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Unique Spring Traditions and Festivals around the World

Spring is an optimistic season of new beginnings and new life. With the return of warm sunshine, budding flowers and singing birds, it seems as if the earth itself is celebrating. People celebrate around the world with different and unique festivals and traditions. Some date back thousands of years and others are relatively new. From flower festivals to playful water fights and exploding snowmen, here are a handful of our favorite spring celebrations from around the world.

Hanami – Japan

From the Far East, cherry blossom festivals are also a popular rite of spring. In Japan, such celebrations are known as “Hanami.” Hanami is a relaxed time of picnicking or having outdoor parties beneath the blooming cherry trees.

Bloemencorso Bollenstreek – The Netherlands

South Holland hosts a 12-hour-long parade that travels from Noordwijk to Haarlem. Floats with different shapes are constructed out of flowers form a parade every spring.

One of the region's most anticipated spring events, the Flower Parade of the Bollenstreek is the only parade constructed of bulb flowers like hyacinths, tulips, and daffodils.

Sechseläuten – Zurich, Switzerland

Some people really love spring; others are just happy the long winter is over.

In a blunt celebration of winter's end, the Swiss use a fiery show to ring in the new season. The residents celebrate by burning a giant snowman made from cloth and stuffed with fireworks.

In modern times, the rate at which the snowman burns is seen as a predictor of summer weather. The faster the fire reaches the head of the snowman, the better the conditions are expected to be.

Holi – India

Holi is a Hindu festival known as the festival of colors—and for good reason. 

In a celebration of the triumph of good over bad, the colorful Holi tradition is now a cultural experience that has radiated to other parts of the world. 

The celebration involves throwing colored powders or colored water on anyone and everyone until the festival attendees look like human tie-dyes or walking rainbows. The carefree revelry offers a chance to connect with other human beings and let go of any past hardships.

Songkran – Chiang Mai, Thailand

The Songkran festival is basically a city-wide water fight. Any way of throwing water is allowed: buckets, water guns, fire trucks or even elephants douse passers-by.

The water tradition is related to spring cleaning and the fresh start of a new year, with the water originally used to cleanse Buddha statues and then poured on family members for good luck. This evolved into the fun free-for-all enjoyed today.

Falles – Spain

The population Valencia, Spain, triples in size during the annual Fallas (or Falles) festival every March. Three million people turn up for a week of fiery, satirical entertainment.

Festival-goers often wear medieval clothing for the nonstop street party to welcome the spring season.

Semana Santa – Antigua, Guatemala

Easter week, or “Semana Santa” in Spanish, is celebrated each spring in many different ways. The festival includes elaborate parades with ornamental costumes and floats. The huge, wooden floats are carried by lots of hands, as they can weigh thousands of pounds each.

The parade routes are covered with gorgeous and heartwarming carpets made from flowers and other plant materials.

Marzanna – Poland

Marzanna (in Polish) is associated with seasonal rites based on the idea of death and rebirth of nature, which in this sense, indicates the change of seasons.

In modern times, the Marzanna is an occasion to have fun and celebrate the beginning of spring. The tradition is usually celebrated around the spring equinox, on which people participate in the celebrations alongside local folklore groups and other residents. The participants sing traditional songs and throw effigies of Marzanna into the water.

This spring, join in the fun! Add these spring celebrations to your bucket list, or just find and frequent the local festivals near your home. It’s a great way to shake off the winter doldrums and enjoy each year to the fullest.