As spring approaches, many sit on the edge of their seat for the warm weather, blooming bright nature, and the start of the annual festivities. During these three months of the year, millions of people celebrate what the season brings and has to offer. Below are five unique spring traditions that are a perfect way to start the new season!
Hanami (Cherry Blossom Festival), Japan
Anticipation for the springtime cannot be contained for many who live in Japan. As spring arrives the tradition of Hanami comes with it, bringing peace and community spirit throughout the island. During this time people set up picnics underneath the trees and enjoy a day in the shaded sun. These beautifully bright trees start to bloom at the end of March welcoming April in a festive way.
Japan is a hugely popular travel destination during cherry blossom season. The Japanese have appreciated cherry blossoms from as early as the eighth century when imperial courtiers enjoyed picnics and poetry sessions beneath the sakura (cherry blossoms).
This tradition can also be found in the U.S., more specifically the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. The festivities start in the middle of March when the flowers begin to bloom and last up to four weeks! Along with an opening ceremony to kick-start the celebration, there are also tents set up along the water where you can capture scenic photos, see local artwork, and grab a bite to eat.
Songkran (Water Festival and New Year), Thailand
April 13 marks the start of the celebration, and the festivities normally continue for two to four days after. To celebrate the New Year, a public water fight takes place in the middle of the streets. Friends, neighbors, and strangers enjoy a day of liquid fun enjoying their last day of the year. The use of water is a symbol of purification and the act of cleansing before the new year. Along with the water festival, many go to temples and give offerings as a tradition before the New Year begins. Travel to Thailand for a unique glimpse of their culture.
Baba Marta Day (Martinitsa), Bulgaria
A folklore is told that an old lady’s attitude changes as much as the weather in March. Because of this, the first day of March is named in her honor where the people of Bulgaria adorn themselves in the traditional red and white colors. The red is to represent blood and life while the white symbolizes purity.
In preparation, they make martinitsi’s or bracelets using the same colors. These bracelets are tied to fruit trees to give them longevity and a prosperous season. Pizho and Penda wooden dolls (shown below) are also made and tied to trees holding the same meaning. Spring traditions don’t get any lovelier than this and you have to travel to Bulgaria to see for yourself.
Starting on the night of the full moon, this Hindu celebration welcomes the arrival of spring. That night, the festivities start with Holika Dhan where families burn an effigy in tradition and honor. In the morning, Rangwali Holi starts where residents take to the streets with colored powder and water for a messy day of festivities.
After a day of running around in joyous fun, a dinner is made to calm down the excitement and end the day of a happy note. India is the ultimate travel destination for these unique festivities.
Vernal Equinox, Mexico
Many travel lovers gather at the Kulkulkan temple at Chichen Itza to watch the special ‘light show’ the equinox creates. The bi-annual occurrence bends the sun’s light to make it look like a snake slithering down the side. Each year thousands of locals and travel lovers gather at this site to watch the unique phenomena. The five-hour event is filled with traditional food and performances by local bands and artists. It is a day to spend with friends and family while celebrating the new season.
Another popular location to see the spring/ vernal equinox is the Machu Picchu, Peru. Many make their way up the mountain to reach the Intihuatana Stone created by the Inca’s to be a solar clock. During the 2 equinoxes, however, the shadow disappears for a brief second before reappearing. This occurrence is because of how the clock was designed, letting the people in the past know that it was the start of the new season.
We hope you get a chance to travel to these gorgeous countries to soak in their spring traditions.