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Spring is here!
‘Where flowers bloom, so does hope.’
– Lady Bird Johnson
Few can resist the early calls of spring: melodious song, endless green and the harsh, cold winter finally coming to an end. We can enjoy walks on the beach again and successfully dry our laundry outdoors. For our predecessors the coming of spring was even more important, since a cruel winter could mean the death of precious crops that were meant to feed their families. Spring signified the start of a bountiful season and it was celebrated as such – with simple habits that were transformed into traditions all around the world today.
I was born in Bulgaria, a country known for being one of the world’s biggest producers of rose oil, and for its freezing winter temperatures. So we officially welcome spring on the first of March when people all over Bulgaria buy and exchange trinkets made of red and white thread and pin them to their clothing. White symbolises purity and snow, while red stands for life and the sun.
Sometimes, they’re even worn as jewellery, and they are kept on until the people see flower blossoms or a stork, or until the 31st March arrives, and they are then tied to a blossoming tree. We call this the celebration of Grandma March, since we tend to think of winter as a grumpy old lady. The decorations make her happy again and she allows the warmth of spring back into our country.
In Russia there is a different spring feast called Maslenitsa. It is celebrated in the last week before Easter Lent (a period of fasting). Thin pancakes that look like the spring sun are made in every household, and then people go out in the streets wearing costumes and masks celebrating the passing of winter by singing and dancing. Towards the end of the week, they forgive each other for the past year’s mistakes and start off Lent with a clean slate.
On the other side of the planet, Japan and Korea welcome spring by celebrating the blooming of the cherry trees which are planted everywhere. People have picnics under the trees, laying blankets on the carpet of white blossoms and spending the afternoon watching the blossoms fall like snow.
England, a country slightly closer to us, celebrates spring on the first of May and calls it May Day. Since it coincides with Workers’ Day there are usually parades, but mostly music and dancing enjoyed by all in the streets. Other countries such as Austria and Germany also partake in this joyous holiday but they hold their parties the night before.
Spring in Malta is one of the prettiest seasons in the year – it is when nature is at its finest. It is a great time to visit Malta and combine an English Language course with short holiday as the weather is not hot and the countryside is in full bloom. Spring is also a time when Easter is celebrated, a festive season that is enjoyed by the young and not so young. During the Easter week, you will find Processions, Easter vigils and other traditional practices are carried out in a number of towns and villages.
Every country celebrates spring differently – so how does your country welcome spring? Do you have any special spring holidays?
Focus on Fluency
Melodious – pleasant to the ear;
Predecessors – the people who lived before us;
Bountiful – rich;
To stand for – to mean;
Trinkets – ornaments, jewellery;
Fasting – not eating certain foods;
To start off with a clean slate – to start from zero
About the Author
Roberta read English at the University of Malta and became a teacher the day after her last exam. She has recently completed her CertTESOL. When she is not at work she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on and petting other people’s cats. She swears she will get a cat of her own one day.
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