In the last few weeks there has been a delightful upturn in the weather – the rain is drying up, the winds are not quite as bitter and the sun has managed to peep its head around the clouds on more than one occasion. All of this can mean only one thing: spring is on the way! This has put us in the mood to celebrate here at Holiday Hypermarket and we’re not alone. All over the world at this time of year a number of festivals take place celebrating the dawning of a new season, a new year, or just the temperatures to wear new spring clothes. Here are our favourite festivals taking place this spring:
Nowruz, Ankara, Turkey
Nowruz literally means “New Day” and it is considered the “Persian New Year”. Celebrated chiefly by Iran and its cultural continent countries, Nowruz centres around the Spring Equinox and has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. In Turkey most of the festivities are put on by the Kurdish people, who will come together to enjoy street festivals, crack painted eggs, share meals with friends and family, clean their homes and perform contemporary expressions of traditional customs. Fires are lit to symbolise rebirth and young men jump over them in celebration.
Las Fallas Fiesta, Valencia, Spain
What began as a feast day for St. Joseph has become one of the most explosive fiestas in Spain. Taking place over five days, the celebration in Valencia centres around flame and the destruction of ninots, which are goliath papier-mache statues that often depict satirical scenes, current events, Spanish celebrities and politicians. The ninots are displayed for several days until, on 19th March, all the lights in the town are turned off and exactly at midnight the ninots – bar one which is voted the favourite – are stuffed full of fireworks and set alight. Las Fallas is one of the most unique festivals in Spain and feels like a 4th July party at the end of the world.
Cherry Blossom Festival, Kyoto, Japan
The Cherry Blossom Festival runs from January all the way through to May throughout Japan and celebrates the blossoming of Japan’s famous cherry or “sakura” trees and the dawning of spring. Throughout this time Japan looks pretty in pink as thousands of rosy blossoms burst forth everywhere you look and the tradition of ‘Hanami’, picnicking among the trees both day and night, is practiced by many Japanese people. Kyoto is a particularly great place to experience this festival, as its parks are full of the trees and the Diago Ji Temple puts on a re-enactment of a 16th century sakura party on the second Sunday in April.
What are your favourite festivals celebrating the turning of the seasons? Do you travel to take part in festivals in foreign lands?