As many countries around the world prepare to shake off the shackles of Winter, they also excitedly organize many special events and festivals to celebrate Spring. While this commemoration may sound universal in nature, each country has its own unique spin in how this season is celebrated. From India to Scotland, Japan to Sweden, there’s an amazing variety of special events in honor of this seasonal change.
One of the most well-known traditions is the celebration of Holi in India. Known as the “Festival of Colors” or “Festival of Spring”, this festival (originally a Hindu celebration) is widely known for the brightly colored chalk which is thrown around during the observance, but its history is so much richer. While the holiday holds a religious significance to many, it is widely regarded as a way to honor the new season, a hope for a full harvest, celebrating life and love, and repairing broken relationships. While predominantly a Hindu celebration, it has been adopted by many other South Asian countries and other nations around the world. Holi is a 2-day festival that starts on March 29th, 2021.
Another of the more popular Spring celebrations around the world is the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan. Known as Hamani (which translates to “Flower Viewing”) in Japan, this beautiful event known around the world doesn’t just celebrate Cherry Blossoms, but also Plum Blossoms, which can be seen all throughout Japan. The festival is believed to have started over 1,000 years ago, when Aristocrats enjoyed looking at and writing poems about them. These days, the public widely recognizes this time by enjoying picnics with family or friends under the trees in parks or in nature. However, a Cherry Blossoms bloom only lasts 2 weeks, and the art that honors this staple of traditional Japanese life is known as “Mono No Aware,” which discusses the theme that “nothing lasts forever.”
In Spain, things get a little rowdier with “Las Fallas de Valencia,”, also known as the Festival of Fire. This celebration honors St. Joseph and is popular due to its use of “Falles” and “Ninots,” which means “puppets” and “dolls,” respectively. Every year has a new theme, and falles and ninots creations are put on floats and often satirical in nature, giving the festival a fun and humorous atmosphere. These artistic creations are often made around the city by different neighborhoods and are organized year-round by a Casal Faller, members of the neighborhood who work hard to raise funds for their creations. The Mascleta, a large fireworks and firecracker display, is set-off every year, and crowds often enjoy large parades, food, music, and “L’Ofrena de Flors,” a traditional flower offering.
While we are not able to celebrate traditionally this year due to the ongoing pandemic, we hope everyone around the world enjoys their annual Spring festivities in a safe, but fun environment. We look forward to exploring the world of Summer Festivals in an upcoming blog!
About the Author
Shane Frasier is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at the Museum. He’s been with us since 2017, and enjoys our mission of bringing diversity and culture to the greater Glens Falls area.