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Spring Traditions Around the World

Spring is in the air! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the flowers are blooming. We can’t deny that spring is universally beloved around the world. Here are a few traditions and holidays that show how much we love spring!


Spring Equinox (Mexico)

The official first day of spring is on the spring equinox each year. It is celebrated in many countries, but the celebration at the Pyramid of the Sun at the Teotihuacan archeological complex (outside of Mexico City) is unique. Thousands of locals and visitors flock to the site dressed primarily in white and lift their arms in the air to absorb the positive energy found during the equinox.


Heritage Day (South Africa)

As dwellers of the Northern Hemisphere, we sometimes forget that there is an entire half of the world that has seasons opposite of ours. South Africa celebrates Heritage Day each year on September 24, near the official beginning of the Southern Hemisphere’s spring equinox. Heritage day was established to celebrate the variety of cultures present in South Africa. One of the major traditions associated with this day is the braai, or South African barbeque.


Barba Marta (Bulgaria)

On March 1, Bulgarians celebrate Baba Marta day, the arrival of spring. Baba Marta is a grumpy old woman whose mood swings are connected to the wild weather changes during the month of March. The martenitsa is a red and white bracelet that is traditionally worn all of March or at the first sign of spring and then hung on a tree branch. Signs include seeing a stork, swallow, or tree blossom.


Whuppity Scoorie (Scotland)

This festival takes place in Lanark, Scotland at St. Nicholas Church every March 1. At 6 p.m. local time, the church bell rings. The town’s children run around the outside of the church three times, counter clockwise while swinging paper balls over their heads. Afterwards, members of the town’s council throw coins for the children to find. The origins of this tradition are unclear, but one theory is that it involved welcoming spring and the celebration of more daylight after work.


Hanami-Cherry Blossom Viewing (Japan)

One of the most popular times of the year in Japan is cherry blossom season. Blooms begin to appear at the end of March and last into May. Tourists and locals alike go to different locations throughout the country to view the blossoms while they are in season. Several of the major viewing locations are large parks. Viewers often picnic in these parks and may leave their picnic blanket out to reserve their spot during the workday, though they do need to be aware of the etiquette that surrounds this tradition.


There are many other traditions celebrated during spring around the world. Spring symbolizes hope and new life, so it makes sense that it contains many fun, upbeat occasions. Do you have a favorite tradition to welcome spring?


If you’re interested in learning more about the countries mentioned or planning your trip for next spring, check out our travel guide collection!


Kelsey Shackelford is the Community Events Liaison at Boone County Public Library.

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