The spring season symbolizes newness, new life, rebirth, and a lot of new things. Around the world, cultures celebrate the arrival of springtime per ritual and tradition. Although many countries may not find this season to be the primary reason to celebrate, there are many traditions that welcome the new season and they are some of the largest celebrations in the world. Whether you are headed to Thailand or Mexico, here are the top 5 spring traditions around the world.
Songkran Water Festival – Thailand
The arrival of the spring season marks the new year in Thailand and the Songkran Water Festival is all about rebirth. This tradition originated with people throwing water at each other to be cleansed of misfortune, negativity, and to welcome luckier, purer times ahead. However, this celebration has taken the message of what the water represents to a new level as elaborate water celebrations drench entire streets for days.
Holi – Northern India
Holi in India is a country-wide social sanction to have fun, with a lot of vibrant colors that lift mood and a practice that may be originally linked to a time when colorful, natural medicinal plants were used for healing. Revelers take the streets for the “Festival of Colors” where they cover each other in colorful solutions and powders. Holi has a huge social significance in the country and the tradition is also celebrated with special treats.
Nowruz – Central Asia
Nowruz marks the start of a new year in Iran. It is a 13-day celebration originated in ancient ideas of Zoroastrianism. Nowruz is a triumph of good over evil. It has become a secular holiday and it is celebrated across religious traditions in Central Asia. Nowruz is a time for extensive cleaning to wipe away grime, dust, and sadness, when people buy new clothes, visit friends and family, and seek a blank slate and overall renewal.
Spring Equinox in Teotihuacán – Mexico
The Spring Equinox is celebrated all over the world in different ways. However, it is much more significant in Mexico where thousands of people celebrate it. Most people, including foreign visitors, dress in red scarfs and white robes burn incents, perform dances, and climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun spreading their arms to follow in ancestor traditions, perform rituals, with a belief that they will receive strong energy.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake – Gloucester, England
For over two centuries, the small English village in Gloucestershire has played host to this strange annual tradition called Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake. In this event, a round of Gloucester cheese is rolled down the hill and those who participate race down the steep hillside after it. The goal is to go after the cheese and ultimately catch it. Participants often end up tumbling head-over-heels and falling down the slope. Serious injuries are common.
While these spring traditions around the world are separated by practices, culture, and continent, they all involve a similar message. They welcome the arrival of the spring season and the celebration of shared beliefs and values.
Photos by: Yogendra Singh, Dibakar Roy, Rodnae productions, Filip Gielda, Pinterest