Every year around 20-21st of March the day becomes equal to the night – both last exactly 12 hours. This is the time when officially the spring begins. There are many traditions around the world to welcome the arrival of spring and celebrate the new life. We looked into most of our destinations to see what the spring celebrations looks like in the different countries.
True to its pagan roots, Latvia celebrates spring in the time of the solstice (21st or 22nd of March). Celebrations are normally held around the country where Latvians welcome spring with pagan songs and traditions to embrace the arrival of spring and the sun.
In Lithuania they have similar celebrations as in Latvia as they both share strong pagan roots and Baltic symbolism. However, in Lithuania sun is celebrated in the form of light, so this year children made sculptures with candles that were lit up after the sunset.
The name of the celebration in Estonian is munapyhad, which literally means egg fest, but it also goes under the name suvisted. The name of the latter comes the word suvi, which means summer and denotes the termination of winter and beginning of the time of light.
In Slovenia thing are a bit different. On the forenight of St. Gregory people make little boat that carry candles down the river. This symbolises that days are getting longer and we no longer need artificial lightning. The following day the traditional day of the lovers is celebrated, because it folk tradition this is the day when the birds are ‘getting married’.
Best place to experience traditional culture in spring is Hollókő. This hillside village still celebrates springtime fertility rituals with folk costumes, dances, music and…. boys chasing girls with buckets of water. Any for fertility!
Germands don’t really agree that spring starts in March, so they celebrate the arrival of spring in the end of April with the famous Walpurgisnacht when the witches party with gods. On this day they light bonfires and in the countryside it is still popular to prank your fellow villagers.
There are several small celebrations throughout the spring months in Serbia, but the really big one is Đurđevdan (George’s Day). Normally it is celebrated with food, songs, dancing and lots of greenery. It is also a very important holiday of the Southern Roma, who call this day ederlezi.
Falles (Fallas) is a fire celebration in Valencia. This holiday comes with processions throughout five nights. On the final night falles (big sculptures) are burnt in bonfires. Surely a true spectacle for the visitors!
In Poland spring is traditionally welcomed by drowning of Marzanna, a figure that represents winter and death. They drown her on the Death Sunday (4th Sunday after Lent). Once she’s under water you need to turn back on her to truly complete the farewell to winter.
CZECH REPUBLIC AND SLOVAKIA
Similar tradition is upheld in both Czech Republic and Slovakia. Their creature is called Morena, which is the old Slavic goddess of death, winter and underworld.
There you have it. Spring is obviously the perfect time to visit any of the above mentioned destinations! You will get to see the peculiar and exciting festivities, the sun will be shining ever more brightly and you can still catch the low seasons prices!
Let the spring begin!