As spring approaches, the world is filled with festivities and celebrations from all traditions and cultures. Spring season is associated with the first heat waves, the sun and the blossoming of a festive mood. Every society celebrates this joyous season differently yet it all comes down to this season of flowers.
In Wales, following a mainly continental European tradition, spring means the much awaited Easter break for students . But apart from school holidays, Easter, celebrated every year around the time of the vernal equinox, is a Christian festival which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Alice Smith, a student in Cardiff will be going back home to East London to celebrate this occasion alongside her family. She says: “On this day, we end lent, a period preceding Easter where we abstain from eating meat. People give up their most loved possession during this period as a sign of sacrifice. Few people give up drinking, smoking but most commonly, people give up eating meat.”
“On Easter, our day begins with prayer at the church and we prepare a lavish lunch with egg as a main ingredient. Easter eggs and lilies are exchanged amongst families and friends. Every year, we also buy expensive and elaborate dresses as a part of celebration. Our churches are decorated with bright colours of yellow, white and green,” she added.
As well as Easter, there are several other spring festivals celebrated around the world. Each one varies a lot depending where you are in the world or what culture and beliefs you follow.
In Thailand, spring brings the Songkran Water Festival, Thailand’s New Year is celebrated from the 13th April to the 16th. Park Sang Yoo, a resident of Bangkok celebrates this day with a lot reverence and to him it is a day when elders give blessings to the young ones. He says: “We begin our day by meeting the elders of our family. Children and young people pour a little water on their hand and ask for the elder’s blessing. We also visit temple and on this day we bathe the Lord Buddha.
“Thereafter, we throw water to each other because April in Thailand is the hottest month. The water practice is really fun and one of the tourism activity as well. The festival provides an opportunity to visit relatives and spend time with family. Most people who live abroad, travel back to their homeland to reunite with the family and celebrate this festival together.”
India too welcomes the spring in the form of Holi, the world famous festival of colours on 27th March. This day is rooted in Indian mythology, where people celebrate their devotion to God. According to the Indian scriptures, on this day Lord Vishnu came to protect his beloved devotees from being burnt alive, therefore Holi also marks a day to celebrate love and companionship.
Swati Agarwal says: “In India, the festival is celebrated as a day to rejoice in Lord Krishna’s love and by colouring each other in gulaal (red colour). People express their affection to each other. This is a day to have fun. Elders and young children alike play with colours. There is a saying in our society, ‘All grievances are pardoned today and everyone gets together with a fresh start’.”
Also in Babylon, the spring season brings the 12-day religious festival, Kha b’ Nisan Assyrian, starting from April 1st celebrated by the Assyrians as their New Year.
Anas Waheed worked in Saudi Arabia for two years and he says: “This day is marked by parades, dances, parties and poetry recitals. People get together and dance together by forming circles. This day we pray to the almighty and thank him for everything.