Festivals to Usher In The Spring
21 March marked the Spring Equinox and a blooming fresh start to another year. It’s really not easy to feel the newness of the earth in Singapore when, luckily or luckily, trees and flowers are perpetually in bloom.
If you’re wondering how people from other parts of the world mark the season and most importantly, want to mark your calendars for future trip ideas, here are some of the best ways to usher in Spring.
Songkran Water Festival, Thailand
Pack your bags for a literally splashing good time in Thailand. The Songkran Water Festival takes place from 13th to 15th April this year and is one of the most fun festivals that you can take part in without travelling too far.
The Songkran is also the Thai New Year and the splashing of water isn’t just for a literal cool down, but meant to be a symbolic cleansing of old energies to welcome the new. A great place to be in the thick of the action is Chiang Mai.
Semana Santa, Spain
Known as the Holy Week, the Semana Santa is a colourful and rich celebration that is steeped in history and culture. This year, the Holy Week takes place April 9th to 15th.
The Semana Santa is an annual tribute of the Passion of Christ and is celebrated throughout Spain. For the liveliest and most glamorous celebrations, head to the Andalucia region and join the parades in Seville, Granada, or Malaga.
You’ll be treated to endless processions of floats with statues of Jesus and Mary, with costaleros (bearers) of the floats being followed by nazarenos with tall pointy hats and robes.
While the hats may uncomfortably remind one of the Ku Klux Klan, the tall cone shape actually symbolizes rising towards the heavens.
The weather in the Southern Spain is also especially delightful at this time for some gorgeous sightseeing days.
The Holi festival has been gaining popularity around the world, and it’s not hard to see why. Who wouldn’t love a festival that involves rich colours everywhere, including your face, shirt, pants, hands, did we see say everywhere?
Holi is celebrated as Spring arrives, around early to mid-March, and has its roots in ancient India. It is the triumph of good over evil, of forgiveness, good harvests, and blessings for everyone. Celebrations involve the smearing of each other with colour and drenching each other in water.
One legend surrounding the tradition of playing with colours involves the story of Lord Krishna depairing over his dark blue skin, and wondering whether Goddess Radha would like him.
His mother asked him to approach her and colour her face in whatever colour he wanted, and so the playful application of colours became a tradition and an expression of love.
The best places to celebrate in India are Mathura & Vrindavan, as well as Gujarat.
Spring Equinox, Teotihuacan
For a more spiritual way to get in touch with Spring, head to Mexico to celebrate the Spring Equinox. You’ve got to mark next year’s March 21st for this, and book your tickets in advance.
The equinox marks the official start of Spring when day and night are of equal length. Mexico’s archaeological sites are the best places to soak in the new energies of the year.
Of all the sites, the Mayan site of Chichen Itza is one of the most popular. This temple was built with astronomical precision and during the equinox, the sun’s rays seem to slither like a snake on the steps of the pyramid, a truly fascinating sight to behold.
Takayama Matsuri, Japan
Japan is famous for the Hanami, which is the enjoyment of cherry blossom. Every Spring, hoards of Singaporeans travel to Japan to take in the freshness of the season and to take endless selfies with cherry blossoms.
This Spring, make it a point to check out the Takayama Matsuri on April 14 and 15. This is one of Japan’s most gorgeous festivals.
Held during Spring and Autumn, the festival traces back to the 17th century and is known for its large floats that are intricately decorated, and you’ll get to admire them up close during the display. Processions and traditional doll performances start during the day and culminate at night.
Where ever you’re planning to go for a trip, make sure to bring your travel credit card with you to earn more miles points, cash back and more rewards!