Spring traditions around the world include tulip festivals in several different regions.

10 Spring Traditions and Celebrations Around the World

Spring traditions and celebrations are common around the world, in every culture. Many of these celebrations have their roots in ancient times, and kept the traditions in one way or another throughout centuries.

Most people of today don’t celebrate the equinox the way the ancient cultures did. However, almost everyone celebrates the beginning of spring, even if it doesn’t always coincide with the actual day.

And it is no wonder, since spring is the time of renewal, when nature comes back to life. To celebrate this, some cultures even start their New Year in spring.

In many Christian-based societies Easter replaced the traditional welcoming of spring. Still, it is often mixed with older, pagan traditions to this day.

To see how cultures around the world celebrate spring, I asked several bloggers to tell me about traditions and celebrations from the places they live. I learned a lot from them…

Welcoming a New Year in Spring

The first day of spring marks the beginning of a New Year in several cultures. Known as the Persian New Year, the celebration has its roots in Ancient Persia, over 3,000 years ago.

Called Nowruz – meaning “new day”, this holiday started with the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism. Practiced in Ancient Persia, it considered the arrival of spring a victory over darkness. The holiday survived the centuries, and the decline of the ancient religion that started it. Over 300 million people still celebrate it to this day.

In fact, UNESCO recognized the Persian New Year as a Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Here is an example of celebrating Nowruz:

1. Nowruz, the Persian New Year

as told by Palo from Moons and Roses

Nowruz celebration. photo credit: Pexels. Rodnae Productions

In various countries across the Middle East and Central Asia, Nowruz is one of the most important dates to mark on your calendar as it marks a new year. It is held on the first day of spring and is celebrated in Azerbaijan, Iraq, Turkey, and many more countries.

However, if you wish to experience true Nowruz celebrations, then head over to Iran or Afghanistan: the grounds upon which this spring equinox commemoration originated many moons ago.

Fun fact: The Persian New Year’s festivities go on for 2 weeks in Iran, and 40 days in Afghanistan!

Persian people are known for their commitment to connecting with their ancient roots. During Nowruz, they do so by having major spring cleaning in their homes, visiting loved ones, and preparing a delicious meal.

The main tradition performed during Nowruz is called Haft-Seen: Farsi for “7 things beginning with the letter S”. A table is set up with 7 commodities representing the four elements of fire, air, earth, water, and the three life forms of animals, humans, and plants. The options are numerous, but typical things people use are pomegranates, dates, vinegar, mirrors, sprouts, candles, painted eggs, etc.

When the time has come to ring in the new year (which is at the exact time of the equinox), family and friends gather around the Haft-Seen table, play musical instruments, sing, and recite ancient Persian poetry.

Marking and Celebrating the Equinox

Ancient people were more connected to the movement of the sun and stars then we are today. No wonder, they marked important celestial dates, like equinoxes, with buildings that withstood centuries.

The most famous site we can still watch a naturally occurring light-show during the equinoxes is Chichen Itza in Yucatan, Mexico. The shadow of the mythical feathered serpent of the ancient Maya still descends the stairs of its Castillo. People from all over the world still visit the site to see this phenomenon.

Chichem Itza - Temple of Kukulcan

Several other ancient structures around the world showcase the equinox. People to this day visit some of these sites and still hold spring celebrations, like the ones at Stonehenge:

2. Equinox Celebration at Stonehenge

as told by Kat from Wandering Bird

Spring Equinox celebrated in Stonehenge. photo credit: Kat from Wandering Bird

Stonehenge is an incredible place. If you’ve never visited, add it to yourUK road trip itineraryat any time of the year.

However, if you’re lucky enough to be visiting anywhere near on the morning of the Spring Equinox, going there will be one of the highlights of your trip.

Stonehenge is managed by English Heritage and, usually, you must pay to enter. You also can’t get into the circle or touch the stones on ‘normal’ visits unless you pay for a guided tour.

