Spring Around The World

ISHRAT CHOWDURY

Coo! Coo! On an early morning, a cuckoo is spreading the good news. Spring is here! Get up and get ready! Adorn yourself with colourful dress and garland, earring and tiara, all types of ornament made of marigold flowers. In Bangladesh, the girls wear greenish-yellow or yellow sarees with red borders. Music and dance schools present programmes. In the bright sunshine and cool breeze, people gather and listen to Tagore songs and enjoy colourful dances. In Bengali we call it Phalgun.

Other parts of the world also celebrate in their own ways.

Songkran. This water festival is one of the most loved and popular events in Thailand. It is also known as the traditional Thai New Year, celebrated in mid–April. It is a time for family and friends to show gratitude to elders and to visit temples for prayers and offerings. In its bathing ritual, people pour water mixed with Thai fragrances on Buddha images and senior Buddhist monks. This is believed to bring longevity, good health and prosperity.

Holi. This is a popular ancient Hindu Festival of India, also known as the Festival of Spring, the festival of colours and festival of love. It is celebrated in March. It marks the beginning of spring after a long winter, symbolic of triumph of good over evil. It is called Phalguna in the Hindu calendar. On the day of Holi, people play with their family and friends, throwing coloured powder on everybody. Usually all men and women wear white so that the different colours of the powders will be more visible. They make different types of sweets and distribute them among family and friends. It is a very joyful event for all.

Cimburijada. Bosnian people celebrate the arrival of spring by cooking scrambled eggs in giant pans and sharing it among guests. At the cookout in the park, they dance to live music and give awards for spring works.

In England, Coopers Hill Cheese-rolling and Wake in Gloucester is an annual event held on the Spring Bank Holiday. The rules are simple. A 9 lb round double Gloucester cheese is rolled down the hill after a one second head start ahead of the players who chase it down the hill. The first one to make it to the bottom and across the finishing line wins the cheese. It has been called the world’s most dangerous footrace. Regardless of the risks involved, they celebrate it every year as a spring festival.

Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan is one of the most beautiful spring festivals across the world. Hanami is a relaxed tradition of picnicking and having outdoor parties underneath cherry and sakura trees.

Sechselauten. In Switzerland, people are so happy for winter to be over that they celebrate the onset of spring by burning an effigy of a snowman, a tradition dating back to the 16th century. It is believed that the faster it burns, the sunnier and warmer the summer will be. The two- day event also include banquets, parades and humorous speeches.

Pingxi Sky Lantern in Taiwan. At the beginning of the spring planting season, people would release sky lanterns into the air as a prayer for the coming year. The sight of the sky lanterns with their lights rising slowly into the sky is, for many Taiwanese, a beautiful scene and the beginning of happiness and dreams.

Nowruz is referred to as the Persian New Year, an annual festival which marks the first day of spring. It is celebrated throughout the Central Asia. 

Semana Santa. In Guatemala, this is celebrated each spring with pomp. Elaborate parades are carried out in the streets of Antigua town with ornamental costumes and wooden floats. These wooden floats weigh a hundred pounds each and are carried by lots of hands. The cobblestone streets are covered with a hand made carpet of flowers.

Marzana. This Polish festival is among the most religious around the world. People in the villages make a doll of straws which they call Marzana. It is the Slavic goddess of winter, plague and death. The doll is carried out in a dramatic parade on the streets and drowned into the river to mark the end of the winter.

Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, a time of colourful, decadent and delightfully hectic celebration. It’s origin lies in ancient pagan celebrations of spring and fertility. It started in New Orleans around 1830. Beads used in Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold, the three colours symbolising the Christian virtues of justice, faith and power respectively. Usually, the beads are thrown into the crowds.

The White House Easter Egg Roll has been held nearly every year since 1878 in Washington D.C. The main event is the spectacle of children rolling hard boiled eggs across the lawn and someone dressed as a giant Easter bunny hopping around. Unfortunately, this year it was cancelled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

Canada is a melting point of all nations from every part of the world. Every community celebrates spring in their own way. For the last two years, however, we have been all going through a very difficult time. Ups and downs are everywhere.  We are hoping one day the curtain of this deadly disease will disappear and we will be able to lead a normal life again.

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