Winter might be bleak, but spring is always just around the corner to infuse the world with some much-needed color. No matter where you are on this irregularly-shaped ellipsoid called Earth, humans have created fun ways to celebrate life’s renewal. Some springtime festivals are linked to the place where they originated. 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 some color to the world, perhaps none do it better than those in India at the annual Holi festival. Holi is quite literally the festival of colors, where people throw brightly saturated herbal powders in clouds throughout the streets. Smells of incense and marketplace dumplings float through the air as cheers and laughter ricochet with the flying colors. The night before Holi, a bonfire is lit to celebrate good’s triumph over evil.
Although Holi was originally a Hindu tradition, it is now celebrated in many places around the world. However, you’ll still want to schedule a flight to India to get the authentic experience. It’s a festival that’s truly unlike any other, uniquely Indian, and is a beautiful sight to behold.
2. Songkran — Chiang Mai, Thailand, April 13-15
After all that color-fun, you might need a bit of a rinse. Thankfully, Songkran in Thailand’s got you covered if you’re willing to wait a few weeks. Otherwise, maybe take a shower. Songkran is a massive water fight to celebrate the new year in Thailand.
Every year in April, Chiang Mai becomes a water war-zone, with people of all ages carrying around squirt guns, water balloons, and homemade water-flinging catapults. Thailand can be incredibly hot and humid in April (around 95 degrees Fahrenheit), so the chilled water fight is a welcome relief. Just make sure you’re prepared if you plan on visiting Chiang Mai in mid-April.
3. Hanami — Japan, Spring
Perhaps it’s because life is fleeting that it’s 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 manner, Hanami is a spring festival throughout Japan where people picnic and enjoy the transient beauty of the cherry blossoms.
The sakura cherry blossom trees of Japan are famously beautiful, but short-lived. Rather than hold onto the moment in futility, Hanami picnickers simply enjoy the beauty while they can. At Hanami, you can hear clinks of tea sets paired with delicious Japanese sweets as soft pink and white petals flutter lazily in the breeze. Japan is a thin but long country where spring rolls down from north to south. If you’re going to try and catch the sakura blooms in their delicately short window of time, make sure you schedule 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. Over six million flowers transform the landscape, dotting it with so much color it rivals Holi. So pack your clogs and book a trip to Amsterdam for — wait, where is this again? Michigan? Huh.
So pack your clogs and book a trip to Holland, Michigan, USA. Like the sakura of Japan, tulip blooms are also rather short-lived compared to other plants. Tulip Time is a great option to get some springtime color, especially if traveling internationally just isn’t in the cards this spring. As an added bonus, you’ll get to tell everyone you got 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, then consider heading over to Bosnia on the 21 of March. All over the country, Bosnians celebrate the advent of spring with a scrambled egg festival. Yes, scrambled egg connoisseurs have finally found their time to shine.
Traditionally, Bosnians will make their way to a nearby river to break their morning fast. You’ll hear the scraping of cast iron pans and smell the wafting 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 make 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 bit rowdier, head on over 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 smokey. Patrons build puppets or dolls, sometimes massive, called ninots that are often bawdy and satirical in nature. These effigies are paraded around through street parties before being engulfed in roaring flames at night.
Party-goers dress in colorful attire, dancing and drinking throughout the festival. Though the whole festival takes place from the beginning of March, the main events are held over five days, from the 14-19. You can enjoy savory Spanish tortilla and drink cups of delicious sweet melted chocolate.
7. Rio Carnival — Brazil, February 17-22
Perhaps Falles seems like child’s play to you. A great festival, to be sure, but you’re looking for something even bigger and louder. Well, when it comes to festivals, few are bigger or louder than the Rio Carnival in Brazil. Carnival is a Christian-tinted festival with Pagan roots held every year before Lent. It is also quite literally named “The biggest show on Earth.”
While there are Carnivals all over the world, the Carnival in Rio steals the show. Over two million people flood the streets of Rio de Janeiro to dance, sing, and drink for almost a week. Stupendous floats helmed by dancers of various Samba schools roll in procession at massive events. The Samba dancers are dressed ornately and expressively, putting on shows they train all year for. The explosive music, cheers, and vibrant atmosphere are unique and unforgettable. That is, of course, unless you drink too much while you’re there.
8. Wildflower Blooms — California, Spring
California’s environment gets lots of press for its notorious wildfires and increasingly dry deserts. However, there is a good period of 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 carpet the hills in various spectacular colors, stretching for miles on end.
Looking at the wildflower tapestries, lupines, daisies, and the aptly-named Indian paintbrush stretch across your vision in pleasing color. The smells of spring permeate the air in the gentle weather of California spring. While the blooms don’t have a particular festival associated with them, they offer 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 warmth and sunlight can take a real toll on your mental health. This is nothing new, however — people have been enduring winter for countless generations. The return of spring has been celebrated and revered throughout history by people all over the world.
Many cultures have created festivals to mark the changing of the seasons, often based around natural phenomena, like flower blooms. Some of these events and festivals can be enjoyed around the world, but some are inherently 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.
[Related: Prepare for Spring with Your Online Calendar]
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Alesia Kozik; Pexels; Thank you!