|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
Albania celebrates the lunar Spring Day (Albanian: Dita e Verës or Dita e Luleve) on March 14, and from 2004 it is a national holiday. It is an old pagan practice, particularly popular in the city of Elbasan, Central Albania.
According to some sources, Dita e Verës derives from the Arbëreshë, an Albanian community that lives in Italy since the fifteenth century. On 14 March, the Arbëreshë of the Italian coast, collect a tuft of grass roots and soil, bringing it home to commemorate the anniversary of their emigration from Albania. In fact, some sources date back this celebration to the ancient Illyria. At that time, the feast was celebrated on March 1, which according to the Julian calendar, corresponded to the first day of the year.
Pilgrimages were made to the highest peaks in the Albanian mountains to be as close as possible to the Sun God and pray for the goodness and prosperity of the new year. The great fire crossed by men and young people symbolized the end of winter. Instead, wreaths and garlands on the doors of the houses wished good luck. The purity of the celebration has weakened over the centuries but came to this day thanks to the tradition preserved in the city of Elbasan.
The ritual of the Dita e Verës begins on the previous day with the preparation of sweets: the revani and ballakume, the blended butter, sugar, corn flour and egg yolks cooked in a wood oven. During the evening ballakume, dried figs, walnuts, turkey legs, boiled eggs, simite (a typical sandwich of the city) are distributed to members of the family. The oldest woman of the house remains awake at night and goes from room to room to put down grass on the cushions of couples, young people and children, a ritual that symbolizes the regeneration and quickening.
On the morning of March 14, the elderly leave the door open as a sign of generosity, a pitcher filled with fresh water and take home a clump of green grass. The youngest fertilizes the orange and olive trees, but the smaller ones are the first to make the "lucky" visits to neighbors and relatives who give them turkey legs, dried figs and nuts. Finally lunch on March 14, should be eaten outdoors in the company of friends and relatives.
Estonia celebrates Spring Day on May 1.
Though this is not a work-free public holiday, it coincides with Student's Day, which is a no-school day for students on all the levels of the education system (Except for Primary Schools). The holiday is therefore mostly observed and dominated by teenagers and young adults, which massively take on public parks, beaches and other outdoor venues in the larger cities, and enjoy sports or picnics.
Local administrations usually offer the public a number of entertainment shows, such as free rock concerts. In later years security operations have been staged to avoid incidents such as fights and vandalism, as well as controls to curb the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- Clarín (Buenos Aires), 21 September 2006. Miles de adolescentes festejaron en Día de la Primavera en los principales parques de la Ciudad.
- La Voz del Interior (Córdoba), 22 September 2006. Mucha fiesta, mucha música y nada de lío.
- Diario UNO (Mendoza), 22 September 2006. Rock en el Parque Cívico, el mayor imán primaveral.
South Africa celebrates Spring Day on September 1. It is one of the days that schools will allow for casual dress to be worn instead of the normal school uniform. Student leadership could organise cultural entertainment for the school.
Bolivia celebrates the beginning of spring, on 21 September, it is also Student's day and "día del amor", on this day youth will send cards, chocolates and flowers to their friends, mates, or lovers.