Winter may be gloomy, but spring is always right around the corner to provide the world with much-needed color. It doesn’t matter where you stand irregularly shaped ellipsoid called Earth, people have come up with fun ways to celebrate the renewal of life. Some spring festivals are linked to where they originated. Others have gone global and are now celebrated around the world. Here are eight great spring events to add to your calendar ahead of time so you don’t miss them!
1. Holi — India, March 28-29
Speaking of adding some color to the world, perhaps no one does it better than the one in India during the annual Holi festival. Holi is literally the festival of colors, where people throw brightly saturated spice powders in clouds through the streets. Smells of market incense and dumplings waft through the air as cheers and laughter echo with flying colours. The night before Holi, a bonfire is lit to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
Although Holi was originally a Hindu tradition, it is now celebrated in many places around the world. However, you still want to plan a flight to India to get the authentic experience. It is a festival truly unlike any other, uniquely Indian, and a beautiful sight to behold.
2. Songkran — Chiang Mai, Thailand, April 13-15
After all that coloring fun, you might need a little rinsing. Fortunately, you can go to Songkran in Thailand if you are willing to wait a few weeks. Otherwise, maybe take a shower. Songkran is a huge water fight to celebrate the New Year in Thailand.
Every April, Chiang Mai becomes a water war zone, with people of all ages carrying squirt guns, water balloons and homemade water-hurling slingshots. Thailand can be incredibly hot and humid (around 95 degrees Fahrenheit) in April, so the chilled water fight is a welcome relief. Be sure to come prepared if you plan to visit Chiang Mai in mid-April.
3. Hanami – Japan, spring
Perhaps it is because life is fleeting that it is also beautiful. You can’t capture the best moment of your favorite song because as soon as you pause it, the music stops. In a similar way, Hanami is a spring festival across Japan where people picnic and enjoy the transient beauty of the cherry blossoms.
Japan’s sakura cherry blossom trees are famously beautiful, but short-lived. Instead of holding onto the moment uselessly, Hanami picnickers simply enjoy the beauty while they can. At Hanami you can hear the tinkling of tea sets combined with delicious Japanese sweets as soft pink and white petals flutter lazily in the wind. Japan is a thin but long land where spring rolls down from north to south. If you’re going to try and catch the sakura flowers in their delicate short time, make sure you do the right planning!
4. Tulip Time — Holland, Michigan, May 1-9
The Netherlands is known for its beautiful tulips and Tulip Time is their annual celebration of these colorful blooms. More than six million flowers transform the landscape, giving it so much color that it rivals Holi. So grab your clogs and book a trip to Amsterdam — wait, where is this again? Michigan? Hey.
So grab your clogs and book a trip to Holland, Michigan, USA. Like Japan’s sakura, tulip blooms are also quite short-lived compared to other plants. Tulip Time is a great option for getting some spring color, especially if international travel just isn’t in the cards this spring. As a bonus you can tell everyone that you can go to the Netherlands!
5. Cimburijada — Bosnia, March 21
Do you like eggs? I mean, do you really, really like eggs? If your answer is yes, consider going to Bosnia on March 21. All over the country, Bosnians celebrate the arrival of spring with a scrambled egg festival. Yes, scrambled egg connoisseurs have finally found their time to shine.
Traditionally, Bosnians go to a nearby river to break their morning fast. You can hear the scraping of cast iron pans and smell the aroma of fresh coffee as the sun glistens on the moving water. In Bosnia, eggs symbolize new life and the promise of warm weather as the sun returns to its higher position in the sky. People will be handing out free scrambled eggs all morning, so be sure to bring your appetite.
6. Falles — Spain, March 1-19
Scrambled eggs and flowers are, of course, tasty, but if you’re looking for something a little grittier, head to Spain this spring. Fallas is a festival commemorating St. Joseph and the Spring equinox. It’s loud, and it’s fun, and, most uniquely, it’s smoky. Patrons build puppets or puppets, sometimes huge, called ninots, which are often bawdy and satirical in nature. These effigies are paraded through street parties before being engulfed in roaring flames at night.
Revelers dress in colorful clothes, dance and drink throughout the festival. Although the entire festival takes place from the beginning of March, the main events take place over five days, from 14-19. You can enjoy savory Spanish tortilla and drink cups of delicious sweet melted chocolate.
7. Rio Carnival — Brazil, February 17-22
Maybe Falles seems child’s play to you. A great festival for sure, but you’re looking for something even bigger and louder. Well, when it comes to festivals, few are bigger or louder than Brazil’s Rio Carnival. Carnival is a Christian-tinged festival with pagan roots held every year before Lent. It’s also quite literally called “The Greatest Show on Earth”.
While there are carnivals all over the world, the carnival in Rio steals the show. More than two million people stream through the streets of Rio de Janeiro to dance, sing and drink for nearly a week. Awe-inspiring floats, accompanied by dancers from various samba schools, roll in procession at major events. The samba dancers are gracefully and expressively dressed and perform shows that they train for all year round. The explosive music, cheers and lively atmosphere are unique and unforgettable. That is, of course, unless you drink too much while you’re there.
8. Wildflower Blooms – California, spring
The California area is getting a lot of attention because of its notorious wildfires and increasingly arid deserts. However, there is a good time, from late February to early April, when California’s rolling hills are in bloom. It doesn’t happen every year, but when the conditions are right, wildflowers cover the hills in a variety of spectacular colours, stretching for miles.
Watching the wildflower carpets, lupins, daisies and the aptly named Indian paintbrush stretch across your sight in pleasing colors. The scents of spring permeate the air in the balmy weather of the California spring. Although the flowers have no particular festival, they provide a good opportunity to enjoy local foods and wines.
Party around the world
Winter is often one of the hardest seasons for anyone to endure. The lack of heat and sunlight can take a toll on your mental health. However, this is nothing new – humans have endured winter for countless generations. The return of spring has been celebrated and revered throughout history by people around the world.
Many cultures have created festivals to mark the changing of the seasons, often based on natural phenomena, such as flower blooms. Some of these events and festivals can be enjoyed around the world, but some are inherently tied to their physical location. If you want to celebrate the renewal of life, plan a trip and pack your bags for these timeless celebrations of life.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Alesia Kozik; Pexels; Thank you!
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