6 Unique Spring Festivals Around the World
Ah, springtime is about here! And we’re excited about shedding our winter layers for the warm weather ahead and traveling for those long-awaited spring getaways. Check out our list of fun spring festivals and events to ring in the new season right. And even if you miss them this year, contact one of our expert travel agents to help you plan one of these unforgettable journeys for next year so you can witness these unique spectacles.
The Las Fallas celebration dates back to the Middle Ages when excess winter supplies were torched similar to annual spring cleaning. Today, this 5-day festival pays homage to Spain’s history and culture with spectacular pyrotechnics. Over time, under the Catholic Church’s influence, the holiday has developed into a celebration to commemorate Saint Joseph, the patron saint of the carpenters. Every year, each neighborhood builds a wooden falla or doll-like character – typically depicting satirical scenes and current events – that are burned at the end of the festival. Only one falla is saved from the grand finale blaze of glory to be preserved in the Museo Fallero.
TANKWA KAROO, SOUTH AFRICA
If you’re a fan of the annual Burning Man Festival in northwest Nevada, you’ll probably want to join hundreds of locals near the end of April as they converge on Tankwa Karoo, South Africa, to create art, burning structures, costumes, mutant vehicles and music. Don’t expect this to be a place where you can haggle locals for their handmade crafts because the only thing sold here is ice. This open-minded, weeklong event is a 4-hour drive northeast of Cape Town – when you need a respite from the uber creative types.
Celebrating the spring equinox isn’t complete without a proper flower parade, and it just so happens that the largest flower parade takes place in the Netherlands on the third Saturday in April! The parade winds through eight cities, from Noordwijk to Haarlem (Dutch Flower Region), with over 50 flower floats making their way along the route with a marching band to maintain the happy spirit of this fun springtime event. We’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend a stroll through Keukenhof Flower Fields while you’re here – a 40-minute drive southwest of Amsterdam. Helicopter tours are also available for a bird’s-eye view of the colorful tulip fields.
CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
In the United States, most of us are probably familiar with the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC, but travelers looking to experience these wondrous trees on a larger scale must plan a trip to Japan. Cherry Blossom Festivals are held all around the country, but to see the blossoms at their peak, you should visit Tokyo or Kyoto between March and April, depending on the weather. The Japan Weather Association announces cherry blossom forecasts every spring. Festivals include traditional Japanese performances, tea ceremonies under the cherry trees and vendors selling regional food and crafts. For a quieter celebration, we recommend packing a picnic basket – sake included – and enjoying the pretty pink blossoms at a neighborhood park or garden.
CIMBURIJADA (FESTIVAL OF SCRAMBLED EGGS)
In Zenica, Bosnia, the first day of spring brings the Festival of Scrambled Eggs. The day begins with a large breakfast of eggs, which symbolize new life. The rest of the day is spent partying, barbecuing and jumping into the river to mark the beginning of the swimming season. In addition to visiting the Zenica’s old quarter and the Vranduk Fortress, we recommend an hour-drive south to explore the city of Sarejevo. We recommend perusing the coppersmiths’ shops, grabbing a local brew at the large beer hall Pivnica HS and taking Instagram-worthy pics of the city from the Yellow Fortress.
SONGKRAN WATER FESTIVAL
Does getting soaked in a water fight sound like fun to you? If so, head to Thailand to celebrate its traditional New Year’s Day and the beginning of the spring season at the Songkran Water Festival. During the second weekend in April, the festival is observed with a fun water fight among local family and friends, but nobody on the streets is safe from getting soaked. This fun tradition is related to the idea of seasonal renewal – when everyone cleans out their home and cleanses their spirit in preparation for the coming year.