12 best festivals in March around the world
Fresh from all the New Years and Valentine’s excitement, March can feel a bit dull. Little do you know, there’s actually a whole wide world buzzing with celebrations on the other side of your door. And they’re all waiting for you to join. Want to gorge yourself on phenomenal food? Want to witness art like you’ve never seen it before? Or maybe you just want to party all day and completely let loose!
With the winter cold starting to melt away and the sun peeking through, it’s time to get back into that travel groove. We’ve found 12 of the best festivals in March for you to attend. Dust off that suitcase, locate your passport, all that other stuff… We’ve done the heavy lifting, so there’s really no reason for you not to go and participate in these festivals around the world!
1. Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Australia
17th of Feb to 5th of March
Starting off with an absolute BOMB (of glitter and neon paints of course) we have the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras! Hoist up your pride flags, wave them sky-high, and show the world just exactly what you’re made of, you’ll always be accepted here. Whether you’re a member of the community or a supportive ally, all are welcome to the “longest-running LGBTQIA+ party in the Southern Hemisphere”. If you’re dying to go to this, you can book with us on our ‘City to Surf in Sydney’ trip which conveniently makes a stop at Sydney pride. Live performances, musical events, parades, drag shows, and non-profit initiatives take over Sydney in a colourful and free expression of love and life! (Technically this doesn’t start in March, we’re just giving you a head-start.)
Image source:Juliette F @ Unsplash
2. Food and Fun Festival, Iceland
4t to 5th of March
Are you bored of the same old microwaveable meal? Not ready to say goodbye to the cold yet? Follow the rumbling of your belly and bring all your hoodies to a land of brand new flavours at the Food and Fun Festival in Reykjavik! This is the ultimate foodie rendez-vous you do not want to miss. Chefs from far and wide gather here and work with locally sourced ingredients to create an absolute circus of aromas and textures. It’s fresh, it’s fun, it’s lip-smackingly delicious. Your taste buds will thank you.
3. Mendoza Grape Harvest Festival, Argentina
5th to 6th of March
Dating all the way back to 1936, the Grape Harvest Festival is an annual event steeped in rich Argentinian history. Tenders of the vine – that’s a fancy way of saying winemakers and winegrowers – are introduced and celebrated in this weekend of culture and drink. The weekend is a great example of the beauty of preserved tradition as the whole community comes together to take part. Festivities include the Blessing of the Fruit, and a pageant-parade of chosen princesses and queens, all culminating in the Election, a majestic live show in the evening that is sure to delight.
4. Holi, India
8th of March
Holi is the very popular and dazzling Hindu festival, also known as the Festival of Colours. It takes place every year in March and stems from religious mythology and stories passed down generation to generation. Holi is a day of triumph, when good overcomes evil, and a day of love when the eternal and divine Rhadha Krishna is celebrated across the country. The festival comes to a head in one of the most fantastical displays of joy when coloured powders are launched into the air and coat everyone in attendance. Prepare to be fully immersed during these festivities and welcome light and positivity into your life this spring.
Image source:John Thomas @ Unsplash
5. SXSW Festival, USA
10th to 19th of March
The South by Southwest film festival is one of the most highly anticipated destinations for the film buffs of the world. Everything is bigger in Texas, and you best believe this top tier film festival is huge! SXSW is a film festival, music festival, and comedy festival all in one! Not only that, but it’s also host to a variety of tech panels and exhibitions. Get ready to present your truest and nerdiest self and meet other cool pop-culture obsessed peeps. Definitely a place for the artsy and the brainy to get lost in, this will satisfy all your industry curiosity and maybe even awaken some new passions. Bonus, you may even get the chance to brush up against the sparkle of celebrity. Who can resist that?
This isn’t the only film festival to hit up in March though – the Sofia International Film Fest in Bulgaria is a great way to catch some indie films that might otherwise fly under your radar!
Image source:SXSW Alva Wieding
6. Starkbierzeit Festival, Germany
10th of March to 2nd of April
Welcome to Starkbierzeit Festival, Oktoberfest’s younger, but just as hip and trendy, sibling that promises the same levels of entertainment with smaller crowds. Coined as “the secret beer festival locals love” we’re inviting you all to chug a pint of Germany’s strongest beer on offer. That’s right, Starkbierzeit translates to ‘strong beer time’ and it sure doesn’t disappoint. Stronger not only in alcohol content but in nutrients as well, Starkbierzeit was originally started as a way for Monks to get around fasting during Lent. Who knew Monks just want to have fun? Fly, sail, drive, do whatever you have to do to get to Munich and down some of that malty goodness. You’ll be cheering and dancing on tabletops like you just don’t care!
