Travel inspiration and insider tips

3 years, 11 months ago

Spring Celebrations 2016

March 15th is ‘Dumbstruck Day’, so wherever you are in the world you can be shocked to the core and it’s fine. We’re choosing to be ‘dumbstruck’ by ridiculous ‘Observance Days’ – to the blissfully ignorant, that means any day you feel like celebrating, anything at all, with at least one other willing participant. In March alone you can mark, ‘Everything You Do Is Right Day’, ‘Something on a Stick Day’ and our favourite, ‘Near Miss Day’. April comes roaring in with, ‘International Tatting Day’ on the 1st and hits its stride on the 6th for, ‘Write Your Own Epitaph Day’ (that’s going to be mobbed, you know it). And, if you’ve got any joy left over for May, we’re recommending, ‘Leprechaun Day’, ‘Towel Day’ and ‘Learn About Composting Day’.

While we don’t want to put you off celebrating any chance you get. It’s only fair to point out the above events might prove disappointing. So, just in case ‘tatting’ doesn’t turn out to be as much fun as it sounds, here are some celebrations to really get excited about this spring.

St. Patrick’s Day, 17 March, Worldwide

Only Ireland takes St. Patrick’s Day as a public holiday. The rest of us, no matter how strong our Celtic roots, have to make do with celebrating the weekend before – unless 17th March is a Saturday or Sunday, then all bets are off. So if green face-paint and Guinness are already distant memories, we hope they were good ones. And for those smart enough to be in Dublin or Belfast, the best is yet to come. ‘St. Patrick’s Festival’, as its now known, starts on March 17th and runs to March 20th this year. Expect the usual enormous parades bringing both over-excited cities to a riotous standstill on the big day itself. Anywhere with room to swing a shillelagh is up for celebrating and there are concerts, ceilidhs, parties, live music, mini-festivals and events almost non-stop for the entire four days. The atmosphere is incredible, but very, very lively. So, if you don’t like crowds, noise and complete strangers declaring their undying love for you, hold off until May and visit for eerily quiet, ‘Leprechaun Day’ instead.

International Day of Happiness, 20 March

UN Global Observance Days have a bit more gravitas than Totally-Made-Up-Observance-Days: they usually recognise something worth recognising and more than two people know about them. If you want to join millions marking International Day of Happiness this year, it’s March 20th and it’s not difficult. Just do something you love, say ‘thank you’ and mean it, spend all day smiling or take The Action for Happiness Pledge. As Happiness Ambassador 2015, Pharrell Williams, said, ‘Happiness is your birth right’.

April Fool’s Day, 1 April, Worldwide

It’s the international day of being outraged by a news story, starting a Twitter spat and realising it’s the first of April – too late. We’ve all been there. Believe nothing is our advice (at least until noon). And if you’re in France, beware small children trying to stick paper fish on your back for Poisson d’avril.

King’s Day, 27 April, The Netherlands

As far as the Dutch are concerned, any excuse for a party is a good one. So when we tell you King’s Day is the country’s biggest annual event, think big. From Dokkum to Eindhoven, everywhere takes a holiday on April 27th and major cities can keep it going – night and day – for days. First timers should try Amsterdam for King’s Night, Europe’s biggest street market all over the city, wild boat parties anywhere with water, the incredibly cute kid’s market at Vondelpark and pretty much endless eating, drinking, dancing and playing. Seasoned King’s Day-ers will know Rotterdam’s the city for fantastic live music in and around April 27th. And Utrecht gets a special mention for the King’s Day Market on Miffy Square.

International Jazz Day, 30 April, WashingtonDC

Last year Paris hosted International Jazz Day on April 30th, this year it’s Washington DC’s turn. But the whole point of this event is to honour the role of jazz in, ‘uniting people in all corners of the globe’. So even if you can’t make it to Duke Ellington’s birthplace for the day, chances are somewhere handier is celebrating. Or you could just head to Paris where, by all accounts, they’re determined to give as good as 30th April 2015 – if not better.

Festival de Cannes, 11-22 May, Côte d’Azur

There are bigger and noisier film festivals these days, but Cannes is still hard to beat for good old-fashioned glamour. It’s the one with the yachts, outrageous stunts, ‘what were you thinking?’ frocks and the very real possibility of a ‘Lars Von Trier Year’ (as 2011 will always be known). And anyway, who really needs a reason to visit the South of France in May?

Final word on celebrating this spring; most events you can just turn up for, paste on a smile or pick up a trumpet. But if your little heart is set on once-in-a-lifetime King’s Day in Amsterdam this year, you should start planning ahead, right now.

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