Día de Muertos (Day Of The Dead)
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico Dates: 1–2 November Mexico’s Carnivalesque remembrance of departed souls is one of the world’s most universally familiar festivals. Its papier-mâché skeletons and candy skulls are as recognisable as the jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween. Westerners find the Latino rave from beyond the grave, with its upbeat treatment of immortality, both fascinating and confronting.
Location: Puno, Peru Dates: Week leading up to 5 November There are various stories about the roots of La Diablada, in which men dressed as demons are added to Puno’s usual population of women in multilayered dresses and bowler hats. According to one version of events, the horned parade hits the streets in remembrance of the departure of the devilish conquistadors in the late 19th century.
Location: High St, Lewes, East Sussex, England Date: 5 November Bonfire Night is a classically English affair where burning effigies and fireworks illuminate the winter night in memory of centuries-old skulduggery. The story behind the event is as gripping as the Catherine wheels. In the early 17th century, some English folk were hoping that their new monarch, James I, would relax the hardline Protestantism favoured by his predecessors. One group of Catholics was particularly disappointed when this situation failed to materialise. So, naturally,they decided to blow up the Houses of Parliament, with the king, his eldest sons and most of parliament inside the building.
Festa del Cornuto (Festival Of The Horned One)
Location: Rocca Canterano, Italy Dates: November The event has no truck with lovelorn moping. Rolling down the main street on allegorical floats, costumed actors recite satirical compositions about the whole ugly business of betrayals and bust-ups. The festival has an unofficial patroness, an honour for which self-respecting celebrities would surely swap an Oscar. America’s Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, has been lucky enough to hold the title.
Location: George Town Harbour, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Dates: Ten days in mid-November The only festival to take place on all three of the Cayman isles, the Pirate Festival is geared towards infant swashbucklers. The ten-day programme of music, dances, costumes, games and controlled mayhem begins with a mock invasion. Two replica 17th-century galleons, accompanied by other boats and even the odd submarine, all swarming with rogues, carry out a ‘surprise’ attack on George Town Harbour.
Pushkar Camel Mela (Pushkar Camel Fair)
Location: Pushkar, Rajasthan, India Dates: The festival concludes on the full moon of the Hindu lunar month of Kartika, which falls in October or November Rajasthan’s most famous festival is less and less about the eponymous camels and more about a rollickin’ good time, though the dunes outside of Pushkar are still a sight (and a smell) to behold when the cameleers come to town. Drawing in 50,000 camels and 200,000 people, the fair is ostensibly a time when Rajasthani farmers gather to buy and sell their camels, cattle and horses – most of the trading, however, is completed in the days leading up to the fair.
Tori-No-Ichi (Day of the Rooster)
Location: Otori shrines, Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan Dates: Every 12 days in November Taking place on the Days of the Rooster (according to the Chinese zodiac), this event normally happens twice a year. In the occasional years when it occurs three times, superstitious doomsayers believe there will be many fires. However, it’s invariably an upbeat occasion, where the festival-goers visit Otori shrines to ask for abundant harvests and shedloads of sales. Markets spring up around the shrines – the largest, in Tokyo’s Asakusa area, attracts tens of thousands of visitors to some 200 stalls
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