However, on the Equinox, they offer a very small window of access (usually an hour before and after sunrise) where people can gather INSIDE the stones and watch the sunrise as it was meant to be seen.

You’re not allowed to bring pets, play loud music or climb on the stones- they still need to protect the environment, but it’s a wonderful way to experience the magic felt by our ancestors. If you fly a drone, it must be outside the field where the circle is.

Most of the people who visit are pagans and druids, and you’ll witness all sorts of ceremonies going on, but there are also plenty of people there for the experience.

Equinox celebrations aren’t as popular as the main Solstices of Summer and Winter, so there will only be several hundred visitors instead of several thousand, but the atmosphere will still be uplifting and full of fun.

Traditions Celebrating New Beginning In Spring

The ancient Romans, as well as Thracians celebrated the beginning of a New Year on the 1st of March. Ethnologists believe that the Romanian Martisor, the Macedoanian Martinka, and Bulgarian Martenitsa originated in this ancient tradition.

Growing up in Romania I was looking forward to it every spring. Here is a description of this special spring celebration from Joanna, a Romanian blogger:

3. Mărțișor In Romania

as told by Joanna of The World in My Pocket

Mărțișor in a blossoming tree. photo by Ingrid Kirita

Romania has one of the most beautiful spring celebrations. The “martisor” is celebrated every year on the 1stof March, as an official welcome to spring. “Martisor” is a small symbol meant to be worn as a brooch, for the first 8 days of March. There are different models, some of the most popular being related to spring or to luck: flowers, horseshoes, chimney sweeps, four leaf cloves or ladybugs. Each “martisor” must have a red and white string, representing the cold of the winter blending in with the warmth of the spring.

Usually the “martisor” is given to women by men, as a sign of love and respect. The women wear it for 8 days, and then tie the red and white string to a blossoming tree. The tradition says that the woman is going to bloom in the upcoming year the same way as the tree she tied the string to will blossom that spring. Many women choose cherry trees to tie the string to as they always blossom gloriously.

Two weeks before the 1stof March, the “martisor” sellers start to appear on the streets of the main cities in Romania. Some museums in Bucharest organise fairs where local artists display their “martisor” inspired creations.

Cultural Celebrations Started in the Middle Ages

Some cultures have unique celebrations to welcome spring. One of them is the Fallas festival of Valencia, Spain, mentioned even in Don Quijote.

The celebration, so specific to a region, is recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritageof humanity. This is how people of Valencia celebrate it:

4. Fallas of Valencia

as told by Kat from Biker Girl’s Life

valencia falles dp
The image shows a “fallera” and a “falla” in fire during “fallas” in Valencia, Spain. This monuments are world heritage.

Spain is wonderful in the spring time. Warmer than most of the rest of Europe, it’s the perfect place to go to enjoy some sunshine and experience the world waking up after winter.

If you’retouring Spain by motorcycleor car, you’ll be able to enjoy the flora and fauna, but there are also several festivals you should attend.

One of the biggest is the Fallas of Valencia. (Also known as the Falles in local dialect)

From the beginning of March until the 19th, Valencia goes carnival crazy. The main days are the 15-19th March, but you’ll find fireworks displays and street parties in the two weeks leading up to it.

This festival started years ago from an old carpenter’s tradition of burning pieces of wood (parots) that they’d used during winter.

Gradually, the bonfires grew and they started adding old rags and belongings to make the wooden structures look human. These are the ninots which are burned as part of the celebrations. Nowadays, the local regions work all year to create their spectacular ninots, which are then judged before being set alight on the 19th. The winners are burned last.

There are also gunpowder fireworks (Mascleta) every afternoon at 2pm- be warned, it’s LOUD.

People wear the traditional costume and the entire city is full of food, laughter, fun, art, fire and smoke. Wear comfortable shoes and get involved- it’s an experience you’ll never forget.

