Spring is almost here! If you’ve had to stick it out through the frigid winter, take heart; The End is Near.
In order to help get us all in the spring rhythm, here are some interesting springtime celebrations from around the world.
March 9, 2016 – Bali, Indonesia
This is a celebration to bring in the Balinese New Year. The day prior, Balinese families perform a ritual procession in which torches are carried to burn off evil spirits. The day of Nyepi is also known as the Bali Day of Silence. Locals participate by staying home and using the day for self-reflection. There is to be no fire (or lights), no working, no traveling and no entertainment. Some even choose to forego speaking and eating for the day. The only people on the streets are the Balinese security guards, who work to ensure that all restrictions are being followed.
March 15, 2016 – Valencia, Spain
This fun festival is celebrated by creating large puppets out of paper mache, cardboard, and wood and then setting them on fire. The puppets are typically used to poke fun at current events or popular figures in Spanish culture. Some neighborhoods spend tens of thousands of dollars, and entire years constructing their puppet for Las Fallas. The puppets are displayed throughout the city, before being stuffed with fireworks. As the crowds begin to chant with excitement, the dolls are lit on fire precisely at midnight. Each year, the public votes on one puppet that will become the ninot indultat, or the “Pardoned Puppet” that will be spared from a firey death and instead, placed in a museum with other puppets.
ST. PATRICK’S FESTIVAL
March 17-20, 2016 – Dublin, Ireland
While celebrations of the day itself have been around for centuries, the government of Ireland only established an official festival in 1995. The festival aims to celebrate what it means to be Irish, to instill a sense of energy and innovation throughout Ireland, and to help create a more accurate image of Ireland. Events include funfairs, city tours, parades, music, and of course…beer.
March 21, 2016 – Tehran, Iran
This day serves to ring in the Persian New Year and the season of Spring. This festival is very interesting because it includes many ancient customs and is not exclusive to one religious group. On the day known as “Red Wednesday”, families construct large bonfires. Each member of the family the jumps over the fire, with the intention of releasing his or her problems into the fire and receiving warmth and energy in return. This is followed by consuming fruits and nuts and celebrating the family. The celebration continues until the fire dies out. At this point, the ashes symbolize the bad luck of the previous year, and are taken to a field to be buried. Following “Red Wednesday”, on the thirteenth day of the festival is Sizda Bedar. This is a day in which families spend time outdoors, celebrating nature.
March 23, 2016 – New Delhi, India
Known as the “Festival of Colors”, Holi serves to signify the triumph of good over evil. It is also associated with saying farewell to winter and bringing in the spring harvest. The festival is celebrated by throwing water and various colored powders, amidst loud music, in celebration of the deities Radha and Krishna. Mothers also light fires in remembrance of the good vs evil story surrounding Holi, and ask for blessings from the God of fire.
April 13, 2016 – Bangkok, Thailand
This festival originally started for Thai people to splash their family members and elders with water in order to bring them good fortune, and to pay homage to Buddha. However, in modern days, this festival has turned into a gigantic water fight. Young people bearing buckets of water, hoses, and water guns, are let loose among the streets to celebrate the New Year. Meanwhile, some do choose to celebrate in a more reserved fashion, visiting temples and pouring water over Buddha statues to wash away the bad luck of the previous year.
April 30, 2016 – Stockholm, Sweden
This European celebration originated in Germany, where people would light large fires to scare off witches. It was believed that the witches gathered on Mt. Brocken to recount the past years’ evil deeds, and cause what is known now as the Brocken spectre. Today, the custom of lighting bonfires is still largely practiced, though more to celebrate the coming of spring, rather than warding off witches. University students use the day to celebrate the ending of a school term, and communities come together for parties, barbecues, and drinking.
Did you enjoy this post? You many also enjoy reading about 11 Summer Celebrations Around The World!