11of the Best November Festivals Around the World in 2022

Published Categorized as Best of World Travel, Destinations, Travel Blog
Participants of the Mexican holiday in death masks
Participants of the Mexican holiday in death masks

Everyone enjoys celebrating, so here are 11 of the best November festivals around the world to add to your bucket list!

November is a great time to travel and there are many wonderful cultural festivals around the world held at this time of year. There is no better way to really experience and try to understand a culture than to participate in a local festival. The memories of the music, food, ceremonies and traditions will stay with you forever.

There are so many amazing festivals in November around the world to experience, so here is our bucket list pick of the 11 best November festivals that offer something for everyone.

N.B. We will updating this list of festivals in this month regularly, so if you have any festivals or events you think should make the list, please let us know in the comments section.

DISCLAIMER: This article contains affiliate links and Exit45 Travels are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more information.

Did You Know?

  • November was the ninth month of the year under the Roman calendar and got its name from the Latin word novem, meaning nine.
  • A rather hairy spectacle occurs in various parts of the world including Australia, the US, and England every year in November. It’s called Movember, and the idea is to raise money for charity by growing a moustache. Participants must shave on the first morning of November and grow their moustache throughout the month, with the ensuing amusement as an incentive for others to donate to a good cause.
  • November is the month to celebrate Sandwich Day (3rd), Happy Hour Day (12th), World Kindness Day (13th), Go for a Ride Day (22nd) and Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day (24th).

“Feasts and festivals are a feature of all major religions.”

– Anonymous –


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November Festivals Around the World

Here are the best November celebrations around the world to add to your bucket list travel calendar.

All Soul’s Day and Cuenca Independence – Cuenca, Ecuador

Where: Cuenca, Ecuador

When: Annually on 2nd and 3rd of November: 2 – 3 November, 2022

Duration: 2 days

couples dancing in a square in front of a crowd
Traditional dance presentation during Cuenca Independence in Cuenca, Ecuador

In Ecuador, All Soul’s Day on November 2nd is an important festival throughout the country. Paired with Cuenca’s Independence Day on November 3rd, the first week of November – and even the weeks before and after – are full of festivities in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Cuenca, a town in the southern Andes Mountains with a historic UNESCO World Heritage centro, recently celebrated 200 years of liberation from the Spanish. Dozens of food and craft fairs, parades, dance presentations, entertainers, sporting events, and nightly concerts often attract more than 100,000 visitors to the city throughout the week.

A highlight is the artisan fair by the Inter-American Folk Arts and Crafts Association. This brings in top artisans from across Ecuador and South America, selling beautiful and ingenious crafts

All Souls Day, or El Dia de los Difuntos, is a day to remember the dead. Some Ecuadorians bring a favourite meal to the grave of passed loved ones, though many don’t celebrate in this way. While Dia de Los Muertos comes from pre-colonial Mexico, All Souls Day comes from the Spanish Catholics.

Typical foods eaten for the holiday in Ecuador are guagua del pan, dolls made of bread, and Colada Morada, a hot drink that’s thick and sweet made with purple berries. These foods are widely available in markets and cafes during the weeks surrounding the holiday.

Check availability on accommodation options in Cuenca

Chiang Mai Lantern Festival – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand

When: Annually in mid-November: 8 – 10 November, 2022

Duration: 3 days

a lantern in the night sky at Chiang Mai Lantern november Festival
Chiang Mai Lantern Festival-Thailand: Image by Leon Contreras at Unsplash

The Chiang Mai Lantern Festival, or Yee Peng Festival, is held annually in the beautiful city of Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand. This festival is unique to northern Thailand, and is Thailand’s second most important festival after Songkran. It really is one of the festivals in Thailand in November to experience!

Paying respect to the Goddess of Water, this festival is when locals believe the rivers are filled to their fullest and the moon is at its brightest. This is believed to be the perfect time to ‘make merit’ and set your floating krathong (floating basket) off on the Ping River. Yee Peng is also a festival to worship a Relic of the Lord Buddha, Ket Kaew Chulumaneed, by releasing lanterns into the sky.

The act of releasing or letting go of the lantern and krathong symbolizes letting go of all bad luck, mistakes, ills and misfortunes in the previous year. It is said that if your lantern disappears into the darkness before the candle burns out, you will have extremely good luck that year. However, if it crashes while the candle is still lit, you will have bad luck for the entire year.

