If you find yourself in South or Southeast Asia between October and November, you may be able to participate in Diwali. This five-day Hindu festival is a celebration of light over darkness. "Families cover their houses with candles and string lights and decorate their doorstep with a mandala-like design called a rangoli. Normally made from colored sand, it is meant to invite Lakhshmi, the goddess of prosperity, into a home. Tourists are often encouraged to participate in the festivities through dancing and eating special sweets," said Alanna Smith, editor at TravelPirates. Traditions vary across the region — in Nepal, for example, Diwali involves feeding street dogs and decorating them with flower necklaces.
Indians in the US (and around the world) celebrate in a big way, as well. "I work with a community development organization for women and children called the Desai Foundation. They are known for their annual Diwali bash in NY, which attracts a diverse group of movers-and-shakers, musicians, and actors from NY's Indian diaspora community and beyond. It's open to the public," said Teresa Bigelow, who works with the foundation.