Winter may be gloomy, but spring is always upon us to infuse the world with much-needed color. No matter where you are irregularly shaped ellipsoid called Earth, humans have created fun ways to celebrate the renewal of life. Some spring festivals are linked to their place of origin. Others have gone global and are now celebrated around the world. Here are eight amazing spring events to add to your calendar in advance so you don’t miss them!
1. Holi — India, March 28-29
Speaking of adding color to the world, perhaps no one does it better than those in India during the annual Holi festival. Holi is literally the festival of colors, where people throw brilliantly saturated herbal powders in the clouds in the streets. Smells of incense and market dumplings waft through the air as cheers and laughter ricochet brilliantly. On the eve of 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 will still want to plan a flight to India for an authentic experience. It’s a festival unlike any other, uniquely Indian, and it’s a beautiful sight to behold.
2. Songkran — Chiang Mai, Thailand, April 13-15
After all that color fun, you might need a little rinse. Fortunately, Songkran in Thailand has you covered if you’re willing to wait a few weeks. If not, maybe take a shower. Songkran is a massive 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 catapults. Thailand can be incredibly hot and humid in April (around 95 degrees Fahrenheit), so the freezing water battle is a welcome relief. Just make sure you are prepared if you plan to visit Chiang Mai in mid-April.
3. Hanami — Japan, spring
It is perhaps because life is fleeting that it is so beautiful. You cannot capture the best moment of your favorite song because as soon as you pause it, the music stops. Similarly, Hanami is a spring festival all over Japan where people picnic and enjoy the fleeting beauty of cherry blossoms.
Japanese sakura cherry blossoms are renowned for their beauty, but their lifespan is short. Rather than clinging to the moment in vain, Hanami picnickers simply enjoy the beauty while they can. At Hanami, you can hear the clink of tea sets accompanied by delicious Japanese sweets as pink and white petals flutter lazily in the breeze. Japan is a thin but long country where spring rolls from north to south. If you’re going to try to catch the sakura blossoms in their delicately short time frame, be sure to plan appropriately!
4. Tulip Time – Holland, Michigan, May 1-9
Holland is famous for its beautiful tulips and Tulip Time is their annual celebration of these colorful flowers. More than six million flowers transform the landscape, dotting it with so much color it rivals Holi. So get your clogs ready and book a trip to Amsterdam for — wait, where is that again? Michigan? Eh.
So prepare your hooves and book a trip in Holland, Michigan, United States. Like the sakura of Japan, tulip flowers are also rather short-lived compared to other plants. Tulip Time is a great option for getting spring colors, especially if traveling abroad just isn’t in the cards this spring. As a bonus, you can tell everyone that you have to visit Holland!
5. Cimburijada — Bosnia, March 21
Do you like eggs? I mean, do you really, really like eggs? If your answer is yes, consider traveling to Bosnia on March 21. Across the country, Bosnians celebrate the arrival of spring with a scrambled egg festival. Yes, scrambled egg connoisseurs have finally found their hour of glory.
Traditionally, Bosnians head to a nearby river to break their morning fast. You’ll hear the scrape of cast iron pans and feel the flow 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 highest position in the sky. People will be handing out free scrambled eggs all morning, so be sure to bring your appetite with you.
6. Falles — Spain, March 1-19
Scrambled eggs and flowers are nice, sure, but if you’re looking for something a little more showy, head to Spain this spring. Fallas is a feast commemorating Saint Joseph and the Spring Equinox. It’s loud, it’s fun, and most importantly, it’s smoky. Customers construct puppets or dolls, sometimes massive, called ninots, which are often bawdy and satirical in nature. These effigies parade at street parties before being engulfed in roaring flames at night.
Partygoers dress up in colorful clothes, dance and drink throughout the festival. Although the whole festival takes place from the beginning of March, the main events take place over five days, from the 14th to the 19th. You can taste tasty Spanish tortillas and drink cups of delicious sweet melted chocolate.
7. Rio Carnival — Brazil, February 17-22
Maybe Falles seems child’s play to you. A big festival, sure, but you’re looking for something even bigger and stronger. Well, when it comes to festivals, few are bigger or louder than Rio Carnival in Brazil. Carnival is a Christian festival with pagan roots that is held every year before Lent. It is also literally named “The Greatest Show on Earth”.
While there are carnivals all over the world, Rio’s carnival steals the show. Over two million people take to the streets of Rio de Janeiro to dance, sing and drink for almost a week. Stunning floats helmed by dancers from various samba schools roll in procession during massive events. Samba dancers are richly and expressively dressed, putting on performances for which they train year-round. The explosive music, cheers and vibrant atmosphere are unique and unforgettable. That is, of course, unless you drink too much while you’re at it.
8. Wildflowers – California, Spring
California’s environment gets a lot of press for its notorious wildfires and increasingly dry deserts. However, there is a good time, from late February to early April, when the rolling hills of California are in bloom. It doesn’t happen every year, but when the conditions are right, wildflowers carpet the hills in various spectacular colors, stretching for miles.
Looking at the tapestries of wildflowers, lupines, daisies and the aptly named Indian Paintbrush span your vision in pleasing colors. The smells of spring permeate the air in the balmy Californian spring. Although the flowers are not associated with any particular festival, they provide a good opportunity to sample local food and wine.
Party around the world
Winter is often one of the hardest seasons to endure. Lack of heat and sun can have a real impact on your mental health. It’s nothing new, however – people 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 the blooming of flowers. Some of these events and festivals can be enjoyed around the world, but some are intrinsically linked to their physical location. If you’re looking 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; THANKS!
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