Last week, we focus on the top US October festivals. It took us from the West Coast to the East to the Southern Voodoo festival. This week, we are going international. You know no one could mention October festivals without the German Oktoberfest. So hop in our party mobile as we visit the World’s best October festivals.
1. International Festival of the Sahara
Visit Tunisia at the beginning of October to experience the most exotic celebration of Bedouin culture. Camel racing, wrestling and belly dancing are part of the fun. Visit the Ofra Sand Dune, for some exciting adventure sports like sand-skiing and balloon rides. Explore the local bazaars and craft fairs hoping to stumble upon priceless treasures. This October festival is a century old and rich in culture. Be sure to dress accordingly, not to offend the natives, and enjoy!
2. Ibiza Closing Parties
Kiss summer goodbye on the gorgeous Mediterranean shores of Ibiza. Do it with endless food, fun and festivities. This land of absolute natural beauty hosts easygoing visitors all year long. But it is throughout September that the fun reaches its climax. The Ibiza Closing Parties are not your usual October festival. This is more of a marathon for party animals, with venues and events organized by the world’s famous such as David Guetta. You are sure to find an electric ambiance.
3. Alba International White Truffle Fair
This October festival caters to the gourmets of the world with mushrooms that fetch for hundred euros per pound. It doesn’t mean that you will have to spend big bucks to enjoy yourself. In fact, it is an opportunity to taste the finest Italian dishes from risottos to pasta and veggies to aromatic truffles. Profit from your stay to explore the local markets, rich in unique items and foodie ingredients. Top the experience going on a truffle hunt or by attending the Palio. It is a local donkey race that takes place on the first Sunday of the festival.
4. Bavarian Oktoberfest
September 20 – October 5
Where is your Bavarian Lederhosen? Get ready to satisfy your beer and sausage crave at Munich’s biggest fair and the world’s most famous October festival. Oktoberfest was above all the celebration of a local princely marriage. However, it had grown over the past 50 years to be synonym of “massive beer consumption”. If you make it to this legendary October festival, fill up on fine Pilsner, bratwurst and pretzels. Attend the Brewers’ parade and don’t forget to visit Munich itself. While you still can.
5. Vegetarian Festival
September 23 – October 4
When you hear “vegetarian festival”, you think of some boring celebration. But this October festival is the most gruesome display of spiritual devotion you will ever see. For 9 days, expect to see participants parade with cheeks and body pierced by all sorts of sharp objects. It goes from long pins to swords and guns (the last isn’t sharp but imagine a barrel sticking out your cheek!)
For the simple tourist, Phuket is a wonderful place to visit. Just be sure to wear white to blend in. Also try out the local vegetarian delicacies and visit a temple to light a joss stick. You don’t have to mutilate yourself to be part of the celebration.
The Indian Festival of Lights is a fantastic October festival. Why? Because it gives everyone a reason to celebrate the victory of light over darkness. Hindi celebrate the victory of the good god Krishna over the demon king Narakaasur. Indians and Catholics remember Pope John Paul II’s 1999 visit and speech.
For the common visitor, this “open doors” family offers a great opportunity to mingle with the natives and live like a local. Share a home-cooked meal in an Indian family before participating in the street festivities. Light candles, fireworks and don’t forget to put a flower at your doorstep for good fortune.
7. Brussels International Light Festival
October 31 0 November 3
The young Brussels International Light Festival is only in its second edition this year. Still it shows great potential to become one of the greatest October festivals. Brussels already stands out as an important European metropolis and a cultural melting pot. Come watch the city’s architecture warp into the future in a show of light and sound. Stroll along the canal between Sainctelette and Armateurs Squares. The route ends with the “winter barbecue”, a convivial feast where you could taste the best of Brussels’ cuisine. This festival should be the highlight of your visit in the European capital of great beer.
8. La Calaca October Festival
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
October 31- November 3
A list of October festivals would be incomplete without Halloween. In this case, it is rather a modern twist to the Mexican traditional “Dia de los Muertos”. La Calaca festival remains true to the roots, with the visit to cemeteries, processions, food and music. It also innovate as a citywide art and music festival for young artists to showcase their work. The festival is also an opportunity to visit the colonial San Miguel de Allende. Its historic temples, churches and other baroque buildings are world culture treasures.
What do you think of this tour of the October festivals? For an American-centric tour, check out this article. Which other festivals do you love and don’t see here? Tell us all about it. We love hearing from you.