BY SARAH FISH
With March comes the Spring Equinox, the official start of a new season. There are many ways to celebrate the arrival of spring, and many of those ways have been practiced for centuries by various cultures around the world. If you don’t have your own spring traditions just yet, this list of six may inspire you to begin your own celebrations this year.
SONGKRAN WATER FESTIVAL IN THAILAND
Traditionally, Songkran falls on April 13 each year, but it is celebrated for five days, from the 12th to the 16th. Sanskrit for ‘astrological passage,” Songkran is the Thai celebration of a new year according to the solar calendar, when the sun makes its way from Pisces into Aries. It is a festival of unity and purifying and during celebrations people in Thailand close the roads for massive water fights. They also make offerings to Buddha and pour water over his effigies to symbolize the washing away of one’s sins and bad luck.
In Bradenton, you can have fun at the splash pad on the Riverwalk to celebrate Songkran without closing off any streets. Or host your own backyard Songkran celebration with water balloons and visiting with friends and family.
HOLI IN INDIA AND NEPAL
Color is the cornerstone of Holi, the spring tradition celebrated in India and Nepal. During Holi festivities, people gather around the time of the Spring Equinox, dressed usually in white. They have fun tossing brightly colored paints and powders around, covering themselves like beautiful canvases.
If you want to celebrate spring with vibrancy in Bradenton, consider taking a stroll through the Village of the Arts to take in color around every corner. This artistic
village is like an outdoor art exhibit sure to cure your craving from something colorful.
JAPAN’S CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
In Japan, spring marks the time that the cherry trees begin to blossom, and an entire festival, known as Hanami, or “flower viewing,” is dedicated to their beautiful, bright pink flowers. People in Japan celebrate by having outdoor gatherings beneath the cherry trees. Evening celebrations consist of hanging paper lanterns in the trees displaying a beautiful show of lights and color.
If flowers are your fancy, celebrate spring at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. There you can stroll through the majestic grounds and take in all the flora and fauna of spring in the Bradenton area. Renowned artist, musician and writer Patti Smith will perform again at the Selby among the flowers this year, an event not to miss.
“Patti Smith is recognized worldwide for her revolutionary mergence of artistic disciplines— especially poetry and rock,” said Jennifer Rominiecki, President & CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, on their website. “Selby Gardens applies interdisciplinary practice to our ongoing exhibition program, and we feel that Patti’s visionary methodology resonates with our organization on many levels.”
RIDING THE WAVES IN ENGLAND
In England, surfers from around the world visit a
part of the River Severn in Gloucestershire, England, to ride the biggest waves the river ever sees. This is due
to the high tide during the Spring Equinox causing the river to swell and become quite surfable.
Bradenton will see similar effects on its tidewaters so Floridians can celebrate similarly. Visit any of the gulf
beaches and splash around in the waves. If the water is too salty for you, take a dip in the public pool at the
G.T. Bray Park.
No one parties like the Pagans do when the Spring Equinox rolls around. Ostara is the official name for springtime for heathens who follow the seasons and after months of darkness, these celebrations focus on light and abundance.
Pagans follow the seasons and ebbs and flow of the earth, so Ostara is the celebration of the land becoming warm and fertile, when crops can begin to be sown and the natural world begins to wake from its wintry slumber.
If the natural cycles of the earth speak to you, celebrate like the Pagans do and start your own indoor herb garden. Planting seeds also refers to new ideas and goals. Ostara is the perfect time to begin new projects and set intentions for yourself.
However, you choose to celebrate the arrival of spring this year, it’s never too late to begin a new tradition. The overall theme of the season is positivity, growth, and gathering with loved ones—reasons to celebrate we can all agree on.