Musement takes a look at 10 fascinating festivals and celebrations taking place around the world this March.
Just like it’s always 5:00 p.m, somewhere, there’s always somewhere with a cause for celebration. Here’s a look at 10 interesting events happening around the world this March.
1. March 3 – 4: Bali, Nyepi Day (Day of Silence)
The three-day Indonesian New Year celebration concludes on Nyepi, characterized by 24 hours of silence that begin at 6 am on March 3. If you’re in Bali during this time, expect to be immobile. While hotels have some leeway, there tends to be no electricity, no cars in transit, no moving around, no flights. During this period of self-reflection, some of the Balinese even fast. The lead-up includes the colorful Malesti Processions that take place a few days before. Nyepi Eve brings the Parade of Giants, characterized by a fleet of papier-mâché demons.
2. March 4: The Night of the Witches/Noche de Brujas, Catemaco, Mexico
While it might be impossible for mere Muggles to enroll in Hogwarts, there’s always the option of visiting the mystical town of Catemaco, Mexico’s witchcraft capital. The annual weekend of witchcraft and sorcery kicks off the first Friday of March with plenty of witches, shamans, and healers in attendance.
3. March 15 – 19: Las Fallas, Valencia
Valencia has much more to it than paella! This five-day festival in the Andalusian city leads up to and concludes on St Joseph’s Day. Las Falles, which means “the fires”, celebrates the patron saint of carpenters, a tradition that dates as far back as the Middle Ages. Craftsmen create ninots, larger-than-life papier-mâché puppets, and dolls representing well-known personalities and unusual caricatures. At the stroke of midnight on March 19, all the ninots are set on fire…except for the winner which will join the previous year’s winners at the Las Falles dedicated museum.
4. March 16 – 18: Purim Street Party, Tel Aviv
While Purim is a religious holiday celebrated by Jewish people around the world, Tel Aviv is a dandy place to celebrate. The holiday commemorates an event from the book of Esther: overturning the evil Hamam’s plot to massacre the Jews of Persia. It should come as no surprise that Tel Aviv pulls out all the stops for this national holiday for which costume-clad revelers imbibe and make merry at the street parties. In addition, locals also celebrate by offering donations to the needy.
5. March 17: Saint Patrick’s Day
6. March 17 – 18: Holi, India and Nepal
This springtime Hindu festival of love is characterized by colors and lots of them! However, confetti and colored powder are just one component of Holi. During the evening of Holika Dahan, celebrants burn pyres to symbolize the god Vishnu’s defeat of the demoness Holika–the triumph of good over evil. During Rangwali Holi itself, revelers hit the street early to make merry and cover themselves in a myriad of colored powders. Holi is celebrated everywhere, from the major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Kathmandu to the small towns.
7. March 18: Starkbierzeit, Munich
Yes, Oktoberfest is practically synonymous with Munich, but spring’s “Strong Beer Festival”, Starkbierzeit, is even bigger! While it’s a bit more mellow–tents open at 6pm and close by midnight– it’s no less lively as there are plenty of opportunities to dress in traditional garb, eat pretzels, drink a cold one and just be merry. The place to see and be seen is the Paulaner brewery’s tent. Ends April 2.
8. Spring Equinox, Chichen Itza, Mexico
This UNESCO-protected, spectacular Mayan ruin attracts a crowd to observe the luminous spectacle of on the pyramid of Kukulcán, a serpent deity. Starting in the late afternoon, the interplay of the sun and shadows create the illusion of a snake slithering down the staircase. The Mayans believed that this indicated Kukulcán’s return to earth.
9. March 24: The opening of Keukenhof Gardens, Amsterdam
Pictures–as spectacular as they are–just don’t do Keukenhof Gardens. This 32-hectare seasonal oasis located just outside of Amsterdam opens on March 24. It will remain open through May 15, showcasing more than seven million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. The sights and aromas are just dreamy! There is a limited capacity so make sure to book tickets well in advance.
10. March 25: Cherry Blossom Season, Kyoto
While it’s hard to predict the exact date the first blooms will emerge as Mother Nature can be fickle, March 21–the first day of spring–often means that those fabled blush pink cherry blossoms blushing the Kyoto landscape. This year they are expected to bloom on March 25th and last through mid-April. They make for one of the most ethereal, Instagram-friendly backdrops.