If you are planning a trip to the Chiang Mai to celebrate the Chiang Mai Lantern Festival, read our post on the Chiang Mai Lantern Festival and a 4 day itinerary for Chiang Mai to help you plan your trip and make the most of your time in this beautiful city.

Check availability on accommodation options in Chiang Mai

Day of the Dead – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Where: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

When: Annually on the 1 – 2 November: 1 – 2 November, 2022

Duration: 2 days

Participants of the Mexican holiday in death masks
Participants of the Mexican holiday in death masks

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is one of Mexico’s most well-known holidays. Events take place all over the country, but Puerto Vallarta is one of the best places to experience it, with week long-festivities starting November 1st at midnight every year. The biggest celebrations are on November 1 and 2, two major Catholic holy days – All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

Although the festival has a mournful theme, it is actually a celebration of life through acknowledging the dead. On these days, family and friends get together to remember loved ones who have died. It has become one of Mexico’s most well-known cultural events due to this unique perspective on death. Every year, people from all over the world come to see the colourful costumes and beautiful shrines.

Some of the festivities in Puerto Vallarta include mariachi, folkloric ballets, and Catrinas (painted skeleton mask) contests. Families will gather to remember their friends and family who have passed away, placing shrines candles along the gorgeous Malecon boardwalk. Day of the Dead is one of the best Puerto Vallarta events, so be sure to time your trip to take part in it.

Check availability on accommodation options in Puerto Vallarta

Iceland Airwaves – Reykjavik, Iceland

Where: Reykjavik, Iceland

When: Annually in November: 2 – 5 November, 2022

Duration: 4 days

Iceland Airwaves is a 4-day music festival that takes place in Reykjavik, Iceland every November. The festival was first created in 1999 and held in an airport hangar, but has since become the biggest music festival in Iceland.

Iceland Airwaves is unique because it is the only music festival in Iceland that focuses on both Icelandic and international artists. This allows for a more diverse and international line-up, which is something that is often missing from other Icelandic music festivals. Additionally, the festival has something for everyone with a wide variety of genres from indie rock to electronica.

In addition to the opportunity to listen to hundreds of bands, you will enjoy the art and fashion events. Make sure you check out the line-up of free off-venue shows where you can catch the same artists and party with the locals without purchasing a ticket or waiting in long lines.

If you love music, Iceland Airwaves is the festival for you. The line-up is always diverse and features artists from all over the world, making it a great place to discover new music. Additionally, the festival is located in one of the coolest cities in the world, Reykjavik, which means that there will be plenty of things to do while you’re there.

Check availability on accommodation options in Reykjavik

Lewes Bonfire – Lewes, England

Where: Lewes, England

When: Annually on 5 November: 5 November, 2022

Duration: 1 day

man at a bonfire festival surrounded by fires
Lewes Bonfire: Image by Jake Hills at Unsplash

Guy Fawkes Day is a holiday celebrated in the United Kingdom on the 5th of November. It marks the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes and other Catholic conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. One town that does “Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November” is the township of Lewes.

In the town of Lewes in Sussex, England, on Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th 1606, a bonfire was lit in commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot and honour the seventeen protestant men from the town burned for their faith during the Marian Persecutions. This tradition has been followed every year since. The night is also known as ‘Lewes Bonfire’.

There are many events held throughout the course of the day, however, the Lewes Bonfire Procession is one of the highlights of the celebrations. The local townspeople parade through the streets with burning torches dressed as Vikings, smugglers and other frightening characters.

It incorporates burning crosses being carried throughout the town and flaming tar barrel races along Cliffe High Street. Large wooden effigies are also carried through the town by a group of men before being burned at the bonfires.

The evening celebrations culminate in a large bonfire and fireworks display. The event starts at 7pm with a family fireworks display and ends with a spectacular bonfire and fireworks display. The event is free to attend and takes place in the town centre. There are several places to watch the festivities including outside the town hall, on the seafront, and in Market Place.

Check availability on accommodation options in Lewes

Lightopia Festival – London, England

Where: London, England

When: Annually from mid-November to early-January: Dates for 2022 TBC

Duration: approx. 7 weeks

light display of flowers in a garden
Lightopia Festival in London

There are many amazing things to do in London during winter. In November, not only are Christmas lights switched on but also the city is illuminated by amazing art installations. Lightopia Festival brings to London interactive exhibits, luminous animals or flowers.

