and beers, learn about the alpaca fiber industry, view live cooking demonstrations, and sample plenty of delicious New England fare.
Guy Fawkes Day – United Kingdom
“Remember, remember, the fifth of November.” That’s how the British celebrate the season – by commemorating the acts of the legendary Guy Fawkes. Popular ways to celebrate include everything from parties and get-togethers, to bonfires, to gatherings for the observation of the many firework displays that take place on this day.
Oktoberfest – Germany
Although Oktoberfest is celebrated all around the world, including here in America, nothing beats a visit to Munich itself for the iconic event. We’re talking sixteen fun-filled days of feasting, drinking, dancing, singing, and celebrating that has been in full effect since the tradition first began way back in 1810.
Battle of the Queens — Switzerland
In Switzerland, no harvest season would be considered complete without the Battle of the Queens. It’s an annual Valais festival that centers on a cow-fighting tournament. Each cow battles it out in order to establish the queen of the herd, with the winner earning the coveted title of “Queen of Queens.”
Of course, these are just a few of many memorable ways people from all over the world celebrate the bountiful harvest and the beginning of fall year after year.