What do hot-air balloons, floating lanterns, and beer all have in common? They all help ring in the fall season. Across cultures and around the globe, fall is a time of celebration that often includes themes of light, color, and food. The nature of fall festivals is rooted in the ancient world, when harvest was of central importance. But today, you don't need a reason for a party.
Americans head to the pumpkin patch for hayrides, cities like London set off fireworks on Guy Fawkes Day—a night of extravagance that dates back centuries. Festivals of light like Hinduism’s Diwali and Thailand’s Yi Peng draw large crowds of revelers who celebrate the triumph of good over evil. And in other places, smaller scale festivities take place revering local crops—like the North African date.
Whether it be a feast that’s too large to contain, or a city whose streets are overtaken by puppets (here’s to you, New York Halloween Parade), the fall is a time to throw one last hoorah before the winter arrives. Ahead, we have a look at some of the world’s best fall festivals—from grand to obscure.