November has always held some kind of magical mystery for me. With the passing of autumn and the much-anticipated holiday season close at its heel, the month is replete with fond memories of bonfires, fireworks and firelight cutting through dark misty days and nights.
Indeed, Asia is on fire this month! Thailand celebrates its delightful Festival of Lights, or Loy Krathong, from 16 to 18 November. Throughout the country, Thai people pay their respects to the water goddess by sending off candlelit offerings, or krathong (usually banana leaves topped with candles and incense sticks), along the country’s waterways. Alternatively, burn some rubber, rev your engines and zoom over to Macau for its 60th Grand Prix, which takes place from 9 to 10 and 14 to 17 November and hosts one of the world’s most demanding Formula 3 circuits. Or perhaps it’s fashion that really sets your world alight? If so, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur are both holding Fashion Weeks, from 3 to 12 and 20 to 25 November, respectively, providing a platform for local designers to showcase their designs nationally and to buyers from overseas.
Fashion, I know. Rugby, I’m afraid I have to either pass or ‘try’ (sorry, I couldn’t resist) to follow the lead of the late Elizabeth Taylor, who claimed that she preferred rugby to soccer, adding ‘I enjoy the violence in rugby, except when they start biting each other’s ears off.’ Eek! The Bermuda World Rugby Classic takes place between 9 and 16 November. So hold on to your ears!
Arguably the most popular holiday in the United States, Thanksgiving, takes place on 28 November. Marking the start of the Christmas season, this national celebration sees families get together to ostensibly give thanks for the bounty of their harvest and gratitude for the year gone by. While almost every state marks the holiday with its own festivities, perhaps the best known internationally is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Manhattan will see more than three million spectators turn out along 6th Avenue and its surrounding streets to catch a glimpse of the marching bands, enormous balloons and elaborately decorated floats that this year will make up part of the store’s 87th annual parade.
To fill us in on this and more NYC goings-on, I’m delighted to introduce one of November’s monthly insiders, Vishaka Robinson, a lifestyle journalist and veritable Englishwoman in New York. Meanwhile, Gary Bowerman, an Asia-based writer and editor, gives us the lowdown on the hottest happenings in Kuala Lumpur this month.
Zoë Manzi, Editor, MO magazine, The Condé Nast Publications
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