Lightopia Festival starts in the middle of November and lasts until the beginning of January and is one of the must-experience England festivals. There is plenty of time to explore the amazing light installations during this time throughout the city. Alternatively, you can also visit Manchester or Alton Towers as both of those locations host Lightopia Festival as well.

Every year the light sculptures are getting even more creative. Illuminated butterflies, phoenix, fox and plenty of other animals impress Lightopia Festival visitors during winter. Also, street lasers and interactive floors provide an amazing experience.

Not to mention that Lightopia is an award-winning light festival. Among so many festivals around the world, this amazing festival in the UK has got many silver and gold rewards. It was chosen as one of the best Art Events, Celebration Events or Pop-up Events. Winner of the Interactive Outdoor Event and The Best Art Exhibition are just another few rewards. If you are looking for an unforgettable seasonal experience, make sure to buy your ticket for the Lightopia Festival.

Check availability on accommodation options in London

Lopburi Monkey Buffet Festival – Lopburi, Thailand

Where: Lopburi, Thailand

When: Annually on the last Sunday of November: 27 November, 2022

Duration: 1 day

macaque monkey face
A Macaque at the Lopburi Monkey Festival

The mischievous monkeys who roam the streets of Lopburi, located 150 km north-east to Bangkok, are honoured with their very own banquet on the last Sunday of November each year. More than 10,000 people, both locals and tourists, flock to San Phra Kan shrine and in Phra Prang Sam Yot shrine, the unofficial gathering point of the local macaque monkeys.

The festival begins with live performances and dances that draw the curious monkeys out. Long tables covered with red tablecloths are laid out with a great variety of fresh fruits, sticky rice, salads and Thai desserts. These are all designed in colourful shapes and patterns to please the monkeys.

Once the banquet begins, more than 3000 long-tailed macaque monkeys who live in the area gorge themselves in a feeding frenzy. Culturally, and according to the local faith, the non-spiritual feast of feeding the monkeys brings good luck to the local townspeople.

Throughout the day, there are also many musical performances featuring the ethnic culture of the region, along with many other fun-filled displays and contests. Expect lots of stalls featuring amazing Thai food and a real carnival atmosphere.

Check availability on accommodation options in Lopburi

Melbourne Cup Day – Melbourne, Australia

Where: Melbourne, Australia

When: Annually on the first Tuesday in November: 1 November, 2022

Duration: 1 day

horses racing around at melbourne cup
Melbourne Cup

The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s biggest horse race and is billed as the ‘race that stops a nation’. Held at Flemington Racecourse, the day consists of 10 races in total. The Melbourne Cup is Race 7 held at 3pm, where 24 horses compete over 3,200 metres (2 miles).

Horse trainers from around the world set their sights on winning the Melbourne Cup, a race widely considered to be the best-staying handicap in the world. The reward for the winner? It offers the richest prize in Australian sport and an 18ct solid gold Hardy Brothers trophy valued at $175,000+ and a stake of the $8 million prize money, and most importantly, cement their names in history.

100,000 plus people head to Flemington Racecourse to experience the day. The focus of the day is about what they will wear, eat, bet on and drink. Fashion is extremely important on this day and women dress is their best outfits complete with hats or fascinators, and men with suits and ties.

The most famous area to enjoy the day is the bird-cage. The bird-cage consists of 50 sectioned off areas where groups spend the day with a BBQ, tent or grassed area with friends, eating, drinking and socializing.

On this one day of the year, most Australians stop and listen to the race or watch it on TV, even people who don’t usually gamble, have a bet on the race or a ticket in a sweep.

Check availability on accommodation options in Melbourne

Pushkar Camel Fair – Pushkar, Rajasthan, India

Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan, India

When: Annually in November: 1 – 9 November, 2022

Duration: 9 days

picture of a camels head with colourful halter and a hat on
Pushkar Camel Fair: Image by Engin Akyurt at Pexels

The Pushkar Camel Fair is the largest camel fair in the world and has been taking place every year since 1987. The fair is held in the city of Pushkar in Rajasthan, India, and is considered a major tourist attraction, and is also a major trade event for the camel industry. It is held every year in November and is seen as a religious event as pilgrims come to see the camels and purchase them.

The fair features a variety of stalls selling camel products, as well as traditional entertainment such as camel rides, camel races and camel wrestling. You will also be entertained by snake charmers, fortune tellers, dancers, musicians, magicians and holy men.

