Spring is a season of renewal and new beginnings, and people around the world celebrate the arrival of spring with a variety of festivals and events. Many spring festivals have ancient origins and are deeply rooted in local culture and traditions. These festivals often feature colorful parades, music and dance performances, traditional foods, and other cultural activities.
(March 1st to 19th, 2024) Las Fallas is an annual festival celebrated in the city of Valencia, Spain. It is held in mid-March and is celebrated every day from March 1st to 19th, with the five main days from the 15th to the 19th. Las Fallas is considered one of Spain’s most significant cultural events and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage event in 2016.
The festival is known for its giant, colorful sculptures made of paper-mâché, cardboard, and wood, which can be found throughout the city. The sculptures are often satirical or political and can reach heights of over 30 feet. The festival also features parades, fireworks, and the burning of sculptures on the final night, which is known as “La Crema.”
(March 25th, 2024) Celebrated in India and Nepal, Holi is a Hindu festival of colors. It usually occurs in late February or early March and marks the arrival of spring. During Holi, participants throw brightly colored powders and water at each other, dance, and eat traditional sweets.
The colors of Holi in India are symbolic and carry deep meaning. Red represents love and fertility, yellow symbolizes purity and purification, blue is associated with the Hindu god Krishna and the sky, green signifies new beginnings, pink is a color of happiness and love, while purple is associated with power and ambition.
(March 25th to 27th, 2024) Hola Mohalla is a festival celebrated by the Sikh community in India. It takes place annually in the month of March, usually a day after the Hindu festival of Holi. The festival was established in the late 17th century by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, as a way to demonstrate martial skills and to instill courage and confidence in his followers.
During the festival, Sikh men and women gather in Anandpur Sahib, a holy city in the state of Punjab, to perform military exercises and mock battles. The festival also features processions, kirtans (devotional songs), and poetry recitals. The main attraction of the festival is the Nihang Sikhs, who dress in traditional blue robes and turbans and perform daring feats such as horse riding, sword fighting, and acrobatics.
(March 19th, 2024) The Spring Equinox Festival in Mexico is a celebration of the changing seasons and spring’s arrival. It takes place in the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacán and around the country. The festival is held on the day of the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere.
Thousands of people gather to participate in traditional ceremonies, rituals, and dances during the festival. The festival is a time to honor the natural world, reconnect with the earth and the elements, and celebrate the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
Cherry Blossom Festival
(March 20th to April 14th, 2024) The National Cherry Blossom Festival, an annual event held in Washington, D.C., celebrates the blooming of the city’s cherry blossom trees. The festival usually takes place in late March or early April, attracting millions of visitors from around the world. The cherry blossom trees were a gift from Japan in 1912 as a symbol of friendship, and they have become an iconic symbol of Washington, D.C.
The festival features a range of cultural events, including a parade, fireworks, Japanese music and dance performances, and food and drink vendors. The cherry blossom trees also provide a stunning backdrop for picnics, walks, and other outdoor activities.
(March 19th, 2024) Cimburijada, the “Festival of Scrambled Eggs,” is a traditional Bosnian festival that takes place every year on the first day of spring. The festival is centered around a dish called cimbur, made by cooking eggs, onions, and spices in a large pan over an open fire. The festival is celebrated across Bosnia, but it is particularly popular in Konjic, where thousands gather each year to enjoy the food, music, and dancing.
The origins of Cimburijada are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated in the Ottoman era when soldiers would cook the dish in large pans while out in the field. Today, the festival is seen as a celebration of spring and a way to bring people together to enjoy good food and company.
(March 19th, 2024) Nowruz is the Persian New Year, celebrated in Iran and other countries that follow the Persian calendar on the first day of spring. The name Nowruz means “new day,” and the holiday is believed to have been celebrated for over 3,000 years. The festival typically lasts for 13 days and is marked by rituals and traditions, including cleaning homes, lighting bonfires, and setting a special table known as the haft-sin.
The haft-sin includes seven items, each starting with the Persian letter “sin,” which symbolizes good luck and prosperity. These items typically include sprouts, apples, garlic, vinegar, coins, and a mirror. Nowruz is a time for families to come together and celebrate, and many people also visit friends and relatives during the holiday.
