Spring is just around the corner and while many people are heading to Keukenhof in the Netherlands for a pleasant stroll among the tulips the rest of the world is partying, welcoming the warmer weather in good style. Food fights, water fights, penis parades, fireworks…
Carnivale di Ivrea – Italy
If you’ve got a thing with food fights, then this orange throwing festival is just the thing to get you kick-started in celebrating Spring. The main battle is March 6th at 14:00 in Ivrea but be warned, it is not for the weak! Orange throwers dress in costume and party all day and all night in the Piedmont region of Turin. It usually takes place on the three days leading up to Shrove Tuesday, this year falling on March 5th to 9th, 2011.
Las Fallas – Valencia, Spain
The streets of this buzzing Spanish city are filled with papier-mâché puppets during the festival called Las Fallas. Hundreds of them, built by local artists and costing thousands of Euros and months to construct, decorate the city before the grand festival finale when they are lit on fire amongst the excitement of a fireworks display. Just as much fun for foreigners as it is for locals, Las Fallas is one Spanish fiesta you won’t want to miss.
Scoppio del Carro – Florence
Scoppio del Carro takes place on the morning of Easter Sunday, you might say this Tuscan city also has a thing for pyrotechnics. A thirty-foot cart (which has been used during this festival for more than 500 years) is pulled from Prato al Porto to Piazza del Duomo by a team of white oxen, all the time surrounded by crowds clad in 15th century attire. There is a dove and some fire… at some point the entire square erupts in fireworks and the party begins.
Kanamara Matsuri – Japan
Japanese culture welcomes the spring with a huge penis festival. That’s right. While all the ladies are gawking at the pretty spring flowers, the men are dancing through the streets around giant phalluses painted in bright colours to the rhythm of traditional music. The parade eventually leads to Kawasaki Daisha Temple where the party continues with penis shaped candies, vegetables and decorations. The festival falls on the first Sunday of April.
Full-moon party – Thailand
Imagine partying with upwards of 20,000 people on a paradise island. Is it a dream come true? Koh Phangan’s full moon parties are world-renown for the Goa and trance music as much as the experience. It’s an all-night extravaganza and takes place on the night before or after, depending on the organizers, or every full moon. Spring is when the parties are in full swing so stop by, stay a while and keep an eye on your flip-flops if you ever want to see them again (they have a tendency to go missing).
Vappu Festival – Finland
The most important thing about attending the Vappu Festival is getting yourself a white cap. Traditionally in Finland when you graduate university you’re given a white sailor-style cap. Every year on April 30th the streets of Helsinki are filled with uni grads for a day of drinking and dancing. The main event its at the Havis Amanda statue. She is hosed down with water and given a white cap, at which time the champagne bottles are uncorked and the night begins!
Thingyan is another word for “the biggest water fight you’ve ever seen in your life.” When it’s time to celebrate the Burmese New Year Water Festival, usually falling around mid-April, the locals really bring out the big guns, meaning SuperSoakers. There are five days of festival, mostly just relaxing and enjoying the holiday but the final day is a riot. Dress for the occasion, no one escapes the city dry!
What’s your favourite way to celebrate Spring?