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Spring Around the World

Written By Pranavi Kondam Edited By Francesca-Lauren Seguin


Here in the Northeastern United States, spring is usually marked by blooming flowers, rainy days and moderate weather. Spring varies around the world and there are many different customs and traditions that go along with the new season. Below are just a couple of the ways people around the world bring in Spring!


Asia

Thailand: Songkran Water Festival 

April might mean perfect spring weather in the United States but in Thailand, April is one of the hottest months. The Songkran Water Festival is celebrated annually at the start of the Thai New Year. To celebrate, people all over Thailand throw water at each other, with everything from buckets to water guns! The water symbolizes cleaning off the old year and starting with a clean slate for the new year. 


Iran: Nowruz 

Nowruz is known as the Persian New Year and is also celebrated outside of Iran! In Persian, Nowruz means New Day and similar to Easter in the US, it celebrates rebirth and nature. Typically, a haftseen (a type of ceremonial table) is prepared and features items beginning with the letter s (seen in Persian), like seeb (apple), samanu (sweet pudding), and sekeh (coins). However, what is on a haftseen usually varies from family to family. 


Europe

Bosnia: Cimburijada 

Cimburijada is known as “the festival of scrambled eggs”. In Bosnia, similar to other parts of the world, eggs symbolize rebirth and new life. Cimburijada is celebrated in the Bosnian town of Zenica on the first day of spring near the Bosnian river. Thousands of eggs are used to make a communal breakfast of scrambled eggs which is shared by the town. Festivities usually start at dawn and the day is celebrated with friends and family. 


Netherlands: Flower Parade of the Bollenstreek 

The Netherlands are known for their beautiful spring tulips. Visitors from around the world flock to Amsterdam and Holland to see these blooms. Every year, around April, giant floats are constructed using these flowers and they’re used in the Flower Parade of the Bollenstreek. These floats travel a route across the Netherlands, allowing visitors across the country to participate in the parade. 


North America

USA: Easter 

In the United States, Easter is a popular spring tradition that many families partake in. Easter marks the end of the Catholic Holy Week and celebrations typically begin with a visit to the church. The Easter bunny is a common symbol as well as colorful Easter eggs that American children usually help to decorate, along with making and receiving Easter baskets that are usually filled with sweet treats. Another common tradition is Easter egg hunting, where children try to find hidden Easter eggs in a backyard or garden. 


Mexico: Spring Equinox in Teotihuacán and Chichen Itza

Spring is marked by the Spring Equinox: when the sun is directly overhead and day and night are exactly the same amounts of time. In Mexico, on the day of the equinox, many climb the steps of Chichen Itza or Teotihuacán dressed in all white. The white clothing is believed to soak up good energy and bring good luck. As people climb the stairs, the day is celebrated with music and dancing. 


South America

Latin America: Semana Santa 

Semana Santa is celebrated throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Translated from Spanish, Semana Santa means Holy Week and is a traditionally Catholic celebration. Each country has its own traditions and festivities differ by region. In Puerto Rico, some hit the beach to celebrate Easter. In Mexico City, there are large scale reenactments of the Passion of Christ, which is the week of crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus depicted in the Bible. In Brazil, Guatemala, and many other countries, the streets are transformed with large scale artworks handcrafted by its residents using colored sawdust. These sawdust murals are the base for the Easter processions that follow their creation. 


Australia

Australia: A twist on Easter 

Australia and the United States both celebrate Easter, but Australia has its own unique twist. While in the United States the Easter bunny is synonymous with the holiday itself, Australia celebrates using a bilby! A bilby is a marsupial that is similar to a rabbit (imagine a bunny with a longer snout) and for a while, bilby numbers were rapidly declining. In hopes of saving them, Australian conservationists introduced the idea of the Easter Bilby in 1991, and now, both the number of actual bilbies and chocolate Easter bilbies are up!





Africa

Egypt: Sham el Nessim 

While some spring celebrations are religious and might not be celebrated by everyone, Sham el Nessim is celebrated by people of different faiths and is a public holiday in Egypt! Sham el Nessim means “smelling the breeze” in Arabic and represents the welcoming of Spring. Sham el Nessim predates the traditional Muslim or Christian spring traditions and has its roots in the ancient Egyptian festival of Shemu. Around the spring equinox, ancient Egyptians would offer salted fish and other food to the gods. Today, Sham el Nessim is typically celebrated by families by going out and enjoying the weather with a picnic, good food, music, and dancing. Sometimes, families make and decorate boiled eggs just like in other parts of the world!


Nigeria: New Yam Festival

While most Spring festivals are around March and April, depending on the hemisphere and weather of a country, that can change.


The Earth is divided into four parts called hemispheres. Because the Earth rotates around the sun, the Earth’s northern and southern hemispheres face the Sun at different times in the year, causing seasons to occur at different times depending on when the hemisphere faces the sun. 


Africa falls into each of the four hemispheres, and the one Nigeria is located in celebrates its season of rain and harvest in September. In the New Yam Festival, Nigeria celebrates harvest of crops, such as yam. Celebrations vary depending on cultural groups and can result in different songs, dances, and traditions. However, it is typically started with a prayer and thanks for the harvest and the day continues with displays and dancing. 



Works Cited

“The Easter Bilby — Google Arts & Culture.” Google Arts & Culture, https://artsandculture.google.com/story/the-easter-bilby/6gWRIe23vNolKw?hl=en. Accessed 12 April 2024.


Fulton, April. “Nowruz: Persian New Year's Table Celebrates Spring Deliciously.” NPR, 20 March 2016, https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/03/20/471174857/nowruz-persian-new-years-table-celebrates-spring-deliciously. Accessed 12 April 2024.


Grace, Kristen. “Spring Equinox Traditions Around The World + How You Can Celebrate In Colorado.” SPOKE+BLOSSOM, 20 March 2023, https://www.spokeandblossom.com/stories/2023/3/14/spring-equinox-traditions-around-the-world-how-your-can-celebrate-in-colorado. Accessed 12 April 2024.


“The history of the Dutch Flower Parade Bollenstreek.” Tulip Festival Amsterdam, https://tulipfestivalamsterdam.com/history-flower-parade/. Accessed 12 April 2024.


Hodge, Elliott. “Ringing in Spring with Celebrations from around the Globe.” The International Center, 29 March 2022, https://internationalcenter.org/2022/03/29/ringing-in-spring-with-celebrations-from-around-the-globe/. Accessed 12 April 2024.


MAGNO, DOUGLAS. “Semana Santa celebrations around Latin America and the Caribbean.” Lonely Planet, 15 April 2019, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/semana-santa. Accessed 12 April 2024.


“New Yam Festival: A Celebration of Life and Culture — Google Arts & Culture.” Google Arts & Culture, https://artsandculture.google.com/story/new-yam-festival-a-celebration-of-life-and-culture-pan-atlantic-university/vgUhxQmEwWsNLQ?hl=en. Accessed 12 April 2024.


Osman, Nadda. “Sham el-Nessim: A guide to the Egyptian spring festival.” Middle East Eye, 3 May 2021, https://www.middleeasteye.net/discover/what-sham-el-nessim-egypt-spring-festival-explained. Accessed 12 April 2024.


“What Is the Spring Equinox? | Smithsonian Science Education Center.” Smithsonian Science Education Center |, https://ssec.si.edu/stemvisions-blog/what-is-the-spring-equinox. Accessed 12 April 2024.


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