7 Spring Celebrations from Around the World

7 Spring Celebrations from Around the World

Celebrate the arrival of spring with some international flair with these ideas.

By: Christa Melnyk Hines

Across the globe, different cultures welcome spring with fascinating and festive traditions. Take a cue from these ideas to kick off spring with a fun, new celebration and open your kids’ eyes to new cultures from around the world.

1. Martenitsa
The Bulgarians celebrate “Baba Marta” (Grandma March) on March 1 by exchanging Martenitsis, which are red and white woven bracelets. They wear the bracelets until the first blooms appear on the trees or they see a stork. Then, they hang their bracelets on the trees to welcome spring.

Adaptation: Weave friendship bracelets out of red and white thread or yarn and share them with your friends. This is a great activity to do with the kids as well! Once you see the first blooms, bring the bracelets out to the front yard and display them on the branches.

2. Marzenna Day
In Poland, celebrants gather along the Vistula River. They make a 3- to 4-foot straw Marzenna doll dressed in rags, a striped shirt, hat and ribbons. Participants toss her into the river to say goodbye to winter and welcome spring.

Adaptation: Cut your own Marzenna dolls out of biodegradable paper or cardstock. Your children will love coloring their paper dolls.

Head to a nearby stream and you and your kids can put their dolls in the water to say goodbye to winter.

3. Nowruz
This Persian festival marks the first day of spring across the Middle East. The event begins with a traditional [spring-cleaning of the home](should link to Spring Cleaning/Lighten Up landing page). As part of the celebration, a table is set with seven items each beginning with the letter S — symbolizing life, love, health, wealth, fertility, patience and renewal.

Adaptation: Find seven items meaningful to your family and have them on the table during dinner. These items could all start with the same letter (maybe matching your family’s last name) or you could pick seven adjectives best representing your family.


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4. Pyramid of the Sun
Each year, thousands attend the spring equinox event at the world’s third-largest pyramid in Teotihuacan, Mexico. Many arrive early to watch the sunrise over the Apan Mountains east of the pyramid.

Adaptation: Make a sun catcher. Collect spring leaves and flowers. Your child can arrange his treasures on a clear piece of contact paper cut into a triangle like a pyramid. Cover with a second piece of clear contact paper. Press down and wrap the edges with washi tape.

5. Holi
During this Indian festival of colors, Hindus throw colored powder at each other and rub it on each others’ faces to celebrate the many vibrant colors of spring.

Adaptation: Play with face paint. Flowers, bugs and sports are easy-to-paint themes kids love. Also, try making Indian cuisine for dinner or head to a local restaurant. Or — if you’re feeling particularly adventurous — there’s colored powder used in races and runs you could use, too!

6. Songkran
Visitors from all over the world come to Thailand for this three-day water festival. People throw water on each other to wash away the bad luck and allow good luck to enter for the new year.

Adaptation: Get out your rain gear and take your family for a walk during a gentle spring shower. Smell the fresh air, notice the budding trees, play in the rain, listen for the birds and, of course, splash in the puddles!

7. May Day
May 1 is a national holiday in much of Europe. Townspeople gather to celebrate spring and watch the raising of the Maypole, a tall wooden pole decorated with colorful ribbons and flowers. Although not as common these days, some leave anonymous “May baskets” with treats or flowers at neighbors’ doors.

Adaptation: Deliver a May Day basket. Have your child decorate a piece of construction paper with stickers, drawings or a collage of birds and flowers cut out of a magazine. Glue or staple the paper into a cone. Place handmade craft flowers or fresh-picked flowers into the cone. Attach a colorful ribbon and hang it on a friend’s door.

Borrow some inspiration from culture around the world to celebrate this year’s vernal equinox. Of all these different springtime celebrations, you’re bound to have a great day ringing in the season!

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