With the warmer weather, longer days and a countryside that is bursting into colour, spring is definitely a welcome arrival after the long and chilly winter. Spring is greeted in so many different ways by different cultures around the world, where the new season is celebrated with parties, religious festivals and events that will make you want to get on the first plane out to join in the celebrations.
I looked into some of the colourful spring festivals from around the world, to give you some inspiration to start planning and booking your next holiday as the resorts, along with the flowers and trees, come to life at the start of a new season.
The Blossom Festival, Japan
Japan’s cherry trees (sakura) are famous all over the world, being among the prettiest spring blossoms to be seen anywhere. Each spring the delicate flowers bloom and Japan becomes a sea of pink, and everyone heads outside to celebrate the start of the new season.
However, the blossoms only last around a week or two before the petals fall, so there’s not much time to see them. Flower experts can make educated guesses as to when the cherry trees will bloom, but the weather plays a big part in it all so it can be unpredictable. If you do manage to get there at the right time, all the planning will all be worth it!
If you are booking a holiday to Japan in the spring, there might be a few ways to make sure you get there in time to see the pretty pink flowers. In the south, Okinawa’s Cherry Trees start things off, usually blooming in early February, before the blossoms come out in the north, so that’s a great place to start. Knowing when the blooms appear in Okinawa, you can then predict when they are likely to appear in the location you want to holiday in. Cherry trees on Islands such as Kyoto and Tokyo usually bloom in late March and early April, before Hokkaido rounds the season off in early May.
Once the cherry trees are in bloom, locals and tourists head out to the parks for Hanami. This is where everyone eats and drinks under the blossoms. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Tokyo during the sakura season, head to Shinjuku Gyoen to celebrate, as it is home to over 1,000 cherry trees and you will find yourself in pink paradise.
RCI has 78 affiliated resorts in Japan for its members to visit.
Corpus Christi Flower Carpets, Tenerife
The Corpus Christi Flower Festival is a sweet-smelling and colourful celebration. It occurs all over the world to welcome spring, but the first Corpus Christi Festival of the year takes place in Tenerife in May. It is one of the biggest and most important fiestas on the island. La Orotava is one of the oldest and most traditional towns on the island and, on the day of the fiesta, the streets become covered in colourful works of art made of tiny flower petals.
As well as flower carpets, a huge sand mural is created outside the Town Hall in La Orotava which is always an incredible sight to behold. Though the stunning carpets are the main attraction, drawing huge numbers of tourists every year.
The flower carpets are created in the most intricate detail, taking the artists hours to make. Watching the artists at work is a privilege and a fascinating pastime. Making the carpets is usually a family affair, with many generations helping, which makes the whole celebration, and being part of it, even more special.
You can wander around the streets of La Orotava while the carpets of flowers are being pieced together. However, once they are completed they don’t last long. In the early evening, the Corpus Christi procession walks over them, destroying the carpets and scattering the petals everywhere. So get there nice and early so you can be sure to see them at their best!
There are 59 RCI-affiliated resorts on the sunny Spanish island of Tenerife.
Sky Lantern Festival, Taiwan
Signalling the end of the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) and celebrating the start of spring, the Sky Lantern Festival takes place in Taiwan. The lighting of lanterns can be traced back to over 2,000 years ago when Buddhist monks would light lanterns to honour Buddha, and the tradition slowly spread across the country.
These days, setting off lanterns at the end of the Spring Festival is a ritual that takes place all over China, but the biggest festival is in Pingxi in New Taipei City in Taiwan.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all over China, as well as tourists from around the world, flock to Pingxi to set off their own lanterns. If you’re lucky enough to attend, you just have to take part and join in with the festivities. You must buy a lantern and write your wishes and ambitions for the year ahead onto a slip of paper that goes up with your lantern, before lighting the flame and watching the paper lantern float up into the sky.
Seeing thousands of glowing lanterns floating up into the night sky is a sight to behold, and one that will be forever ingrained in your bank of magical moment memories. Make sure you get there nice and early, as Taipei usually attracts more visitors than it can hold!
There are four RCI-affiliated resorts in Taiwan.
Holi Festival, India
You’ll struggle to find a more colourful festival anywhere in the world than the Holi Festival in India - which is known as the Festival of Colours, for rather obvious reasons.
Holi is an ancient religious Hindu festival originally conceived to celebrate the demise of the demoness Holika, as well as the end of the winter. However, because it is so much fun, the festival attracts huge numbers of people taking part, regardless of their religion, and is now celebrated all over the world.
The evening before the Festival of Colours takes place, the religious aspects of the event are put into motion which sees the locals lighting bonfires and performing rituals to banish evil from the world.
The next morning is when India becomes even more colourful than usual. People take to the streets and smear coloured powder all over each other's faces, while water balloons and water guns drench everyone. If you’re out and about on the streets you’ve got little to no chance of staying clean and dry, so embrace it! Though, make sure you wear old clothes, as it is obviously messy. The celebrations take place in the streets and parks, and will be accompanied by people playing drums and singing - it’s a very cheerful and joyous festival.
The streets are usually packed full of people taking part, and it can get a little rowdy. The best time to go out is early in the morning to experience it all and get colourful and wet before things get too busy. It usually starts to calm down around lunch time, when people celebrate with their families, but expect to look like a human rainbow for some time afterwards.
There are 320 RCI-affiliated resorts in India, in mountains, in towns, to take you into the heart of wonderful India.
There are so many fantastic festivals and events around the world that celebrate the arrival of spring. To give your holidays a different spin and to do something different, with a little planning you could be experiencing one of these exciting celebrations on your next holiday - and what better time to get away than in the spring, after the long dark days of winter.
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