Spring is not just the time for nature’s rebirth, warmer days, and the return of migrating birds, but it’s also the time of major secular and religious celebrations that everyone should be aware of. Here are a few that you should definitely know about.
Every year on March 8th, women from all over the world are honored for their achievements, both past, and present. Apart from the traditional celebrations and presents, this day advocates for gender equality, equal rights, and support for women and women-owned companies and organizations, as well as educating people about women’s issues and accomplishments. It is celebrated in almost every country, and in some, such as China, Russia, and Ukraine, it is even a national holiday.
St. Patrick’s Day began as a religious commemoration of Ireland’s patron saint but has now evolved into a general celebration of Ireland and Irish culture. It is observed on practically every continent throughout the world, and it involves attending parades, wearing green clothing, painting shamrocks on one’s face, and saying “Kiss me, I’m Irish.” To express their solidarity and unity as a country, people across the world eat traditional foods, drink Guinness, and support Irish-owned businesses such as Tara Irish Clothing that produces and sells authentic Aran sweaters you see everywhere around you on St. Patrick’s. Some places even have their own customs; for example, the Chicago River is colored green every year on St. Patrick’s Day!
Easter is a holy religious event for all Christians around the world, but few people know that it is celebrated differently and on various days depending on whether you are Catholic or Orthodox. This year, the Catholic Easter will be held on Sunday, April 17th, in the midst of spring. In many countries, this religious holiday also has some secular aspects, for example, the Easter bunny, the egg hunt, and the gift baskets with stuffed animals, candies, and other gifts.
There are around 300 million Orthodox Christians, particularly in Eastern Europe, that celebrate Easter according to the earlier Julian calendar. For the Orthodox, Easter is the most important holiday of the year, and the traditions and customs around it are strictly religious. On that day, they go to the midnight church services, bake a special type of sweet bread that is only served during religious holidays, dye eggs red, which symbolizes the blood of Jesus and crack them in the morning at the family gathering.
Mother’s Day is a celebration that honors the mother, motherhood, and the role that mothers play in society. It is observed in more than 40 countries around the world, but the date depends on the country, usually being celebrated either in March or May. Although not a religious holiday, in some parts of the world it can be associated with religious figures or practices, for example, the Christians link Mother’s Day to Virgin Mary. It is also celebrated differently according to the national traditions: while in Nepal it is a day when moms are honored with special foods, in the United States they are used to receiving flowers and greeting cards.