by Anis Salvesen of Tripping.com
Spring is here, and the world is ready to celebrate. From festivals featuring massive fires to festivals involving countless liters of water, here are some favorite spring celebrations around the world.
Every year, the people of the Spanish city of Valencia celebrate Las Fallas, a five day festival which features parades, fireworks, paella contests, and bullfights. Giant papier mache figures known as ninots are displayed around the city. The festival culminates in the burning of the figures, which are filled with fireworks and put on quite the captivating ending to a week of celebration. The main celebration takes place from March 15th to March 19th.
Nowruz is often referred to as the “Persian New Year.” The name means “New Day” and marks both the first day of spring and the commencement of the new year in the Iranian calendar. It has a long, rich 3,000 year history and is also celebrated in parts of South Asia, Central Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea, Caucasus and parts of the Balkans. It is typically celebrated on March 21st every year.
St. Patrick’s Day
Though it’s only been an official public holiday in Ireland since 1903, St. Patrick’s Day is now celebrated in most corners of the globe. A celebration of Irish culture, it’s typically marked by parades, parties and the wearing of the color green.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Kevin Frayer
Holi is the Hindu spring festival of colors. In most areas it lasts two days. On the eve of the festival, bonfires are lit and prayers are uttered. The main day is celebrated with street parties and people throw pigment powder and water. Holi is celebrated on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna. In 2013, Holi will be on Wednesday, March 27th.
Songkran Water Festival
Celebrated throughout Thailand (and other parts of Southeast Asia), the Songkran Water Festival in Chiang Mai is the most famous. Songkran runs from April 12th to April 15th. First everyone tosses old items out of their homes and burns them to avoid bad fortune. Then offerings are made to Buddha statues, which are washed with perfumed water and paraded through the streets. Everyone who ventures out is soaked by fellow revelers who use everything from buckets to water guns to soak anyone they encounter.
Which spring festival is your favorite?
Anis Salvesen is an avid traveler, polyglot and editor of the Tripping blog. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys outdoor activities, trying new restaurants and exploring the city. If you’re headed to San Francisco, you can connect with her and other locals via Tripping’s worldwide community of travelers and locals.