I don’t know about you, but Autumn is my favorite time of the year. The time where the leaves change colors, the weather cools down, and the tops are put on the swimming pool for the season. It’s a time of beauty and to celebrate the end of another fun summer with family and friends. In the United States it brings about the new school year for children and teachers, and Pumpkin Spice takes over everything around us. But how do people celebrate beloved autumn traditions around the world? Where can you attend a Regatta, watching traditional boat races with all of your friends and family? Where can you get a pint of beer and a Bavarian pretzel to share with your loved one? And where might you fill your belly with a garlic heavy meal to ward off evil spirits on St. Andrews Day?
With so many autumn holidays and traditions to choose from, it was hard to narrow down all of the fun things I wanted to share with you. Here are my top five traditions I’ve added to my own bucket list and I’m sure you will love them too. Follow me around the world as we celebrate the changing of the leaves, the changing of the seasons, and Fall Traditions sure to bring a smile to your face.
Australia, Beards, and Charity
We’ve all heard of “No Shave November” but did you know it actually started in Melbourne, Australia back in 2003? Two friends,Travis Garone and Luke Slattery sat down for a leisurely beer and came up with the idea of ‘Movember”– an entire month where they would not shave their mustaches. They wanted to bring back the mustache fashion trend and with the help of thirty of their mates, Movember was born.
It didn’t stop there. In 2004, Garone and Slattery reached out to an organization dealing with men’s health and asked for them to accept whatever donations they brought in from Movember. At the end of the month, people had donated over $54,000 AUD to the charity, and the following year, with the UK and Spain joining in, they friends donated over 1.2 million AUD.
Since 2003, Mo Bro, as their new foundation is called, has raised close to 1 billion USD, spread across twenty countries. They have over five and a half million Mo Bros and Sisters who choose not to shave every November. When the next November rolls around, I plan on joining the fight for Men’s Health Issues, putting down my razor and raising a pint of beer in their honor! Whose with me?
St. Andrews Day
Load up on your garlic and head on over to one of the multiple countries that celebrates St. Andrews Day this fall!. Although mostly known to the Scottish people, this historic day is recognized in Scotland, Romania, Greece, Russia, the Ukraine, and Poland.
On November 30th, these countries pay homage to Saint Andrew, the Catholic patron saint of Scotland, by marching in parades, listening to live music and of course eating and drinking.
While haggis, and cabbage and carrots are not something I recommend sending to a loved one celebrating St. Andrews Day, no one will turn down a selection of high quality beers this autumn. But remember, if you plan on joining in on the fun yourself come November 30th, make sure to stock up on your garlic. It’s been said they ward off evil spirits. Me? I just love garlic!
Collobrieres Candied Chestnuts
I am a stickler for candy, nuts, and wine so it’s no surprise that one of the things I am dying to do is head over to the Provence town of Collobrieres in France and try some of their delicious candied chestnuts. Not only are they the Chestnut Capital of the World, they also boast one of the largest chestnut harvest festivals dedicated to all things Chestnut.
After I heard about this, the very first thing I did was pull up my favorite recipe app and look for candied chestnuts. Needless to say, my husband was very pleased when he got home from work that night and has been requesting more ever since. Here is the recipe I found!
- Prep Time: 10 Minutes
- Cook Time: 70 Minutes
- Total: 80 Minutes
- Serving Size: 6
- 2.25lbs (1 Kilogram) of large chestnuts (I used smaller ones and they came out just as good though!)
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 18oz (500 grams) of granulated sugar (2 heaping cups)
- 4 cups (1 litre) of water
- Optional: a vanilla bean or a splash of vanilla extract.
- Peel your chestnuts and put them in a pot of water with your pinch of salt. Make sure you peel them well. (I learned the hard way!) Once your water is at a rolling boil, keep your heat on for about twenty minutes or so. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside, steeping the nuts in the hot water for an additional five minutes.
- Remove the chestnuts one by one, pealing off the outer layer of skin, and placing them in a wide skillet. Make sure you don’t crush them as they will be soft But if you do crush them, give them a good taste test. YUM.
- Dissolve your water, your sugar and put in your optional vanilla in a pot on low heat. The syrup should thicken up but sill thin enough to be considered a liquid.
- Pour your sweet mixture over your chestnuts and return the pan to a low heat for about twenty to thirty minutes. Turn off your heat and let them sit for another 10 minutes to harden.
- Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy your new favorite Autumn treat!
One place I would love to visit is Cambodia, and after learning of their unique Autumn traditions, it has moved up quite a few spots in my travel bucket list.
For three days in the fall, Cambodians celebrate the seasonal movement of the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Pneh, Every year, heavy rains back up the river, and the following winds reverse the flow of the current. Due to this odd phenomenon, the river floods with an overflow of fish drawing in large crowds of people.
Traditionally, this happens in early November. Hundreds and thousands of people come to celebrate and party. For these three days, there is a wide variety of things to do and see, a plethora of food to eat, and local merchants buying and selling. But the highlight of the festivities is the Water Festival of the Regatta.
Hundreds of ships from all over come to participate in this traditional boat race down the river. From everything I’ve read and the beautiful pictures I’ve seen, it is a wondrous experience and something a US girl like me will only get to experience once in her life. Hey! Maybe I’ll bring my own boat and race along side them….. On second thought, maybe I’ll just watch.
You didn’t think I forgot about one of the biggest celebrations the fall has to offer did you? People all over the world know Oktoberfest as one of the largest fall festivals that Germany has to offer. Oktoberfest started in 1810 when a royal Bavarian prince married his princess and a wedding celebration ensued.
Every year cities around the world set up their party tents full of beer, brats, and Bavarian pretzels while they dance to traditional German music. In 2013 over 7.7 million liters (1.7 million gallons) of beer were consumed by the over six million people who traveled to Munich during the 16 day celebration.
A large parade runs through the festival led by the Mayor of Munich and followed by floats from local breweries and restaurants, and horse drawn decorated carriages. The music from the beer tents follow the parade as it makes its rounds.
But you don’t have to go to Germany to fully appreciate the spirit of Oktoberfest. All over the world mini celebrations have popped up and there is probably one in your neighborhood! I’ve been going to my local one for the last four years straight!
Can’t find one close to you? That’s ok! We’ve got an assortment of cheeses, beers, and snacks that will put you in the mood to celebrate.
Around the World and Back Again
Whether you’re riding in a yacht speeding down a river, growing out your facial hair or just enjoying your candied chestnuts by the fire, there is something for everyone around the world to celebrate as the year draws to an end. As we approach the autumn season send your loved ones them a gift basket to let them know you’re thinking of them. You may not be able to drink beer and watch the local parades, but you can celebrate across the miles and right here at home!
Not quite ready to travel? No problem!
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