Today marks the beginning of a time most people look forward to: the end of winter and the start of spring. Having lived most of my life in the Rocky Mountains, I’m not expecting spring to arrive just yet since this is a time of unexpected snow and blizzards. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not getting ready to celebrate the start of a new season. In fact, I’m not the only one who welcomes spring with festivities, many places around the world are eager to welcome in this time of year. So, if you’re like me and you aren’t anticipating consistent spring weather for a while or you live in the Southern Hemisphere, warm up with some of these vibrant and eclectic festivities.
Speaking of vibrant festivities, what better way to recognize spring than with the Holi Festival? Although it’s celebrated on the first full moon of March and not necessarily during the Vernal Equinox, this colorful and artistic festival is a notable spring celebration that signifies the end of winter gloom. One of the legends behind this festival is that people light bonfires for the triumph of good over evil and the ash from the bonfires is seen as protection from evil. During this day, people throw colored water and powder on each other and there are plenty of treats to enjoy after you’ve been covered in a colorful spectacle.
Central Asia and the Middle East
Celebrated by the Zoroastrians in central Asia and the Middle East, Nowruz is also the beginning of the Iranian New Year. Originally observed in honor of the ruler of Persia in the 5th century, Nowruz represented agricultural growth. Because of this recognition, two weeks before Nowruz, families plant seeds and place the sprouted plants on a table with a mirror, Zoroastrian text, an incense burner, live goldfish, and decorated boiled eggs. During this time, people also clean their homes, purchase new clothes, visit family and friends, and enjoy the spring meal, Haft seen. On the thirteenth day, people picnic outside with families, to renounce bad luck traditionally associated with the number 13.
The traditional celebration, Las Fallas, honors St. Joseph in Valencia, Spain. During this time there are giant paper mache puppets (fallas) that are made months in advance and can be very costly. Fallas represent satires of politics and social customs and are on display around the city. Although I’m not one for fireworks, you might love this celebration because it starts with a spectacular firework show on March 1st at 2 pm. The fireworks continue every day at the same time until March 19th. The streets are also filled with music, decorations, parades, and the aroma of paella (YUM!). The final day, a large bonfire is made and the fireworks and fallas are set on fire to conclude the celebrations.
While I don’t plan on setting anything on fire or throwing colorful water and powder on anyone for the first day of spring, I’ve enjoyed finding the different ways cultures welcome the new season. I may still be wondering when unexpected snow storms arrive, but it doesn’t deter from enjoying what’s around the corner. And, no matter what, I’ll be fine saying “Goodbye” to winter, even if it takes longer than I anticipate.
What other celebrations do you know of that welcome spring?
“5 Spring Celebrations Around the World.” The Culture-ist, May 1, 2014.
“Spring Equinox Celebrations Around the World.” United Planet Blog, April 1, 2013.
“Spring Festivals Around the World.” TCS World Travel, March 6.