It’s that time of year again! A time when the days get longer, jackets become lighter, and nature slowly awakens from its winter slumber. Of course, this doesn’t apply to those who live in places where the sun shines year-round. (Lucky!) Still, Spring is a super exciting time to travel and study abroad or intern abroad. All around the world, countries are celebrating the arrival of spring in their own unique ways. And nothing says celebration like a culturally rich, fun- filled festival! Here are some spring festivals around the world where people from various cultures, religions, and nations gather together to welcome spring:
Las Fallas, March 15-19
Each year the city of Valencia, Spain celebrates the Las Fallas, a 5-day, non-stop party that celebrates the arrival of spring with fireworks, parades, fiestas, and bonfires. The main attractions of the festival are the “Fallas”- huge puppets made out of papier mache, wood, and cardboard and often represent Spanish social and political current affairs. The Fallas are filled with fireworks and are dramatically burnt on the last night of the festival.
Feria de San Marcos (St. Mark’s Fair), Mid-April to early May
La Feria de San Marcos is a famous three-week festival that is held in Aguascalientes, Mexico and attracts several million visitors every year. It first started in the early 17th century as a simple agriculture and livestock show, but has now grown into the largest festival in Mexico.
The festival has something for everyone to enjoy. There are art exhibits, sports competitions, and colorful parades. Wandering musicians, known as mariachis, give concerts in the streets, and regional folk dance groups from all over Mexico perform in the San Marcos Garden. For those who are a bit more daring, there are plenty of bullfights and cockfights to attend.
Songkran – Thai New Year, April 13-15
Looking for an epic water battle? Thousands of people take to the streets of Thailand each year to soak each other with buckets, balloons and water guns to celebrate Songkran, which marks the beginning of the lunar year in Thailand. The tradition traces back to the pre-Buddhist rituals of spring festivals, where the throwing water was seen as good luck to bring good rain for the crops.
Saint Patrick’s Day, March 14-18
Everyone wants to be Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day. Sure, you can celebrate this holiday at almost any pub in any corner around the world. But we can’t think of a better way to honor Saint Patrick than to enjoy the fun and festivities on the Emerald Isle itself. The largest Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations take place in Dublin, Ireland and run from March 14th to the 18th. There are parades, traditional Irish step dancing, fireworks, music, exhibitions, and even a treasure hunt!
Why Study Abroad During the Spring?
If you’re wondering when to study abroad, spring is a slightly more popular semester to study abroad during than fall for the following reasons, and more:
- You don’t miss football season if you’re on a campus with a good football program
- You miss the worst of winter (January and February) if you go from somewhere cold to somewhere warm
- You have the summer to research study or intern abroad options and the fall semester to prepare for your absence (course approval, subletting your housing, rubbing it in your friends’ and classmates’ faces, etc.)
- You have longer to travel, reflect and readjust before going back to school in the fall
However, it might be wise to consider studying abroad during the fall since it’s usually possible to extend your stay into the spring semester if you choose to do so. And if you think now that an academic year abroad is too long, you’ll change your mind once you’re over there. Trust us 😉 Or, avoid the dilemma altogether by enrolling in an academic year abroad up front! All CISabroad semester-long programs can be extended to a year, and you’ll save when enrolling in the second semester.
Are you currently abroad, did you study or intern abroad during the spring, or are you planning on studying or interning abroad during the spring? Let others know why you chose to go abroad during the spring by leaving a comment here!