Springtime is a season of rebirth and celebration. Spring festivals around the world celebrate this spirit of renewal and new beginnings.
We’re inspired by Remitly customers across the globe who celebrate their own springtime traditions, from Bengali New Year to Ramadan to Semana Santa. Read on to learn more about major spring festivals and how they’re celebrated, from the world’s biggest water fight to parades full of color.
Bengali New Year
Bangladesh and Western India
Bengali New Year, also known as Pahela Baishakh, is the first day of the Bengali calendar, the official calendar of Bangladesh, and is associated with the spring harvest.
Bengali New Year is primarily celebrated in Bangladesh on April 14th and West Bengal, Tripura, and Assam in India on April 15th. People celebrate this holiday by processions (Mangal Shobhajatra), fairs (Boishakhi Mela), gift-giving, spending time or visiting with friends and family, and songs and dancing.
East and South Asia
Buddha’s birthday across the different branches of Buddhism may be celebrated by the hanging of lanterns, enjoying communal meals with family and friends, parades, and visits to temples with offerings.
Buddha’s birthday is celebrated in most of East and South Asia, commemorating the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism.
The exact date of Buddha’s birthday is based on the Asian lunisolar calendar. It is primarily celebrated in the Baisakh month of the Buddhist calendar and the Bikram Sambat month of the Hindu calendar, usually falling in April or May each year.
Dia dos Namorados
The Brazilian people celebrate Dia dos Namorados in a similar way to how many other parts of the world celebrate Valentine’s Day. The main difference is the date.
Across the world, Valentine’s Day falls on February 14th. But in Brazil, Dia dos Namorados falls on June 12th.
Dia dos Namorados, also known as love letter day, is in June due to its proximity to St. Anthony’s Day on June 13th.
Brazilian couples celebrate Dia dos Namorados by exchanging romantic gifts, spending the day together, and going out on special dates.
Curious about Brazilian food? Check out our guides.
Easter is a major holiday in the Christian religion. Easter is the day Christians recognize the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church celebrate Easter on different days. Catholics and most Christians around the world celebrate Easter on the first Sunday that occurs after the first full moon, which follows the vernal equinox of the Gregorian calendar (March 21st), but always after Jewish Passover.
The Orthodox Church uses a different calendar (the Julian calendar, where the vernal equinox falls on April 3rd), meaning that Easter is celebrated on the first full moon after Passover.
People in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Macedonia, Romania, and Russia primarily celebrate Orthodox Easter. Observers of Easter primarily celebrate the holiday by attending a church service, followed by a large meal with family and friends.
In the United States, the White House hosts an Easter Egg Roll. At the Vatican, one of the largest crowds of the year gathers in St. Peter’s Square to watch the Pope bless an icon of Christ and to hear his message.
Japanese celebrate Hanami, also known as the Cherry Blossom Festival. The cherry blossom, or sakura, is the national flower of Japan and the spring, when the blossoms arrive, represents a time of renewal and optimism.
The emergence of the flowers marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Due to their quick blooming season, the sakura represent the transience or fleeting nature of life, which is a major theme in Buddhism.
For the few short weeks that cherry blossoms are at their peak, people from all over the world make the trip to Japan. Due to its popularity, similar cherry blossom festivals are now widely celebrated across the world.
Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, represents the arrival of spring, the spring harvest, and the triumph of good over evil. For Hindus, Holi is one more the most significant festivals of the year, but people of other faiths celebrate it as well.
Per Hindu mythology, the demon king Hiranyakashyap was given a reward that, essentially, made him immortal, and he wanted to be worshipped. However, his son was a devotee of Lord Vishnu.
Angry that his son didn’t worship him, the king asked his sister Holika to sit in a pyre while holding his son. While sitting on the fire, Holika died but Prahlad (the king’s son) was saved by Lord Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu later killed the demon king Hiranyakashyap. The evening before Holi, known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi, during which people light a bonfire to signify the burning of the demon Holika.
People celebrate Holi by splashing water and smearing each other with colors known as Gulal. Holi is celebrated during the month of Phalguna in the Hindu calendar, and festivities start the evening of Purnima.
