"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems." - Rainer Maria Rilke
Let's learn more about the spring traditions of lesser-known countries like Albania and Azerbaijan from the stories of Elda and Nilufar! Do you know that on March 14, the country Albania celebrates Dita e Verës, which is the day of the summer? Around the time of this holiday, the young Albanian people including Elda tend to wear the traditional bracelets called Verore. Another tradition Elda shares with us is giving each other the ballokume, a sweet cookie made from corn flour.
"On March 1, the majority of albanians and especially youngsters wear this traditional bracelet called Verore which derives from the word summer and it is made of two thin braided strings usually red and white. When I was little, my mother used to do that for me and she would tell me that "Whenever you see a swallow ( a type of bird called in albanian dallendyshe), you should hung the bracelet on a tree and the birds will take it and build a nest with it". I still do this, even on this day!" - Elda Ndoja in "Officially Spring!"
In Azerbaijan, Novruz, meaning "a new day", is a special holiday celebrating the revival of the spring on March 21 every year. The four elements water, fire, air, and earth are the symbols of this holiday. Some of the traditional sweets eaten during this time are shekerbura, pakhlava, qoghal, and badambura. According to Nilufar, the best places to enjoy the occasion are the Icharishahar (Old City) and the Baku Boulevard.
"One of the most appealing facts about Novruz is that the celebrations start one month before the actual holiday. Thus, every Tuesday during this month is considered as an exclusive day called Charshanba. A special meaning behind these 4 Charshanbas is that each represents one element of nature such as water, fire, air, and earth." - Nilufar in "Welcoming the spring: Novruz holiday"
What about in Serbia and Croatia? The ways spring is celebrated are also unique and thought-provoking. Let's find out more through the stories of Milena and Marko! Milena shares with us that Serbians refer to springtime as a special moment for love called Vrbopuc. She also talks about the science of falling in love in spring and suggests that rivers are good places to enjoy this romantic season.
Vrbopuc relates to the period of time between 21st of March and the 7th of April. It is exclusively used to explain the rush of hormones to our brain cells and butterflies to our stomach. - Milena in "The Spring Madness Called “Vrbopuc”
While Milena talks about romantic love in Serbia, Marko tells us about family love during Easter in Croatia. In his articles, Marko introduces how Easter is celebrated in both the continental and coastal parts of the country. Easter traditions such as family gathering and coloring eggs are preserved. It is a time for family and a joyful celebration during spring.
Let's start from Dubrovnik young bride will give colored eggs to her husband and has to prepare special ; also Ester is celebrated in front of the cathedral church in Dubrovnik. On the islands like Hvar, Brač or Korčula processions and ceremonies are organized by local church members. Many dishes prepared for Easter consist eggs. That’s the case with pinca, sweet roll (traditional cake) from Dalmatia and Istria usually served for breakfast. Colored or decorated egg will have "special" position on the top of pinca. - Marko in "Egg tapping – Easter and spring in Coastal Croatia"
Spring would not be spring without flowers in bloom. The reviving nature after a long cold winter is such a joyful sign of life. Thanks to the pleasant weather, outdoor activities such as visiting a park or a garden, are essential. One of the most famous gardens in Europe is the Keukenhof Garden in the Netherlands. Each year, there would be a different theme in the garden - when I visited it in 2015, the theme was Van Gogh.
If you are in France, then follow in the footsteps of Monet with me in his garden in Giverny. It is one of the most heavenly gardens I have ever been! In Giverny you will find the real Japanese water lily pond which appears many times in his Impressionist paintings. A truly delightful experience!
Another wonderful place to spend a lovely spring day is the Eternal City. The most special thing about spring in Rome for me is the delightful fragrance of wisteria, orange blossoms, and roses. Around Rome, must-see destinations during springtime are the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, where you can enjoy wisteria, and the Giardino di Ninfa, a best-kept secret garden.
Are you in love with spring? Would you like more spring ideas and insightful tips from our editors? Find them in "Spring Inspirations In Europe (Part 2)" and the articles below.
"Officially Spring!" by Elda Ndoja
"The Spring Madness Called “Vrbopuc"" by Milena Mihajlovic
"Egg tapping – Easter and spring in Coastal Croatia" and "Egg tapping – Easter and spring in Continental Croatia" by Marko Radojevic
"Keukenhof, the Garden of Europe; a flowery experience!" by Chrisa Lepida
"Following In Monet’s Footsteps In Giverny" by Vy Tran
"A Magic Garden: Il Giardino di Ninfa" by Federico Spadoni
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