Spring Traditions and Celebrations From Around the World

For those of us in the United States, we mark the long-anticipated arrival of spring with our customary—if somewhat unorthodox—rituals: March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day, Opening Day of baseball season and Spring Break, to name a few. Other parts of the world have their own annual spring traditions to celebrate the end of winter. We thought we’d share some of them with you.

Stonehenge image
Stonehenge at Dawn

Spring Equinox at Teotihuacán and Stonehenge
To welcome the first day of spring, thousands of people annually visit one of the ancient pyramids in Teotihuacán, Mexico or the Stonehenge monument in Wiltshire, England. In Mexico crowds climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun to absorb the sun’s energy. At Stonehenge they arrive before dawn to witness the first rays of sunlight, officially signaling the start of spring.
Songkran Water Festival
In Thailand, the Songkran Water Festival ushers in their New Year, shortly after the Spring Equinox. Songkran, a Sanskrit word for “astrological passage,” meaning transformation or change, is celebrated in part by splashing water on one another.
Residents of the Bosnian city of Zenica celebrate spring with Cimburijada—the Festival of Scrambled Eggs. Early-risers gather near the Bosna River to feast on huge bowls of eggs with family, friends and visitors.
Hindus in northern India welcome spring in a uniquely colorful way: they throw powdered colors on each other. The Holi festival—also known as the festival of colors—celebrates the vibrant signs of new life along with events from Hindu mythology.
For many cultures in parts of Asia and the Middle East, the first day of spring also marks the start of the New Year, called Nowruz, or “New Day” from ancient Persia. Events of the day include spring cleaning, purchasing new clothes to go with the New Year, visiting friends and family, picnics and gift-giving.
Semana Santa
Spain and Mexico are among the largely Catholic countries that celebrate Semana Santa, or Holy Week. For several days, people participate in colorful processions, parades, Masses, fireworks and elaborate ceremonies, many dating back to the Middle Ages.

Walpurgisnacht, the German term for Walpurgis Night, is observed in different variations across Europe in the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland and Estonia. The name relates to Saint Walpurga, an eighth-century English missionary. Some residents still carry on the annual customs of dancing around huge bonfires or playing pranks on friends and neighbors.

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