The fair is a popular tourist destination and attracts thousands of tourists each year. To get to the fair, visitors can fly into Jaipur or Delhi and then take a bus or train to Pushkar. The Pushkar Camel Fair is a must-see event for anyone interested in Indian culture and history.

Check availability on accommodation options in Pushkar

Rann Utsav– Kutch, Gujarat, India

Where: Kutch, Gujarat, India

When: Annually during Winter: 1 November – 20 February, 2022

Duration: approx. 100 days

We have added Rann Utsav to our post on the ‘Best Festivals in January” as it is said the best time to visit this festival is in January. However, this festival can also be enjoyed from November through to February each year.

Read more about the Rann Utsav in Kutch, Gujarat, India in our post on the Best Festivals held in January Around the World

Winter Festival of Lights – Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Where: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

When: Annually from November to February (Winter): Dates for November and December in 2022 TBC

Duration: 101 Nights

niagara falls lit up with colourful lights
Niagara Falls at the Winter Festival of Lights: Image by Bryan Goff G. at Unsplash

The Winter Festival of Lights is, as the name says, a winter festival that takes place annually in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The festival celebrates the Christmas season and features a number of illuminated displays and attractions.

The festival features over 3 million lights on display and is one of the most popular events in the city. It consists of various light displays and events that are open to the public from November through to February. Best of all, admission is free, although it is suggested you leave a donation.

Some of the highlights of this family friendly festival include live entertainment, free hot chocolate, a Christmas parade, light shows at the Falls, fireworks, and a tree lighting ceremony. You can experience the displays up close by walking the Niagara Parkway and within Queen Victoria Park, Defferin Islands, an illuminated 8 kilometre route.

Check availability on accommodation options in Ontario

November Celebrations Around the World FAQs

Some of the best November music festivals are the following:

  1. Iceland Airwaves in Iceland
  2. Electric Daisy Carnival in Florida
  3. Beyond Wonderland in Mexico
  4. Hard Rock Hell in UK
  5. Primavera Sound Chile in Chile

Some of the best November religious festivals are the following:

  1. Diwali (in mid-October to mid-November)
  2. All Saints’ / Souls’ Day
  3. Day of the Dead in Mexico
  4. Guy Fawkes Night in UK
  5. Maaveerar Naal in Sri Lanka

Some of the best festivals in USA in November are the following:

  1. Desert Daze in California
  2. Day of the Dead
  3. Day N Vegas in Las Vegas
  4. Electric Daisy Carnival in Florida
  5. New York Comedy Festival in New York City

Some of the best November Indian festivals are the following:

  1. Rann of Kutch in Gujarat
  2. Diwali (in mid-October to mid-November)
  3. Pushkar Camel Fair in Pushkar
  4. Kartik Purnima Festival
  5. Wangala Festival in Garo Region of Meghalaya and Assam

Some of the best November festivals Europe are the following:

  1. Iceland Airwaves in Iceland
  2. Lewes Bonfire in England
  3. JazzFest Berlin in Germany
  4. Contemporary Istanbul in Turkey
  5. Paris International Fantastic Film Festival in France

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In Summary – The Best November Festivals Around the World

You can find many November fairs and festivals around the world which are held every year. You will be spoilt for choice if you choose to celebrate at one of the many November festivities as there are lots of both smaller and larger festivals out there for you to pick from and enjoy. Find the festival you love in the country you love, and dive on in to the celebrations.

What is your favourite November festival around the world and why? Have you been to any of our list of the best festivals in November around the world listed above? Have we missed any famous events during November around the world you think we should add? Post your tips, comments and questions below.

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Want more info to help you plan your trip? Check out all the ‘Best of World Travel’ articles we’ve written on travel in all parts of the world.

By Peta Wenzel

We are Peta (Australian) and Jonas (Swedish/Australian), a couple in our mid 40’s / early 50’s who have been travelling the world fulltime since January 2018. We met and lived on the Gold Coast, Australia and spent many evenings researching and watching YouTube vlogs about travel and dreaming of the day we would retire and be able to enjoy a lot more travel ourselves. Over the years, a number of events happened to family and friends and an opportunity arose which made us decide to not wait but to instead take a “Gap Year”. We are now in our 3rd year of travel and still hunger for new adventures and embrace the uncertainty that comes with full-time travel. If you want to know more about who we are, why we choose this lifestyle and how we do it, please follow our adventures and see how you can do it too.

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