Bye-bye Bunnies: Different Spring Traditions Around the World

Posted on 04/01/2024
Spring has sprung and cultures the world over celebrate the season of fresh color and new life. It’s not all about bunnies, lambs, chicks, eggs, chocolate and spring flowers. Here are just a few different traditions that inspire us to travel in the springtime:
 
Climb a Mayan Pyramid on the Spring Equinox in Mexico
Spring officially begins on the Spring Equinox, usually March 20, the astrological moment when the Sun is directly above the equator, making day and night the same length. Many ancient cultures observe summer and winter solstices: the longest and shortest days of the year.
 
But for Mayan culture, the annual spring equinox is a pivotal moment on the calendar. Ancient spring equinox traditions continue today, often in association with Mayan pyramids, the focal points of Mayan community life driven by their advanced understanding of astronomy and intricate calendar systems. Many Mayan pyramids were designed to align with astronomical events.
 
At Chichen Itza, for example, the late afternoon sun casts shadows upon the pyramid, creating the illusion of a serpent slithering down the steps—a phenomenon known as the "snake of sunlight,” imparting blessings and fertility upon the land during the season of planting and renewal.
 
Today, descendants of the ancient Maya gather at sacred pyramids sites dressed in traditional attire or in white, to pay homage to their heritage and participate in age-old rituals. Some practices include climbing the pyramid, offering fruits, flowers or incense. These days, participants invoke personal spiritual blessings more than for the upcoming agricultural season.
 
Visitors during the spring equinox can visit pyramids to witness the alignment of sunlight and shadow on the pyramids, and can often participate in guided tours or cultural events.
Image: Getty: Sunrise during spring equinox in Dzibilchaltun, the temple of the seven dolls
 
Satisfy Your (Maple) Sweet Tooth at a Sugar Shack in Quebec
The Canadian province of Quebec produces nearly 3/4 of the world’s maple syrup. And it’s a sure sign of spring when visitors flock to sugar shacks to watch maple sap, harvested from trees as the sun warms them up after a long winter, transformed into the unmistakable taste of Canada.
 
Families enjoy horse-drawn sled rides, eat pancake breakfasts with syrup slathered over piping hot pastries, breathe in the sweet scent of syrup on the boil, even roll maple syrup candy on sticks in the snow. It’s the most exciting time to visit the forests of rural Quebec.
 
But the elegant and stylish Four Seasons Montreal is bringing an elevated slice of Quebec maple syrup tradition to the heart of the second largest French speaking city in the world until mid-April in 2024.
 
The Four Seasons Sugar Shack Station is a spin on a traditional Quebec sugar shack experience – Four Seasons style - with dishes that make you rethink what you think should be made with maple syrup. Maple French Toast that's been soaking in a rich custard so rich. A Maple Latte so perfectly sweet, it whispers "spring is here" with every sip. And then there’s the Maple Tini— the Espresso Martini's cooler, maple-infused cousin - topped with maple-infused foam, and garnished with a hand-crafted maple tile. (Pictured below, courtesy Four Seasons Montreal.)
 
Dine on Decapods to Celebrate Easter in Martinique
Easter celebrations take a twist in the French Caribbean paradise of Martinique. While your family is snacking on chocolate bunnies and eggs… locals in Martinique celebrate spring with cuisine focused on a local shellfish delicacy: crab.  
 
“Crab Matoutou” (image below courtesy of Martinique Tourism Authority) was originally prepared by indigenous Arawak and Caribbean populations but gained popularity among arriving Europeans. The crab provided much-needed protein, especially during Christianity’s fasting traditions during the 40 days of Lent before Easter that excluded meat.
 
 
Succulent crabs, seasoned with fresh garlic, shallots and onions, rest in a bed of fluffy rice, infused with tomatoes, lime, and aromatic herbs, with a gentle heat added by hot chilli peppers, and a twist of flavors like bay and cinnamon. It’s become Martinique’s standout Easter tradition, with locals preparing for crab feasts and beachside crab bakes weeks before Easter.
 
Dance Around the Maypole in Great Britain
One of England’s most longstanding spring traditions dates back to ancient pagan rituals celebrating the season of fertility. Girls dressed in festive spring attire dance around a Maypole holding ribbons that weave an intricate pattern on the pole. The Maypole is a tall wooden pole, often decorated with flowers, ribbons, and other ornaments. It's usually erected in a central location in a village or town square. (Pictured top. Credit: Getty)
 
While the observance of May Day and the Maypole tradition has waned in some urban areas, there has been a resurgence of the tradition in recent decades. Many villages and towns across England still hold May Day celebrations, complete with dances around the Maypole.
 
Additionally, schools, community groups, and cultural organizations often organize May Day events to keep the tradition alive and introduce it to new generations. The Maypole dance has become a cherished part of British cultural heritage, and efforts are made to preserve and promote it as a symbol of community, springtime, and tradition in Great Britain.
 
START YOUR SPRING TRIP!
 
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