There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in March:
- Stop and smell the flowers during Tokyo‘s Ueno Sakura Matsuri (March 20-April 8), timed to coincide with peak bloom times for the 1,000+ cherry trees in Ueno Park. The magic continues when the sun goes down; at night, visitors can admire the delicate blossoms–and celebrate the arrival of spring–by the soft light of illuminated paper lanterns.
- Looking to add a little spice to your life? Join the throngs at the annual South By Southwest festival (March 7-16) in the Lone Star State’s hip capital city for day after day of live music, film screenings, and presentations from some of the brightest minds in leading-edge tech.
- While pre-Lenten celebrations take many forms, only one centers around the reenactment of a historic fight using an unusual weapon: more than 100 tons of oranges. That would be the Battaglia delle Arance, the highlight of the Carnevale di Ivrea (March 2-4) that takes place in the Northern Italian town of the same name. Revelers can sign up to get juiced (and bruised)–or simply take in the “largest food fight in Italy” from afar while indulging on cured pork and wine.
- Celebrate Ireland’s patron saint…in the most Irish place in the world during Dublin‘s annual St. Patrick’s Day festival (March 14-17). Live music, craft beer, and a treasure hunt are only the beginning for this four-day extravaganza, which also boasts a fair, boat races, and a rollicking parade.
- “Island hop ’til you drop” at the 2014 Pasifika Festival (March 8-9) in Auckland, New Zealand. Unique “villages” will showcase the cultures of 11 Pacific Island nations–including festival newcomer Hawaii–complete with traditional food, authentic crafts, and live music and dance.
- Find your inner zen during International Yoga Week (March 1-7) in Rishikesh, India. Yogis from all disciplines are invited to the self-styled “Yoga Capital of the World” for seven days of lectures and demonstrations from gurus from around the globe. Namaste!
- Think Munich‘s only beer festival happens in the fall? Think again. Behold, the Bavarian city’s “other” beer festival, Starkbierzeit (March 21-April 6), an annual three-week celebration of “strong beer” (otherwise known as doppelbock) served up with a side of stone-lifting contests.
- The creative juices must have been flowing when the Maya came up with the design for El Castillo, the most recognizable structure in Chichén Itzá. Each year on the spring equinox (March 20), the sun casts a shadow on the impressive pyramid that resembles a snake slithering down its steps. (This phenomenon occurs on the autumn equinox as well.)
- Feeling down? Make a beeline for the ultimate feel-good event, the Bali Spirit Festival (March 19-23) held in Ubud, the Indonesian island’s cultural heart. Now in its seventh year, the festival continues to make good on its promise to “inspire and unify the global community through yoga, dance, healing, and the beat of world music.”
- Each year a tiny Belgian city hosts one of the strangest–and most unique–festivals in the world. The Carnaval de Binche (March 2-4), which culminates on Shrove Tuesday when local men known as Gilles parade down the streets wearing costumes and wax masks and shaking sticks to ward off evil spirits. See why UNESCO named the festival a “masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity” for yourself. It’s worth it.
What would you add to the list? Let us know what we’re missing by leaving a comment.
- Nat Geo Expeditions