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From St. Patrick’s Day to Cherry Blossoms: here are the main festive destinations in March

Maria Sergeeva
March 5, 2018

Party on St. Patrick's Day

Cities around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, with free parades, pub crawls and gobs of green-tinged festivities. This year, the Irish holiday falls on a Saturday, so be prepared to join parades and crowds of beer lovers in Chicago (where they dye the Chicago River green), New York City, St. Louis or Hot Springs, Arkansas, which boasts the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade — a mere 98 feet. South Boston, London, and Sydney, Australia will hold their St. Patrick’s Day parades this year on Sunday, March 18.

And in Dublin, the St. Patrick’s Festival stretches from March 15-19, with a grand parade on the 17th.

Despite its origins, St Patrick’s Day has since grown into a global celebration of Irish culture, with festivities (usually, involving a fair bit of drinking) held throughout the world. So wherever you are on that day, you will see  a lot of people wearing green jackets and shamrock-adorned top hats and dancing Irish dances.

They then crowd into bars across the world, where they down pints of Guinness from as early as 9 or 10am.

On March 17, the Lenten restrictions on eating meat and drinking alcohol are relaxed. However, St Patrick isn't technically a Saint. He's called Saint Patrick although he was never canonised by the Church.

Starkbierzeit,  Munich, Germany

Missed Oktoberfest and only one day for drinking beer to mark St Patrick’s Day is not enough for you? No worries, you can taste as much good beer as you wish during Munich strong beer festival Starkbierzeit. Lesser-known but equally beery, the spring festival Starkbierzeit has crowds half as large, and beer twice as strong as the Oktoberfest.

If Oktoberfest seems a little too crazy for a first visit to the city, the Strong Beer Festival is a slightly more mellow introduction to Munich.

The celebration hearkens back centuries to when Paulaner monks brewed heady Doppelbock beer – with an alcohol content above 7% – during Lent to help them make it through weeks of arduous fasting. Today, that very beer is still made at the Paulaner brewery, where the first keg of Starkbierzeit (strong beer season) is tapped, kicking off 2 weeks of festivities, until 13 March.

Less centralized than Oktoberfest, events are held in various breweries, beer halls and restaurants throughout the city, most famously at the Nockherberg Paulaner brewery or Löwenbräukeller. Grab a spot on a bench and order a tall glass, served only by the litre, but beware: this powerful tipple takes no prisoners.

Cheer on the cherry blossoms

Washington's cherished cherry tree blossoms signal the unofficial start of spring in the nation's capital, and it's coming earlier than usually this year.

News outlets report the National Park Service announced Thursday the projected peak date for the blossoms along the Tidal Basin will be March 17 to March 20.

No one can predict exactly when peak cherry blossom viewing will take place in Washington, D.C., but March 20 is the kick-off date for the city’s National Cherry Blossom Festival, commemorating Tokyo’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees to D.C. in 1912. Free daily music and cultural performances take place through April 8 at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area and the Blossom Kite Festival lifts off on March 31.

The festival itself shouldn’t miss peak bloom if the forecast holds up. The annual celebration runs from March 20 to April 15 this year, with the usual calendar of kite-flying fests, film screenings, parties, and other cultural events. There’s also the annual Cherry Blossom ten-mile foot race, and, a new staple of DC springtimes, Derek Brown’s cherry-blossom themed bar.

And of course you can go even feather and plan a trip to Japan to discover its Spring culture and witness the country’s iconic sakura in its soft colorful splendor. Springtime is the best time of the year to discover Japan. There is a site showing cherry blossom blooming forecast so you could plan your trip.

Adelaide Fringe, Australia

The Adelaide Fringe is the world's second-largest annual arts festival, and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, held in the South Australian capital of Adelaide. For 31 days and nights during February and March, it features more than 5,000 artists from around Australia and the world, featuring world premieres and hit shows.

Besides being Australia's largest open-access arts festival, it will let you ????? ?he capital of South Australia is in full summer swing between beach days and trips to Kangaroo Island. What makes Adelaide Fringe so special is that it’s open to anyone with a talent they’re willing to share, meaning visitors will see everything from cabaret to comedy and circus acts, in addition to musical performances, dance, theatre and the visual arts.

Wide elegant boulevards, spacious parklands and an unhurried lifestyle sets the city apart and entices you to indulge. Surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful beaches, the city has a compact cultural core making it every easy to get around.

Known for its food, wine and culture Adelaide is ranked Australia’s most livable city and is gateway to some of the best wine growing areas in the world. There are over 200 cellar doors on Adelaide’s doorstep. Adelaide is the wine capital of Australia.

Holi, India or Nepal

Holi, also known as the "festival of colours", is a Hindu spring festival celebrated all across India and Nepal and among Hindus in Bangladesh and Pakistan as well as in countries with large Indian subcontinent diaspora such as Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mauritius, and Fiji.

Today this ancient Hindu celebration won the hearts o? people from all over the world, colorful celebrations taking part in many big cities which are not directly connected to India.

However, there is nothing better than celebrating the festival in all its authenticity in India or Nepal.

Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil be destroyed the way Holika, the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, was killed in the fire.

The next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi – a free-for-all festival of colours, where people smear each other with colours and drench each other. Water guns and water-filled balloons are also used to play and colour each other. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings.

Holi 2018 began in the evening of Thursday, March 1 and ended in the evening of Friday, March 2.

BaliSpirit Festival, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Need some rest, dreaming of a beach vacation but convinced you'll soon tire of it anyhow? Go to Bali to experience one of the world's most inspiring yoga festivals, celebrating global community, world music and well-being, BaliSpirit, and you will never get bored.

Seeking to rejuvenate, invigorate and enlighten participants, BaliFest emphasises exploration and renewal combining wellness from yoga and dance classes to nutrition and health workshops), activities (music lessons, seminars, art classes, excursions to local temples and spiritual sites) and connection with fellow travelers.  And don’t forget to party during music nights with musicians from all over the world. 

Photo via Wikipedia Commons / Ardfern