Holi is now widely celebrated anywhere with a large Hindu population, such as Suriname, Fiji, Guana, Mauritus, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Trinidad and Tobago, Indonesia, the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Learn how Indians celebrate Christmas.
Central Asia and the Middle East
Nowruz in Persian means “new day.” Nowruz marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the vernal equinox, March 21. Nowruz has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years by people from the Balkans to the Black Sea to Central Asia and the Middle East and is celebrated by over 300 million people globally.
Nowruz, while not a religious holiday, is a universal celebration of new beginnings, wishing prosperity to others, and welcoming in the future. Some Nowruz traditions include the “Haft Sin” table, which includes seven symbolic items starting with the Farsi letter “S” (wheatgrass, herbs, dried food) representing hope, health, wealth, and prosperity in the new year.
Many celebrate by cleaning their homes, visiting friends and neighbors, and sharing meals. On the last Wednesday of the year (Chaharshanbe Soori, or “Red Wednesday”) crowds father in public spaces to jump over fires, sing traditional songs, and repeat the phrase: “Give me your beautiful red color and take back my sickly pallor!”
Passover, also called Pesach, is a major Jewish holiday celebrating the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and the “passing over” of forces of destruction. The date of Passover is not set by the Gregorian calendar, but is based on the lunar Hebrew calendar and takes place on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan.
Jews celebrate the week-long festival through the observance of several important rituals. These include a traditional Passover meal known as a seder, the removal of leavened products from their homes, the substitution of matzo for bread, and the retelling of the exodus story.
One of the most important Passover rituals is removing all leavened food products (chametz) from homes and abstaining from them during the holiday. On the first two nights of Passover, families and friends gather for a religious feast known as a seder. While the story of the exodus is being told, various rituals corresponding to aspects of the narrative are performed.
Ramadan is a Muslim celebration during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which the Qu’ran is believed to have been revealed to the prophet of Islam, Muhammad.
For Muslims, Ramadan is a period of introspection, communal prayer in the mosque, and reading of the Qu’ran.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is a time for self-restraint. Muslims who observe this religious tradition spend the daylight hours fasting. Fasting is broadly interpreted as an obligation to refrain between dawn and dusk from food, drink, sexual activity, and immoral behavior.
At the sunset prayer, Muslims gather to break their fast with a meal called iftar that is shared among friends and extended family.
Have you tried these popular Ramadan foods?
Semana Santa translates from Spanish to English as “Holy Week” and is celebrated across Mexico, Central America, and South America. Semana Santa is a week-long celebration where thousands of people take part in elaborate parades and processions.
The holiday starts on Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter) and ends on Easter Sunday. To celebrate the holiday, you’ll often find daily Path of the Cross processions through city centers. In Guatemala, they celebrate by decorating the streets with flowers. In Nicaragua, intricately decorated boats sail around Lake Nicaragua.
Sham El-Nessim is a national holiday in Egypt marking the beginning of spring. The holiday is celebrated by both Christians and Muslims and falls on the Monday after Easter.
Sham El-Nessim dates back to 2700 BCE when ancient Egyptians would celebrate the spring harvest. To celebrate the day, Egyptians head out to natural areas such as parks, gardens, or zoos with their families and enjoy a traditional meal of salted fish, onions, and eggs.
Adults and children may also color and decorate eggs in various patterns, a traditional activity of ancient Egyptians, as eggs are symbolic of new life and new beginnings.
In Thailand, Songkran celebrates the Buddhist New Year and the beginning of spring with a massive water-throwing festival where people splash chilled water on others in the crowd.
The six-day celebration typically takes place in April and is observed in many ways throughout the country. Songkran is celebrated with family and friends by honoring the elders and welcoming prosperity into the new year with the water as a means of expression.
Water symbolically washes away the previous year, so people may get ready for the new one. Many families celebrate this time by cleaning their houses and other public spaces and visiting Buddhist temples.
If you’re sending money home to your loved ones during this celebratory season, Remitly makes international money transfers faster, easier, more transparent, and more affordable.
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