What's on around the world in October 2014

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What's on around the world in October 2014

October offers all things food, light and horror for travellers! India, Thailand and the Philippines are the top destinations for those who love to mix with the locals during buzzing festivals, while the USA and Mexico become host to some of the most wicked events of the year.

During Diwali, Hindus light oil lamps to lead the god Rama home from exile.

Diwali, India

23 October

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, brings together Hindus from all around the globe to burn butter and oil lamps to lead the god Rama home from exilei. Held at the end of the harvest in Mumbai, it's a time that families and friends can get together to enjoy plenty of food and gift-givingii. The Diwali festival includes ceremonies where offerings are devoted to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, for success in the upcoming financial yeari.

Masskara Festival, Philippines

18 and 19 October

In October, the 450,000 locals of Bacolod City hit the streets wearing brightly coloured masks with huge smiles during Masskaraiii. The festival reminds the locals of its nickname, 'the city of smiles', with masks in the style of sea creatures, starfish, peacocks and rare flowersiv.

This Filipino fiesta started in the 1980s in response to the dramatic drop in sugar production, which was the main industry in the region at the timeiii. Bacolod may not depend solely on sugar anymore, but the festival serves as a reminder of the history of the region for localsiii. The festival is also meant to mark the date the city's charter was completed. People around the world flock to this town to experience the truly vibrant and colourful atmosphere of Masskaraiv.

Vegetarian Festival, Phuket, Thailand

23 September to 3 October

Phuket's large Chinese community come together to celebrate the belief that not eating meat during the Chinese ninth lunar month promotes good health and peace of mindv. Be warned, the Vegetarian Festival is not for the faint-hearted, as one of the most popular events involves men and women puncturing their cheeks with kitchen utensils with the belief that the Chinese gods will protect them from injuryv.

The vegetarian food stalls and markets include a fantastic range of local vegetarian cuisine, which is very popular in Thailand. The Thai-Chinese fusion cuisine includes a wide variety of ingredients, several of which have medicinal properties. Some of Thailand's specialties include chillies, which can help to regulate blood pressure and blood flow around the body, and Krapao or Thai basil, which contains Vitamin C, iron, calcium, phosphorus and may improve eyesightvi.

The USA is the place to be for all trick or treaters.

Halloween, USA

31 October

Even though the origins of All Hallows' Evening are in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, nowhere else in the world will you be able to find a greater passion for Halloween than in the USA. Children dress up as superheroes, ghosts and zombies before heading out to collect tons of 'trick or treat' candy from neighbours. Cities and towns across America celebrate in their own way with costume parties, carved pumpkins and apple bobbing.

Theme parks come alive after dark with Universal Studios Florida and Hollywood hosting the USA's largest event, Halloween Horror Nights, and Busch Gardens Tampa hosting the iconic Howl-O-Scream. The haunted houses, thrill rides after dark and outrageous live shows will leave you entertained, terrified and screaming at the top of your lungsvii,viii.

Day of the Dead, Oaxaca City, Mexico

26 October to 2 November

Often confused with Halloween, the Day of the Dead festival is not about ghosts and witches, but is Mexico's celebration that welcomes home the souls of the deadix. Oaxaca City has become renowned for its richly decorated celebrations, which begin with the 'Plaza de los Muertos'. Plazas across the city stock the ingredients for the traditional dishes prepared for the dead such as mole negro, pan de yema and Oaxacan chocolatex.

Offerings of candles, favourite toys and food are placed on altars for the spirits' journey back to the underworld. Candlelight vigils around the altars and roaming Mariachi bands make the night come alive. Sugar skulls are one of the most iconic symbols of the festival, which both tourists and locals paint onto their faces and join the parades that become a 'dance of the living dead'ix.

iLonely Planet 2012, Diwali: how to visit India's festival of lights, viewed 12 August 2014,

iiSociety for the Confluence of Festivals in India 2014, Diwali: the festival of lights, viewed 12 August 2014,

iiiKana-an, I. 2014, 'MassKara: A Thousand Smiles Per Minute', Bacolod City, viewed 12 August 2014,

ivLonely Planet 2012, Masskara Festival: a guide to the Philippines' festival of smiles, viewed 12 August 2014,

vAsia Web Direct 2014, Phuket Vegetarian Festival, viewed 12 August 2014,

viAsia Web Direct 2014, Vegetarian Food in Phuket, viewed 12 August 2014,

viiSeaWorld Parks & Entertainment 2014, About Howl-O-Scream, viewed 12 August 2014,

viiiUniversal Studios 2014, Event Overview (The Bare Bones) , viewed 12 August 2014,

ixFest300 2014, Dia de los Muertos, viewed 21 August 2014,

xMOC Adventures 2014, Day of the Dead 2014, viewed 21 August 2014,