Spring Traditions from Around the World
Plunging temperatures, gray skies and snow flurries have us dreaming of Spring, and it can’t come soon enough. It’s true, Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s beloved groundhog, saw his shadow this year and quickly retreated back into his hole to brace an additional six weeks of winter weather. By tradition, had he not seen his shadow, he would have predicted an early spring. Only in America would we allow a legendary groundhog to predict the weather every second day of February, more commonly known as Groundhog’s Day. Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted a longer winter this year, but that won’t stop us from celebrating Spring traditions as seen around the world.
Thailand – The Songkran Water Festival
The Songkran (Sanskrit word for astrological passage) Water Festival marks the Thai new year (April 13-April 15), where people flock to the streets to participate in water fights. The throwing of water, in fun and friendly ways, is a traditional sign of respect, well-wishing and the washing away of bad luck. The more water, the better!
Scotland – Whuppity Scoorie
In Lanark, Scotland, children run laps around the town’s bell, known as the Kirk, on the first day of March until the clock strikes 6PM, which symbolizes the break of silence during desolate winter days. This tradition is so old that its origin is still unknown. Some believe Whuppity Scoorie came from a festival that was intended to rid of winter or evil spirits, while others believe it celebrates longer days that allow children to play outside longer.
Bosnia – Čimburijada
Crack an egg at the crack of dawn with Bosnia’s spring tradition, Čimburijada. Translated to the festival of scrambled eggs, thousands congregate in Zenica, Bosnia every March to celebrate the arrival of the spring season. An egg symbolizes new life and March symbolizes a new season; therefore, mass amounts of eggs are cooked and served to those who come together to share a meal.
Japan – Hanami
We typically associate the spring season with the blooming of flowers and that’s exactly how the Japanese celebrate spring with Hanami. Hanami is Japanese for flower viewing and is an annual tradition of enjoying the blooming of foliage, especially the Cherry Blossoms, after the winter weather subsides. A spectacular and rare sight, the announcement of Hanami is carefully observed, since the blossoms only last a week or two. Said to have begun in the late 8th century, the event was used to welcome in the new year’s harvest and marked the beginning of the rice planting season.
Poland – Marzanna
The welcoming of spring is celebrated in dramatic fashion in Poland. Dolls, called Marzanna, are made of straw and decorated to symbolize the cold, dreary winter. The dolls are then paraded through the streets as they make their way to a river or other body of water. The dolls, are then tossed into the water and drowned. The drowning of the Marzanna symbolizes the end of winter’s wrath.