Celebrating the Flowers of Spring

In many cultures, spring celebrations mean celebrating the new blooms of flowers, either on trees, or on the ground. The most beautiful signs of spring, flowers are the symbol of rebirth in nature, of new beginnings.

5. Hanami (花見) in Tokyo, Japan

as told by Erika from Erika’s Travelventures

Hanami in Tokyo ...

The arrival of spring in Japan is synonymous with the blooming of the cherry blossoms, or sakura, flowers. Hanami is one of thetop things to do in Tokyoand every city in Japan, in the springtime when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

Each year the cherry blossom forecastcalendaris released, so locals and tourists alike can get a sense of when springtime will officially begin. This is also when everyone across Japan starts planning theirhanamipicnics and parties! Hana-mi literally translates to flower-watching, and you won’t be able to travel Japan in the spring without taking part in the hanami festivities in some way.

The hanami tradition actually dates back over a thousand years. It is a time for enjoying nature and the beauty of springtime, but also a time to connect with the people around you and build new friendships.

Hanami usually means getting together with a group of friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and others, to set up a large picnic at a park filled with cherry blossoms. In addition to admiring the beautiful cherry blossoms, people often prepare delicious meals, offer beer and other drinks, and sometimes even bring karaoke machines to add to the festivities! Needless to say, once you’ve secured a picnic spot at a popular hanami park, you’ll be celebrating, singing, and making friends for many hours, sometimes even into the evening!

It’s a great way to ring in the start of spring, which also marks the start of new beginnings in Japan.

6. Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival in Seoul

as told by Ingrid Kirita of IngridZenMoments

Seoul Cherry Blossom Festival

Seoul, South Korea’s capital is one of the extremely underrated spring destinations in Asia. With the city literally blooming, Koreans love their spring colorful flowers and take any chance to celebrate the warm season. Strolling through the Palace’s gardens, exploring all of Seoul’s parks, tasting some of the special limited edition coffees and cakes around town, are all greatthings to do in Seoul during spring.

However, the most important festival taking place in town is the Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival. People step outside and stroll along the Han River between arches of countless cherries in bloom, in order to celebrate the full blossom of spring. Part of Yeouido Park, the stroll takes visitors along close to 2000 cherry trees, but also hundreds of colorful azaleas, tulips, and other beautiful flowers.

Another local tradition is going for a picnic under the cherry trees on the banks of the Han River while admiring Seoul’s beautiful skyline with the NSeoul Tower triumphantly watching from the top of the Namsan Mountain.

The festival takes place between March and April and the exact dates depend a lot on the weather conditions and the status of the cherry blossom.

7. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival In Washington State, USA

as told by Karee Blunt ofOur Woven Journey

tulips our woven journey 2

Winter can be rather gray in Washington state. Seattle gets quite a rap for being rainy, and well, it’s not a lie. However, there’s one sure-fire sign that spring has sprung, and that’s the first sightings of daffodils and tulips.

Specifically, theSkagit Valley Tulip Festivaloccurs every year in April. It is celebrated in La Conner, Washington, about an hour north of Seattle. Skagit County welcomes over a million visitors from all over the country (and even from other countries) this time who come to see the multi-colored fields of tulips.

Even before the tulips begin to bloom, La Conner kicks off the spring celebrations with the Daffodil Festival. You’ll find many acres of fields blanketed with these yellow beauties. Although it’s not as well-known as the Tulip Festival, locals know that spring is just around the corner when daffodils begin to bloom!

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival officially runs from April 1st – 30th and hosts numerous events throughout the month. In addition to the fields and display gardens that visitors come to see, there is also a street fair in nearby Mt. Vernon.

Held the 3rd weekend in April each year, the annual street fair features many juried arts and crafts vendors from around the world. You’ll also find gourmet goodies, unique gift ideas, garden art, and much more.

Washington state may see more than its share of rainy days, but the rain makes springtime so colorful and beautiful. It’s no wonder seeing the daffodils and tulips in bloom is a bucket-list activity for many people!

