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Last-Minute Travel Ideas for the Autumn Equinox

The first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere is right around the corner, and for many in this part of the world, the Autumn Equinox is the beginning of the harvest season. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to get out of your current routine and experience a cultural tradition, it might be time to book a last-minute ticket to one of these locations to see how they celebrate the Fall Equinox. 

Mid-Autumn Festival, Vietnam

Image by Gareth Brown

The Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival is celebrated throughout many Asian countries, but the Vietnamese festival has a variety of traditions unique to Vietnamese culture. The Moon Festival celebrates the end of the farming season and allows farmers in rural areas to celebrate the hard work that they have done. 

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Tet Trung Thu, is one of the country’s biggest holidays. Children parade through the streets with lanterns in a variety of shapes and colors and families enjoy moon cakes while celebrating the Earth God.

Mabon, United Kingdom

Image by Elenora Grigorjeva

Mabon is an ancient tradition that gained popularity again amongst pagans during the 1970s. Often considered to be the Pagan Thanksgiving, Mabon celebrates the second harvest of foods like pumpkins, gourds, and apples. The holiday also celebrates equilibrium, as day and nighttime are relatively equal.

Though many of the true details of Mabon are a bit fuzzy—Pagans did not write their traditions down—it shares similarities with other ancient harvest festivals. Though Mabon is traditionally celebrated on September 22, the exact date depends on the rotation of the Earth, making it a little different every year.

Snake of Sunlight, Mexico

Image by Tuul & Bruno Morandi

The Chichen Itza Pyramid, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico and is one of the wonders of the world. Each year, during the fall and spring Equinox, Chichen Itza offers the great experience of viewing the snake of light. The light of the sun reflects against the pyramid and looks like a snake slithering around on the walls.

In Mayan culture, the feathered serpent connects the heavens, Earth, underworld, day, and night. Thousands of people will travel to Chichen Itza to see this magnificent sight, so book your plane tickets and hotel reservations ASAP. 

Sharada Navaratri, India

Image by Md. Akhlas Uddin

The celebration of Sharada Navaratri is a nine-day festival that takes place in September and/or October (depending on where it lands on the calendar) and is celebrated in the fall and the spring. Sharada Navaratri is celebrated through prayer, and individuals take part in Dandiya Raas and Garba, as well as worshiping the Goddess Durga.

Hindus celebrate Navaratri all across the world, and it is a popular holiday in both small villages and large cities. Those celebrating Navaratri fast, perform puja, and seek blessings from Maa Durga.

Higan, Japan

Image by Masahiro Makino

Higan encompasses the lead-up, days of, and days following the spring and fall equinoxes, taking place over seven days in both September and March. The celebration is deeply connected to Buddhism. For practicing Buddhists, these times of the year, when days and nights are equal, are a time for reflection. It’s thought that the days of the equinox bring the living and the dead closer together. 
During Higan, families in Japan visit the graves of their ancestors. In the Buddhist tradition, you live your life trying to reach Nirvana (enlightenment). Higan is a time to visit lost family members and for the living to reflect on their life.

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