After the long and dreary season of winter, is it any wonder that people are ready to party? For years and years, different cultures have found different ways to mark the long-awaited arrival of spring. From street shenanigans to picnics, here are a few of the most well-known and lively spring festivals across the globe.
Holi is known as the “festival of color” and takes place all across India. It celebrates the triumph of good over evil and is famously observed with a giant color fight! Here, everyone takes to the streets and playfully tosses colored powder at one another. No man, woman, or child is spared from the merriment.
Observed in Japan, “Hanami” means “flower viewing”. It refers to the time of year in Japan when everyone gathers to admire the country’s blossoming cherry trees. During hanami, friends and families take time off, picnic under the blossoms, and soak up the flowers’ fleeting beauty.
Songkran Water Festival
Songkran is part of the Thai New Year. Everyone celebrates by partaking in a huge water fight, complete with water pistols, buckets, and more! The rowdy occasion derives from a more ancient tradition: the offering of water to images of Buddha. Here, water represents the cleansing of evil and the washing away of bad luck.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling And Wake
Every year in the town of Brockworth, Gloucestershire, a 9-pound wheel of Double Gloucester Cheese is sent rolling down a hill. Competitors race after it, and the first to make it over the finish line wins the cheese! Though a local event, people from all around the world gather to participate. The race is said to come from the pagan custom of rolling burning brushwood down the hill to signify the birth of the New Year.
Every year the city of Valencia, Spain celebrates Las Fallas in honor of San José, the patron saint of carpenters. The occasion is marked with parades, music, and the burning of large cardboard monuments. These monuments, known as ninots, can be grand in scale and often contain political or satirical themes.