Spring celebrations: India and Europe

By: Ava Bleifuss

Spring is known for bringing in new life. It has the smell of fresh flowers and sounds of chirping birds. Spring can occur during different times of the year depending on the location of the country. There are many different ways that people celebrate spring. Two of the many festivals are Holi and May Day. 

Holi is a spring festival that is celebrated in India. In 2023, it will be celebrated on March 8. It is also known as the festival of color and is celebrated over two days. It is based on Hindu mythology, telling the story of Lord Vishnu and the triumph over the evil king.

Holi is a celebration of spring, family, and friendship. People gather in streets to splash colored powder on each other with colored water. Each color has its own meaning: red symbolizes love and fertility, yellow is the color for turmeric and is a natural remedy that is used in India, blue symbolizes the Hindu god Krishna, and green symbolizes new and fresh beginnings.

Families decorate their homes and share delicious treats with each other. Foods that are commonly eaten during Holi are: thandai, dahi bhalle, puran poli, malpua, rasmalai, badan phirni, coconut milk murukku, and bhang pakora. 

May Day is celebrated on May 1st, right before the beginning of summer. This holiday is a celebration of ancient origins. It started in Roman Britain where soldiers danced around decorated trees to celebrate the coming of spring while thanking their goddess, Flora. Flora is the goddess of flowering plants, and bringing in new life. She is often correlated with being the goddess of the budding of youth.

The Maypole dance is usually done during the celebration of May Day. There is a pole in the middle with colorful bright ribbons that people hold on to when they dance. When the dance is done correctly, the ribbons create a beautiful pattern around the pole. After they do the dance the other way, they undo the ribbons around the pole which symbolizes the longer days as summer approaches.

There are different ways to celebrate May Day. In Austria and Germany, the pole is painted with blue and white stripes and is put in the middle of a village. This is then followed by a procession. Another tradition is that people try to climb to the top of the Maypole. 

Spring connects the end of hibernation to the beginning of growth and summer. People around the world all celebrate this wonderful season in many different ways. Regardless of where people live, festivals and celebrations of spring are something that everyone has in common.

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