Esther O'Loughlin 29 Sep 2017 10:39am

Six alternative autumn festivals

Autumn seems to be the season for strange festivals, and no, we’re not talking about Oktoberfest. We explores some of the less high profile events being celebrated around the world.

Caption: It wouldn't be November in the UK without a burning effigy

Navarti (Nine Nights) – India

The Hindu Navarti festival celebrates good triumphing over evil, mostly through the medium of dance. Nightlong festivities celebrate the Goddess Durga destroying the demon Mahishasura and colourful re-enactments take place across the country. The first three days and nights worship are for her, the next three are devoted to Goddess Laxmi and the final three honour Goddess Sarawasti. Tourists often flock to be part of the high-energy celebration. This year it is being held September 21-29.

The Monkey Buffet festival – Thailand

Every year since 1989 local Thai people have supplied a feast for the country’s monkeys. It is believed the animal will bring good fortune, so over 4000kg of food and drink laid out for their enjoyment. For humans, there is music, dancing and various monkey themed activities and costumes. So if you’re a Planet of the Apes fan than this is probably one for you. It is held annually on November 25.

Guys Fawkes Night –United Kingdom

This festival is not exclusive to Britain but commemorates the arrest of Guy Fawkes, who attempted to blow-up London’s Parliament in 1605. He was caught after placing explosives underneath the House of Lords. Back then, people marked King James I’s survival by lighting numerous bonfires. The occasion is annually celebrated on November 5 and centres on lighting bonfires and hosting firework displays. Some people even make scarecrow-like models of Fawkes and burn them at sunset.

Entenrennen (Duck Race) - Tubingen, Germany

People have been annually racing rubber ducks in Germany’s Neckar River since 1999. The ducks are each given a number and tossed in the river by truck or hand where the current carries them to the finish line. Anyone can participate and the highest number of entries recorded is 7,000. The October 7 race lasts about 45 minutes and the winner receives a £1,000 holiday voucher.

Tori No Ichi (Rooster Rake Fair) - Japan

Sticking with the bird theme, Japan celebrates the Day of the Rooster by selling rakes. Market stalls cram the streets as the Rooster is thought to bring wealth to business owners. Bamboo rakes, or kumades, are decorated with masks and old coins and symbolise ‘raking in good luck and prosperity’. When a sale is made the buyer and seller clap their hands and chant together for good luck. This noisy occasion takes place every 12 days in November.

Quiet festival – Ocean City, USA

Far from the bustle of Japanese markets, a New Jersey town annually gather to celebrate all things quiet. An elderly local started the event 21 years ago, after becoming irritated by the noisy neighbourhood. The festival is now run by a sign language group and hosts hushed activities such as kite-flying, leaf-squeezing (your guess is as good as ours), pin-dropping and pet-petting. It runs November 4-5 and is open to everyone, but keep your voice down.