Springtime is here! Winter is gone and it is time to put away the heavy coats and mittens. There are so many reasons to enjoy spring from the flowers blooming to the long-awaited countdown till summer break. Families and communities are always celebrating in the spring. With the festivities in mind, I kept going back to mythology and how ancient people celebrated the spring. There are so many cultures around the world whose celebrations can be tranced back more than a millennium. So, let’s go back in time and explore some of the holidays I found.

The first celebration is the Holi festival. It is a Hindu celebration that starts on the last full moon of the Hindu lunisolar calendar. This festival is centuries old, with descriptions in religious works like Jaimini’s Purvamimamsa-Sutras and is also noted in poetry from 4 BC.

The festival steams from a Hindu myth about King Hiranyakashyap wanting his subjects to worship him as a god, but his son Prince Prahlada remained faithful to the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu. The King was angry about this and he and his sister Holika plotted to kill him. Holika was immune to fire and persuaded Prahalda to go on a pyre with her. As the pyre burned Lord Vishnu protected Prahlada for his faith and Holika perished in the fire.

Today it is celebrated in different ways all over the world, but it is especial popular in India.  The most famous tradition is in India where people throw powered colors at each other. Each color has a specific meaning for example red symbolizes love and fertility. They also have bonfires and dances.

Another festival that is celebrated in the spring is the Lantern Festival in China. This festival is part of the Chinese New Year celebration important to families who will get together on this day to light lanterns. The holiday started with the Western Han dynasty. Emperor Wen made this day a national holiday and declared that families’ light lanterns to celebrate peace in the nation.

Along with peace it also held a significance of love and freedom in ancient China. Women at the time were forbidden to leave their households. On the night of the Lantern Festival, women would go outside and light lanterns and interact with people. It also held great religious significance to the people as they would light lanterns and give offerings to their gods.

The last festival is not a holiday that is still celebrated, and it is taught about by our very own Marylee Delaney, which is where I found this information. This ancient Greek festival was celebrated in honor of Demeter, the goddess of the agriculture. The myth states that when Demeter’s daughter Persephone was taken by Hades, Demeter fell into a deep depression. She did not bless the harvest during this time and no food was able to be produce. She goes to the town Eleusis, and meets Baubo, who tells Demeter so many jokes to make her feel better, and it worked! She continued to carry out her duties and becomes the patroness of Eleusis.

The festival was wildly intense and secretive. It was only celebrated by those who were inducted into the ritual, and those inductees could not reveal the events of the Eleusinian mysteries or they would be punished. Eleusinian mysteries lasted nine days. On the first, all participants will assemble in Eleusis carrying symbols sacred to Demeter. The next day first time participants were initiated by bathing in the ocean and putting on new linens. Events were held in honor of Demeter such as athletic competitions, building alters, drinking the potent beverage kykeon, and reenacting Demeter’s search for her daughter.

Springtime is a wonderful time of celebration and joy. Even people in ancient times knew this. Holidays both in the past and present hold significant meaning to each culture. No matter how it is celebrated in the past and how it is celebrated now, lets all enjoy this wonderful season and the future to come.




Ho, Fefe, and Amanda Xi. “Lantern Festival.” Chinese New Year, 2021, chinesenewyear.net/lantern-festival/.

“Holi: A Joyful and Colorful Festival.” Edited by Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India, Holi, 2005, www.holifestival.org/.

Kidangoor, Abhishyant. “What Is Holi? What to Know About India’s Festival of Colors.” Time, Time, 9 Mar. 2020, time.com/5799354/what-is-holi/.

Morford, Mark, et al. Classical Mythology, Eleventh ed., Oxford University Press, 2019, pp. 334–352.