Seven spring festivals around the world
Across many different countries and cultures, people have been celebrating the arrival of spring for thousands of years.
Here are some spring festivals celebrated around the world! If your culture has a special celebration at this time of year, leave us a comment and tell us all about it!
1. Holi, India
This Hindu festival is celebrated in India and Nepal, and is also known as the ‘Festival of Colors’.
It is a community celebration, where people dance to music, smear each other with colored powder and throw balloons with colored water inside. They also exchange special dishes such as gujiya (dumplings), mathri (cookies) and dahi bhalla (lentil fritters).
In some regions, people throw flowers instead of coloured powder. Either way, this colorful festival is the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of spring!
2. Sakura Matsuri, Japan
Cherry blossom festivals are celebrated across Japan. People gather in parks and outdoor spaces to admire the cherry trees in blossom and celebrate the arrival of spring.
Lots of people have picnics under the trees, eating traditional Japanese foods in bento boxes. Dishes might include makizushi (sushi rolls), tamagoyaki (a type of Japanese omelet), or kamaboko (pink and white fishcakes). For dessert, sakura mochi is traditional; a rice cake filled with red bean paste and wrapped in a cherry leaf. People also enjoy strawberries as a seasonal treat.
There are often parades, live music and other cultural events to celebrate the arrival of the cherry blossoms.
3. Songkran, Thailand
Celebrated from the 13th to the 16th of April every year, Songkran is Thai New Year, marking the beginning of the Thai calendar.
It is a time for family reunions and temple visits. People visit older family members to receive blessings and pour scented water over Buddha statues as a mark of respect. People eat traditional Thai dishes like tom yum soup, pad thai and mango rice.
Another important tradition is having water fights! Throwing water at one another is a way for people to celebrate and have fun, while at the same time symbolizing renewal.
4. Nowruz, Central Asia
This festival usually takes place on the spring equinox and is celebrated by millions of people in Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. People gather together in their family homes or visit friends to share celebratory meals.
It’s common to set up haftsin tables with seven things that begin with the persian letter “s”. Garlic, apples, vinegar, coins and mirrors are commonly included, and families make an effort to create the most beautiful display they can.
Another common tradition is to clean the house from top to bottom in preparation for Nowruz. There’s even an English expression for this kind of enormous clean – spring cleaning!
During Nowruz celebrations, people eat, dance, sing and let off fireworks. It’s also customary for adults to give money to children for good luck!
5. Easter, worldwide
Easter is one of the most celebrated spring festivals in countries all over the world wherever there are Christian communities. There are lots of different traditions related to Easter, depending on which country you are in.
Most people who celebrate Easter will have a meal with their family or friends, but the traditional food will vary from country to country, though many cultures have a tradition of eating lamb.
In the UK and US, people usually celebrate Easter by holding Easter egg hunts, where children look for hidden chocolate eggs. They exchange flowers and cards, and egg decorating is a common activity.
In majority Catholic countries, Easter is a much bigger affair, with more public celebrations. There are religious parades and events to celebrate Easter. Often, statues are dressed and carried in processions by people wearing ceremonial clothes.
6. Passover, worldwide
Passover is a week-long religious festival that is celebrated by Jewish communities across the world. It is the commemoration of the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery. On the first night of Passover, Jewish families celebrate with a special meal called the seder.
There are lots of rituals connected with the seder. There is a seder plate with symbolic foods like bones, eggs, horseradish, celery and charoset, a type of sweet paste made of fruit and nuts. Only unleavened bread and bitter herbs can be eaten, and the youngest child present asks four standard questions to which there are four prepared answers which everyone at the table recites in unison.
There is also a long tradition of giving to charity associated with Passover. Lots of Jewish communities will organize charity drives around the time of Passover.
7. May Day, Europe
This ancient European festival celebrates the beginning of summer. It is traditional to pick flowers and branches to decorate your home, make flower garlands to wear, and set up a Maypole which people dance around.
There are different customs in different European countries related to May Day. For example, in France it is customary to give your loved ones a lily of the valley. In Finland, there is a carnival-style festival in towns and cities. On the other hand, in Germany, lots of people celebrate with bonfires the night before. Moreover, in Greece, people create wreaths of leaves and flowers to hang on their doors until the end of June.
In 1889, the 1st of May was declared International Workers Day, so there are often marches and rallies around the world to celebrate. Over 60 countries take part in May Day celebrations.
Practice your English with our Spring festivals celebration quiz
Here’s a quiz, testing you on the vocabulary in this article. If you’d like to practice more vocabulary quizzes, check out our posts on St. Patrick’s Day and Carnival.
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