7. Las Fallas, Spain
15th to 19th of March
One for the art lovers and art haters alike, flock to Valencia to witness Las Fallas, the annual burning of giant sculptures on St. Joseph’s day. This tradition dates all the way back to the Middle Ages and celebrates the patron saints of carpenters. Throughout the year artists and craftsmen create ninots, these huuuge and colourful papier-mâché sculptures which represent well-known personalities and usually adhere to a satirical theme. At midnight on March 19th they are set ablaze. Have a plateful of paella, this region’s specialty, and watch what is probably one of the most unique art shows you’ll ever attend.
Image source:massreuy @ Unsplash
8. St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland
17th of March
Bet you’ve been waiting for this one, the one and only, the infamous St. Patrick’s Day. This religious celebration has been part of Irish tradition for 392 years and marks the death date of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Despite its hallowed origins, the holiday has spiralled into a colossal celebration that embraces the best of Irish culture. Revellers can be found all over Ireland enjoying many parades, traditional food and song, and of course each other’s company. You don’t necessarily even need to travel to Ireland for this one though as St. Patrick’s Day celebrations take place all over the globe, especially in various American cities with high Irish populations, like Chicago and Boston. Chicago has even been known to dye their river green in the lead up to March 17th…
Image source:Benjamin Suter @ Unsplash
9. Narvik Winter Festival, Norway
17th to 26th of March
Pack your snow boots and warmest flannels in preparation for Vinterfestuka! Established just after World War II, Vinterfestuka is the annual festival in which the town of Narvik pays homage to the rail-workers who built the Ofoten iron-ore railroad, which brought prosperity to the region. Once a year Narvik bursts into life under the midnight sun. Vinterfestuka has grown into a festival of art, music, culture, and theatre, with over 200 unique events and over 50,000 visitors from all corners of the world. The locals put their heart and souls into this to create a warm community that gets visitors coming back year after year.
Image source:Michael Fousert @ Unsplash
10. Spring Equinox, Mexico
19th to 22nd of March
“What even is an equinox anyway?” we hear you ask. Well, we have an answer for you! An equinox is a celestial event that marks the transition between seasons, winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and summer to autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. One of the most beautiful spots to watch this is at Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan temple, where the golden sun can be seen trailing over the crest and down the horizon. In Mexico, this represents the passage of Quetzalcoatl, the mythological flying snake, between heaven and earth. Dress in white to ward off any bad vibes, and enjoy the lead up to the equinox with a carnival style party full of folk and rock bands.
The spring equinox falls on the 20th of March 2023, but the exact date varies between the 19th and the 21st each year.
11. Nyepi Day, Bali
22nd to 23rd of March
This is a 3-day Indonesian celebration of the New Year, which includes Nyepi day, and vibrant celebrations in the lead up to and after. Nyepi day is a Balinese public holiday observed as a day of silence, fasting, and meditation with the ultimate goal of self-reflection. These rituals begin at 6am and end at 6am the following day, and on this day Bali is very, very quiet. Streets are void of people, noise, food, and smells. It’s almost eerie. Although this is a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents and tourists are not exempt from these rules. You may be wondering why this is being promoted on a list about festivals? In the days leading up to Nyepi you can expect many colourful processions ferrying offerings to the temples, and vivid straw effigies depicting demons burning in cemeteries to ward off bad spirits. The day after Nyepi is celebrated as New Year’s Day and a day of rebirth in many ways. There is a return to normal with music, feasts, and even a Kissing Ritual.
Image source:The Jakarta Post
12. Opening of Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands
23rd of March
You’ve heard of the lavender fields in Provence, those endless rows of lilac flowers, buzzing with bees. But what’s better than a monochromatic field? A multi-coloured dream, rows and rows and rows (it does go on) of blooming tulips, dotted with classic wooden windmills, and a whole garden of wonders beyond it. Keukenhof is a spring park established in 1949 and 2023 will be its 74th opening. The garden is 79 acres large and each year it is home to the blooming of over 7 million flowers, including over 800 species of tulips. If you’re craving a bit of history and a bit of cheese, be sure to pop over between the 31st of March and the 2nd of April for Holland Heritage weekend in Keukenhof surrounded by the best of what the Netherlands have to offer.
Image source:Farah Almazouni @ Unsplash