What a joyous time of the year as Old Man Winter is starting to retreat as spring-like temperatures perform a flirtatious rise and fall dance with Midwesterners. Fortunately, this has been a rather mild winter for Michiganders, our snow, “knock on wood”, hasn’t really been a factor as we optimistically contemplate permanently storing away our winter gear. Certainly, we are aware of Mother Nature’s pettiness of introducing a large-scale snowstorm before saying her final goodbye.
The first month of spring, seen as a transitional period, celebrates nature’s changing seasons as animals wake from hibernation, daylight savings time begins, traditional cultural and religious holidays kick into high gear and a variety of events across The U.S. are planned to commemorate Women’s History Month.
As we enter the Spring Break season, unfortunately, we all recognize the increasing impact of the Coronavirus on our daily routines let alone traveling to regions that were affected by the virus with deadly outcomes. International cities currently resemble ghost towns as workplaces and schools are closed. Event organizers of global events are making decisions to cancel exhibitions, events, and conferences for public safety.
What will be curious, with regards to our wanderlust nation, as to the number of families of school-aged or college children will decide whether to forego traditionally spring break destinations as preventative measures. At the time of this posting, the State Department had issued level 4 travel warnings for countries in Asia and Italy and cautioned U.S. tourists from taking cruises from certain departing borders.
Keeping that in mind, this post will mention a couple of destination events for the month of March being held in countries that are on the State Department’s radar, so we have attempted to offer alternatives that are doable within the United States.
For the Art Lover
Tate Museum Andy Warhol Exhibition – March – September 2020
Traveling art enthusiasts will be sure to schedule a visit to Bankside, London at the International modern and contemporary art Tate Modern Gallery for the opportunity to be immersed in the modern artworks of the incomparable American pop art genius, Andy Warhol who impacted the landscape of the visual arts movement
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Tate Modern will host Private Viewings and guided tours for members, as well as three different cuisine offerings in its restaurants: 1) A sweet and savory Andy Warhol inspired tasting menu, or 2) Reserve a seat to enjoy an American Style brunch with Warhol’s favorite frozen hot chocolate or 3) A Dessert Style Afternoon Tea and Andy Warhol
Pittsburg Andy Warhol Museum – ongoing exhibit
An alternative within the U.S., is to visit the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which houses the largest collection of Warhol’s artworks and archival materials. The museum offers educational resources, art-making workshops, lectures and discussion activities, performances and gallery tours.
For the Anthophile
National Cherry Blossom Festival – March 20th-April 12th
Lovers of nature rejoice! Whether you call yourself an anthophile, a naturalist or a amateur gardener, what better destination to celebrate Mother Earth’s visual glory, than the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. An estimate of 1.5 million people will descend on our nation’s capital to indulge in the breathtaking landscape of 3,000 cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin, gifted by the Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of DC in 1912 to honor the alliance between the United States and Japan.
The four week festival offers a number of land and water tours, art and music events and educational initiatives for families not only at the Tidal Basin, but surrounding museums. The Festival also hosts its annual kickoff charitable dinner and cocktails with proceeds benefiting the non-profit National Cherry Blossom Festival, Inc.
For the Xenophile
Holi Festival – March 9th – 10th
The first day of spring is embraced in various ways throughout the world ranging from day long festivals to intimate cultural rituals. One in particular, takes place in the countries of North India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. These regions welcome spring with their public Hinduism holiday, called the Hindu Festival of Colors or the Holi Festival in which natives (and non-Hindus tourists) participate in several customs which include evening praying rituals against evil spirits and the following day, a free-for-all splashing of colors (using colored water and powders) where no one or no place is spared; meanwhile, participants indulge in a feast of native dishes and intoxicating drinks (i.e. bhang which is made from cannabis). The primary meaning of these festivities is to end and rid oneself of past errors and to start anew (in relationships) with the changing seasons.
If you would enjoy participating in this festive springtime ritual, but prefer to stay within the U.S. borders, there are several official “Color Festivals” that are hosted in California (San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles), Utah (Ogden, Spanish Fork, Salt Lake City) and Las Vegas, Nevada. These organized events offer non-stop live music, yoga, mantras, cuisine and the throwing of colors (only done with powder).
For the Leprechaun Lover
St. Patrick’s Day – celebrate in Ireland March 17, 2020
Whether your pure Irish or a pretender for the day, obvious the purist way is to travel to the Irish homeland to participate in the festivities as the world celebrates Irish heritage and culture on St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th with festivals and parades in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, “Feast of Saint Patrick” while partaking in pints of Guinness. (note: as of this posting, the Ireland government were in discussions as whether the parade should be canceled).
Outside of Ireland, predictably in the U.S., Irish customs are taken up a notch, as in the City of Chicago’s tradition of dying of the Chicago River followed by a parade of colorful floats, high spirited bagpipe music, and lively Irish step dancers viewed by over 400,000 people. The event will take place on Saturday, March 14th, starting at 9:00 am and the green dye lasts for about 5 hours.
If you’re tastes, in viewing the turning of the river green spectacle, demand a more sophisticated perch, there are a few exceptional riverfront hotels (several offers private viewing) for reserving a front row seat which include:
One other unique method of experience the green river up close is to reserve accommodations among several boat companies such as Chicago’s First Lady Clover Cruises that offers a 6 persons boat on the Lady Grebe or the Chicago Party Yacht.
March’s birth flower is the daffodil representing rebirth and new beginnings. The first picture was specifically selected for what it visually represented to me: Showing God’s beauty even through imperfections (the browning leaf) and remaining steadfast through challenges (the tulip continues to follow its chosen path of blossoming, although snow becomes a temporary obstacle). Nature’s simple life lessons for us all. – AJ
Where will you be celebrating the changing of the seasons? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or on Twitter!
Thank you to the following
Discover Ireland https://www.discoverireland.ie/
Irish Central https://www.irishcentral.com/travel
Hat Tip to the following photographers:
Bru-nO – Daffodil surrounded by snow
OpenClipart-Vectors – Andy Warhol Self Portrait
RachelBostwick – Cherry Blossoms in DC
Vishnu Nishad – Sister and Brother at Holi Festival
Murtazza Ali – woman at Holi Festival
Frankspandl – powder for Holi Festival
Sam99929 – Green River in Chicago