Autumn is my favorite season.

I love the cooler weather and the fact that I can wear jeans and sweaters, I love the bonfires and football games, I love that the breweries take time off from creating IPAs with toxic levels of hops and start churning out Oktoberfests, pumpkin beers, and Märzens, I love the creepy ancient holidays, I love the excuse to read Stephen King books and watch old episodes of Buffy, and, of course, I love the changing of the leaves.

Here are some of the coolest photos I could find of fall.

1

Chlorophyll depends on sunlight, and since the amount of time the sun is up in the winter months is less, the trees stop the production of food, causing the chlorophyll to break down.
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2

The Japanese festival Obon is best known in the West for the lighting of lanterns. There’s a lantern festival in China, but Obon occurs in July or August, while China’s festival occurs in the winter months.
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3

One aspect of fall festivals is that they pay tribute to the last real time of plenty before the oncoming winter.
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4

The chlorophyll is green in color, but leaves include other colored pigments, too, like yellow and orange pigments, so when the green disappears, the other colors come out.
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5

The horrifyingly named Hungry Ghost Festival, celebrated in China and other East Asian countries, occurs in mid-August, usually.
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6

Leaf peeping is most popular in the US and Canada but also occurs in China, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and Japan, as well as a few other spots.
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7

In Korea, the autumn equinox coincides with the harvest festival called Chuseok, which involves visits to ancestral hometowns and sharing a feast with family.
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8

The Indian summer is called several other things around the world. In Baltic states, it’s called an “old ladies' summer,” while in China it’s called an “autumn tiger.”
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9

The word “fall” for autumn comes from where you’d expect—the falling of the leaves. For the most part, it’s no longer used in Britain while it’s still pretty common in the US.
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10

The intensity of the colors in the fall are a result of the weather and the temperatures earlier in the year.
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11

There may be other chemical changes going on in the leaves at the time, which may cause them to change to other bright colors.
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12

There’s an entire subculture of people who travel to places in the autumn explicitly to see leaves change colors. They’re called “leaf peepers.”
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13

One of the impacts of climate change is that, with the increased amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, trees actually hold onto their leaves longer.
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14

The reason leaves change color in the fall is a breakdown of the chlorophyll that feeds them through the spring and summer months.
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15

In the autumn, the full moon is referred to as a “harvest moon.” This doesn’t refer to the color of the full moon during this season (though it can appear vibrant orange) but instead to its proximity to the time of the traditional harvest.
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16

Autumn isn't a worldwide season—it only happens in temperate areas with a winter-spring-summer-fall seasonal progression. Tropical, desert, and polar climates don’t have the same seasons.
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17

For reasons similar to why the leaves fall, autumn's the best time for harvesting many foods. This is why autumn is often associated with foods like apples, squashes, and corn.
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18

Leaves fall no matter where deciduous trees are, including in the tropical world, but these changes aren’t necessarily tied to the same autumn season.
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19

Deciduous trees lose their leaves while evergreens do not. Most conifer trees are evergreens as are many types of oak.
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20

A third type of tree is semi-deciduous. They’re basically deciduous, but they regain their leaves much quicker as they're usually in tropical and subtropical areas.
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21

In China, as part of the mid-autumn festival, people make “mooncakes,” a pastry filled with lotus-seed paste and accompanied with tea.
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22

In Japan, leaf-peeping is referred to as momijigari and tends to focus on the Kyoto area.
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23

An unusual festival, the EU’s “In Town, Without My Car!” holiday, celebrated in autumn, is an attempt to encourage citizens to use more environmentally friendly means of transport than the car.
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24

One of the more famous autumn holidays is, of course, Halloween, thought to have started as a Christian festival honoring the dead.
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25

On November 5, the English celebrate Bonfire Night, commemorating the failed attack on the British Parliament during the Gunpowder Plot.
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26

It’s fairly common for fall festivals to be centered on death or on remembrance, likely because of the senescence or hibernation of so many plants and animals in the season.
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27

While Halloween is a traditional autumn festival, in the US Thanksgiving is the closer equivalent to a harvest festival.
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28

In the British Isles, there are many old festivals that are similar to Halloween: the Celtic festival Samhain, the Manx Hop-tu-Naa, the Welsh Calan Gaeaf, and the Cornish Kalan Gwav.
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29

While the US Thanksgiving has its own mythology, the tradition of giving thanks for a successful harvest is much older than the story of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans.
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30

In Nazi Germany, on top of the Harvest Festival in September and Reformation Day for Protestants in October, there was November’s Beer Hall Putsch Day, commemorating Hitler’s failed coup. Jewish Germans were banned from the streets on national holidays.
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