(March 24th – 30th, 2024) Semana Santa, also known as “Holy Week” in Spain, is one of the most important religious celebrations in the country. It is celebrated during the week leading up to Easter Sunday and is marked by processions and ceremonies in cities and towns across Spain.
In addition to the processions, there are also special foods that are eaten during Semana Santa, such as torrijas, a type of French toast made with milk and honey, and potaje de vigilia, a lentil stew made with cod. Semana Santa is a time of reflection and penance for many Spaniards, and some people participate in the processions as an act of devotion or to fulfill a promise to God.
(April 22nd to 30th, 2024) Passover is a major Jewish festival that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. The holiday lasts for seven or eight days and is celebrated in the spring. Passover is typically celebrated with a special meal called a Seder, which includes reading from the Haggadah about the story of the Exodus. Passover is an important religious holiday in Israel, and it is also widely observed by Jewish communities around the world.
White House Easter Egg Roll
(April 1st, 2024) The White House Easter Egg Roll, although not a festival, is an annual event held on the White House South Lawn in Washington D.C., traditionally on the Monday following Easter Sunday. The event dates back to 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes opened the White House grounds to local children for egg rolling on Easter Monday.
Today, the event features a range of activities for children, including egg rolling, games, storytelling, and live entertainment. Each year, the White House selects a unique commemorative egg that is given to children who participate in the event. The egg roll is typically attended by thousands of children and their families from all over the country, and the President and First Lady often participate in the festivities.
(April 13th to 15th, 2024) Songkran is a traditional Thai festival that marks the Thai New Year and is celebrated annually from April 13th to April 15th. The festival has its roots in Buddhism and is also known as the Water Festival. During Songkran, people clean their houses, visit temples, and pay respect to their elders and ancestors.
Water is a key element of the festival, with people splashing water on each other as a symbol of cleansing, purification, and renewal. Songkran is also known for its lively street parties and parades, where people dance and play traditional games. The festival is an important part of Thai culture, and its message of renewal and unity resonates throughout the country.
(April 15th, 2024) Sechseläuten is an annual spring festival that takes place in Zurich, Switzerland, typically on the third Monday of April. The festival has evolved into a traditional festival that marks the end of winter and the start of spring.
The highlight of Sechseläuten is the burning of the “Böögg,” a large snowman-like effigy that is filled with explosives and set on fire. The time it takes for the Böögg’s head to explode is believed to predict the weather for the coming summer, with a quick explosion indicating a warm and sunny season.
(April 30th to May 1st, 2024) Walpurgis Night, also known as May Eve, is an ancient festival that is celebrated on the night of April 30th or May 1st. The festival is named after Saint Walpurga, an 8th-century abbess who was known for her healing powers. Walpurgis Night is traditionally associated with the arrival of spring and the revival of nature, and it is celebrated with bonfires, music, dancing, and feasting.
The festival is celebrated throughout Central and Northern Europe. In Germany, Walpurgis Night is celebrated with bonfires and traditional Maypole dancing, while in Sweden, it is a national holiday that is celebrated with feasting and dancing around the bonfire.
Canadian Tulip Festival
(May 10th to 20th, 2024) The Canadian Tulip Festival is an annual event held in Ottawa, Canada, to celebrate the gift of tulips from the Dutch to the Canadians after WWII. The festival features over a million tulips in various colors and patterns planted across different locations in the city, including parks, gardens, and public spaces. There is also live music, cultural performances, art exhibits, and food and drink vendors. The Canadian Tulip Festival symbolizes friendship and gratitude between Canada and the Netherlands and serves as a reminder of the importance of international cooperation and peace.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling
(May 27th, 2024) Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester, England. The event involves the rolling of a 9-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese down a steep hill, with competitors running after it. The first person to cross the finish line will win the cheese.
The origins of the event are unclear, but it is believed to be linked to a ritual that welcomes spring or encourages crop growth. The event has been held since the 1800s and has become an important cultural tradition in Gloucester. Despite safety concerns and attempts to ban the event in the past, it continues to be held every year.
Featured Photo Credit: [@dimaberkut/DepositPhotos]
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers with trip ideas, travel guides, and news. She travels to experience, eat, explore, and escape! Alex’s mission is to help you find the perfect vacation destination.