8. Tulip Festival in Holland, Michigan, USA

as told by Elena Pappalardo of The Carry-On Chronicles

windmill island gardens

Springtime is easily the most beautiful time to visit Holland, Michigan. While this lakeside city remains pretty under-the-radar the rest of the year, May brings with it a very exciting celebration in Holland – the largest annual tulip festival in the United States! Affectionately known as Tulip Time, this festival of flowers has been running for nearly a century. It is meant to usher in spring, and, more importantly, celebrate Dutch heritage by honoring the Dutch-American immigrants who bestowed beautiful tulips on the Americas. This year, the festival will run from Saturday, May 7 until Sunday, May 15, 2022.

TheHolland tulip festivalis truly a group effort, with numerous venues throughout the city participating. Windmill Island Gardens is one of the favorite locations, featuring a giant windmill, several tulip fields, and a miniature Dutch-style village.

Nelis’ Dutch Village is another popular spot to check out, including everything from an Amsterdam canal look-alike to a charming replica of a Dutch village. Here, you’ll find adorable shops and boutiques selling Dutch souvenirs such as iconic wooden shoes and miniature wooden tulips.

In addition to the pay-to-play venues, there are also several parks where visitors can admire the gorgeous blooms for free, including Centennial Park and Kollen Park.

9. The Carnival of Flowers in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

as told by Lanie van der Horst of Make More Adventures

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers 1

For more than 70 years, the Carnival of Flowers has taken place in Toowoomba to celebrate spring in “the garden city.” This makes it the longest-running annual festival in Queensland.

The Festival has grown over the years and now it takes place during the entire month of September each year. During the month, the population of Toowoomba doubles, as people head to the small city, an hour and 45 minutes west of Brisbane, to attend the Carnival of Flowers.

Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers is one of the most fun things to do with kids in town, as it has a mix of free and paid events throughout September. The parks and gardens are free of charge, with the most popular locations being Queens Park and Laurel Bank Park. On the weekends during the festival, there is free live music and movies under the stars. Some nights include firework displays.

It is important to check out the schedule of events for those who wish to see more than the beautiful gardens. The Grand Central Floral Parade takes place with street performers and floral floats.

“Sideshow Alley” is open for a weekend with carnival rides. Many workshops and demonstrations take place throughout the month-long Carnival of Flowers. This includes a food and wine festival, walking tours, flower arranging workshops, and cooking demonstrations.

10. Girls As Flowers in Hungarian-Speaking Regions

An Easter/Spring Tradition

hyacinth gf66ca81eb 1280

Growing up in a Hungarian household, every year on Easter Monday I was a flower in need of “watering”. At least that’s what all my male friends and family members told me as they asked permission to “water” me.

Though originally boys would douse girls with fresh spring water, in most places (including my hometown) they used perfume instead. So as soon as I opened my eyes on Easter Monday, my brothers would come into my room, sprinkling perfume on my head, and asking for a colored hard-boiled egg in return.

The rest of the day would continue in a similar fashion. All my male friends and acquaintances would eventually show up at my doorstep, adding different scents to my hair. In return, I would give them colored eggs, sometimes pastries and drinks.

However, if the “watering gardener” was a special person (usually the person we were dating or had a crush on) he would get a flower, a hyacinth to put in his shirt’s buttonhole.

My favorite part of the holiday were the poems though. To ask permission to “water” the girl-flower, the boys and young men would recite a poem. Often funny, sometimes sentimental, or unique, these poems meant to impress the “flowers”. The more creative “gardeners” sometimes wrote one themselves.

Though celebrated on Easter Monday, the tradition has its roots in ancient Hungarian customs. Its base is the ancient belief in the magical fertility-bringing powers of water and the symbolism of red-colored eggs. Red-colored eggs decorated with ancient runes was considered a symbol of fertility, life, and rebirth.

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