Event-o-Rama: 12 Must-Dos in November

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in November:

  • Come for the camels, stay for the competitions. The Pushkar Camel Fair in northwest India is much more than a livestock market. Held at the time of the full moon in the Indian month of Kartik (November 18-27), the five-day event is a vibrant showcase for religious pujas, music, dance, local arts and crafts, and competitions as unique as the fair itself (“longest mustache” among them).
  • Light up your life at Staro Riga (November 15-18). For four nights, star attractions like monuments, buildings, and parks will be illuminated in Latvia’s capital city (which has been chosen as a European Capital of Culture for 2014).
  • Feeling festive? Stop by the San Miguel Carnival in El Salvador to get a taste of local food, crafts, and merengue music (don’t forget your dancing shoes!). The excitement — all of which is to honor “Nuestra Señora De La Paz” (Our Lady of Peace) — spans most of the month, but the main event happens on November 24, when the “Queen of the Carnival” is paraded around the city.
  • Take flight. Travel to Bhutan to witness the Black-Necked Crane Festival (November 12). The striking birds, once hunted in Bhutan but now vigorously protected, are winter visitors to the Phobjika Valley from their breeding grounds in the Tibetan Plateau, and their migration is truly a sight to behold.
  • Seize today. The All Saints Day Kite Festival is taking place in Santiago Sacatepéquez, Guatemala as we speak (November 1). The fabulous array of kites (most of which are made of cloth, bamboo, wire, and paper) on display at this annual event are used to communicate with spirits, and are burned at the end of the day to encourage the dead to rest in peace.
  • Pay tribute to photography. FotoWeek DC (November 9-18), which will be celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, has grown from a local photography contest to become a weeklong celebration of all things visual, with exhibitions, lectures, workshops, films and other photo-themed events at venues all around the city.
  • Give props to the turnip. Take a trip to the banks of Lake Zürich to witness Europe’s largest turnip festival, the Räbechilbi Richterswil (November 10). Pumpkins aren’t the only vegetables suitable for carving. On the second Saturday in November, oodles of carved white turnips illuminate the Swiss town, setting the scene for a magical parade.
  • Take time to reflect. On November 11, many countries will observe Remembrance Day to honor members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty. The date has been set aside as a memorial day since the end of WWI, which ended on that date in 1918 (though it officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles 7 months later).
  • Free your mind at the Brussels Innova Fair (November 15-17) in Belgium. Thousands of new gadgets, ideas, and inventions will be on display, along with the brilliant, but often zany, minds behind them. The fair’s motto is “We owe our existence to innovation.” We couldn’t agree more.

    Participants in a Remembrance Day parade in New York, 2011. (Photograph by VIEW Press, My Shot)
  • Establish Kiwi kinship — with an intercultural flair — at the Auckland International Carnival (November 10). Throwing its name into the hat with notable Carnival celebrations in Brazil, Venice, and Notting Hill for the third year, this day of fun celebrates the diversity of New Zealand‘s biggest city.
  • Celebrate caffeine — and the national drink of Argentina — at the Yerba Mate Festival (November 10-11) in Apostoles. The herbal brew is prized for its medicinal qualities as well as its high-voltage caffeine content.
  • Show off your shadow dancing at the World’s Largest Disco in Buffalo, New York (November 24). This campy tribute was marked in Guinness World Records as the largest disco in history, with 13,000 people in attendance, and features live performances by musicians who had their heyday in the Studio 54 era. Be sure to come dressed to impress in your best ’70s gear.

What would you add to the list? Let us know what we’re missing by leaving a comment.


  1. Mary Fuller
    Washington, DC
    November 14, 2012, 12:53 pm

    Bat migration at Kasanka National Park, Zambia –

  2. Ross Wilson
    Kailua-Kona Hawaii
    November 4, 2012, 11:16 am

    Toast the Roast! 42nd Annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival features over 40 events November 3-12 on Hawaii’s Big Island. Don’t miss Hawaii’s Oldest Food Festival!

    • Leslie Trew Magraw
      November 5, 2012, 9:53 am

      Thanks for the great tip, Ross! Keep ’em coming!

  3. Alexandre HORY
    Lyon, France
    November 4, 2012, 10:26 am

    You’re also forgetting the Hospices de Beaune Wine Auction which will take place in Beaune (Burgundy, France) on November 18 (during the famous week-end “Les Trois Glorieuses”, Nov. 16-18, 2012).
    See i.a.:

  4. Alexandra Metter
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    November 1, 2012, 9:59 pm

    You’re forgetting Loy Krathong! On November 28th this year, Thailand celebrates it’s biggest festival by floating small lotus-shaped boats through their rivers and, in the north, lighting lanterns and sending them off into the sky. Originally a holiday to celebrate water gods, Loy Krathong (Yi Ping in the north) is now just another excuse to have fun.