Blooming crocuses, narcissi, tulips and daffodils – after the winter dream, nature begins to awaken, exploding with a rainbow of colours and stunning richness of scents. No wonder that in many places around the world the welcoming of spring is accompanied by eye-catching parades and flower festivals.
One of the first harbingers of spring in Poland are blooming snowdrops, after which the time comes for crocuses and primroses, and, at the beginning of April, hyacinths, irises and narcissi. Whereas, in the Netherlands, the characteristic sign of the coming of spring are blooming tulips.
Every year in April, a fabulous, colourful procession of flower-decorated platforms sets off from the Dutch town of Noordwijk towards Haarlem. This unique event is called Bloemencorso Bollenstreek and is a form of a festive welcoming of spring. Every vehicle taking part in the parade is a piece of art, as it is filled with fancy sculptures decorated with tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils, which are accompanied by marching orchestras. The parade route is 40 km long and runs along, among others, Keukenhof garden, which is open to the public in April and May.
A visit to this place is an unforgettable experience, as the small town of Lisse, located between Amsterdam and the Hague, boasts one of the world’s largest gardens with bulbous plants. Keukenhof covers 32 hectares, and although it seems unbelievable, all the flowers there are planted by hand. Throngs of tourists from all corners of the world come there to admire over 7 million blossoming crocuses, narcissus, hyacinths, and daffodils. However, the biggest attraction is undoubtedly tulips – you can find as many as 800 kinds in Keukenhof garden.
Istanbul and Madeira
Although tulips have traditionally been associated with the Netherlands, they were brought to Europe in the 16th century form their homeland, Turkey. The name of the flower itself derives from the Turkish word tülbent, meaning turban. Every April, Istanbul hosts the Tulip Festival, an event during which the entire city blossoms with thousands of colours and delights with floral carpets that form complicated patterns.
Another city that drowns in flowers is Madeira, where every year right after Easter, Festa da Flor festival takes place. Since the late 1970s, the event has been accompanied by parades, exhibitions, concerts, workshops and contests.
In Great Britain
In the United Kingdom, the colour of spring is blue. At the end of April a flower called bluebell, known in Poland as “hiacyntowiec”, starts blooming there. It is the time when various forests and parks are visited by many people, who appreciate the so-called bluebell walks, during which they can enjoy a walk on the sapphire carpet woven from these flowers.
Another important event is the annual Chelsea Flower Show in London. It is a world-famous garden show that sets the new trends in the art of gardening.
When writing about spring flowers, it is impossible not to mention Japan, which is not without reason called the Land of Cherry Blossoms. According to the centuries-old tradition, during sakura, i.e. cherry blossom season that lasts only a week or two, the Japanese celebrate hanami (literally, “flower viewing “). At the end of February, Okinawa trees bloom with pale pink flowers, while, at the turn of March and April,
spring reaches Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka, to finally arrive in Hokkaido in May. The custom of admiring the beauty of blossoming trees, whose delicate flowers are perceived as a metaphor of life and its fleeting beauty, is accompanied by walks in the parks and fun under flowered trees, combined with the consumption of traditional dishes, sake, and beer.
Spring in September
However, Spring flower festivals are celebrated not only by the inhabitants of the northern hemisphere. One of such festivals may be Floriada that has been organized in the capital of Australia since 1988. Every year in September, when spring begins in the southern hemisphere, Canberra residents can admire the unique colours and scents of hyacinths, tulips, irises, daffodils, chrysanthemums, pansies, narcissuses, daisies, and poppies.
It turns out that Friedrich Rückert was right when he said “Where flowersbloom, it must be the spring, and where the spring is, everything will soon bloom”, regardless of latitude.