The Colorful Celebrations of Spring

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Spring is a season bursting with bright colors, new life, growth, and, most importantly, a multitude of holidays! Many cultures and countries celebrate this transitional period to rejoice in the rejuvenation and vibrancy of the season. Easter, a holiday with roots in Christianity and the resurrection of a religious figure, is one of the most recognizable of these celebrations. However, Easter is only one of many springtime celebrations that occur in the months of March and April.

Colorful powder is often thrown into the air to celebrate this festival of colors. Image courtesy of google.com

The Holi Festival, for example, is an Indian holiday celebrated in the Phalguna month, which typically occurs in March. Commonly referred to as the “festival of colors” or the “festival of love”, this holiday originated from Indian religion but has evolved to become widely celebrated around the world. This day- and night-long festival is a rejoicing of the triumph of good over evil, and where sentiments of unity and joy are prevalent. Families and friends participate in a sacred bonfire, and more famously, celebrate the festival with vibrantly colored powder.

Matzo, a type of unleavened bread, is often eaten during Passover. Image courtesy of google.com

Passover is another holiday steeped in culture, originating from Jewish religion and history. A commemoration of Jewish liberation from Egyptian slavery as well as the mercifulness of the Jewish God, this holiday begins on the 15th day of the Jewish calendar’s seventh month, Nisan. This seven to eight day-long celebration is a time in which all leaven, a substance usually used in the baking of bread, is forbidden. Instead, participants consume only matzo, an unleavened bread that symbolizes the suffering of their Jewish ancestors. The holiday is a time of great ceremony, particularly on the first evening when a family dinner called seder is held. The meal consists of prayers, recitations, and foods with significant historical and religious significance.

The holiday Cinco de Mayo, meaning “the fifth of May” in Spanish, is a commemoration of Mexican history and heritage that is celebrated in both Mexico and the United States. Also known as the Battle of Puebla Day, this celebration honors the victory of President Benito Juárez Garcia and the Mexican army’s victory over the French army in 1862. While the battle did not ultimately prevent France from invading the country, the win raised hopes and morale in Mexico. Although the day is not recognized as an official Mexican holiday, it is widely acknowledged and celebrated in the U.S. and parts of Mexico. The United States first became involved in the holiday in 1863 when California expressed its solidarity with Mexico against the French.

Traditional Mexican garments and costumes are generally worn during celebratory dances and parades. Image courtesy of google.com

The holiday has evolved over the years and is now considered a time to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage as well as build a sense of community. In America, the holiday is generally celebrated with parades and parties that feature Mexican cuisine, Mariachi bands and Mexican folk music, costumes, and dancing. Mexican celebrations usually take place in Puebla, where the historic battle occurred, and festivities are focused more on military parades and re-enactments.

What is truly incredible is that these holidays have evolved to become not only local celebrations, but festivities that are enjoyed by many other cultures and communities. Holidays such as these help spread connectivity and understanding between countries and lend to a sense of global unity. There are many holidays celebrated during the season of spring, including National Women’s History Month, which you can read more about here. Even if these holidays are not something you would normally celebrate, take a few moments this spring to learn more about international culture and heritage as the vibrant spring season is celebrated worldwide.