Holi and Easter in the same month? Las Fallas? St Patrick’s Day? Liver failure?! Oh well, there’s always the sheeps’ testicles.
Hokitika, New Zealand: March 9
If you’ve never tasted a sheep’s testicle, then this is the event for you. Or if those mountain oysters don’t appeal, wrap your laughing gear around a possum hotpot, live huhu grubs, or wasp-larvae icecream. If it’s wild, it’s wonderful in New Zealand’s strangest food festival.
Valencia, Spain: March 12-19
One of Europe’s craziest parties takes place in Valencia each year, with days of fireworks exhibits, pageants, and street art, culminating with hundreds of bonfires on the city streets.
It takes all year for each neighbourhood to construct their own papier mache “ninot” satirising recent events, which are shown around the city; all but one of the giant ninots are set on fire at midnight on the last evening of the festival. Then there’s flames, fireworks, and the kind of street parties you’d expect to find when people have just started over 300 massive bonfires around the city.
St Patrick’s festival
Dublin, Ireland: March 14-18
Wherever you are, there’s likely to be a St Patrick’s Day festival with green beer, blarney and craic, but the most authentic way to celebrate Ireland’s patron saint is in the country’s capital, Dublin. Possibly Ireland’s biggest export, it’s well celebrated at home too: hundreds of thousands gather on city streets and in venues throughout the centre to ‘honour’ the saint… what he’d think of it all isn’t worth thinking of!
If you can’t make it to Ireland on St Patrick’s Day, think about heading for Chicago instead, where the Chicago River is dyed green to mark the occasion.
Celebrate holy week in Braga
Braga, Portugal: March 24-30
Holy week is a big event throughout the Christian world, as the period of lenten fasting comes to a close, and Easter hits its high notes. The pagentry of the Mediterranean nations is inescapable, but this year we’re focussing on Braga, the holy city of Portugal.
Thousands of pilgrims from Portugal, Spain and further abroad take part in a series of night-time processions. On Maundy Thursday, the Endoenças Procession takes place, also known among locals as “Senhor da Cana Verde” (literally, “The Green Cane Lord”). They continue on Good Friday and Holy Sunday, so plan to make a week of it!
Holi, the festival of colours
Primarily India, Sri Lanka, Nepal: March 27
Ever wondered why people had colourful dust thrown all over them in the Amazing Race? It’s a part of Holi, a Hindu festival celebrated throughout India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and other communities in the Hindu diaspora, including those in Fiji, Mauritius, the US, and the UK.
This website describes some of the myths and the rituals, and shows you how to make the coloured powders. We haven’t found a good international events listing, so to celebrate in your city, Google “holi city 2013”.
Editor’s note: If you’ve got photos or a story to share about any of these events, we’d love to share them with the Indie Travel Podcast Community. Email us today, or send a direct message to us @admin.
What are you up to in March? Doing something better than this? Tell us in the comments, and make us all jealous.