Why are there celebrations for independence days

Festivals around the world

In every country there are special festivals, often with special customs and long traditions. PASCH students present some festivals around the world here.

© Kristin Kropidlowski

Tet Festival in Vietnam

Mandarin trees and peach trees are lucky charms for Vietnamese. Vietnamese grow them before the Tet festival. But in Ho Chi Minh City, people grow apricot trees. You are very beautiful. The flowers of peach trees are pink and the flowers of apricot trees are yellow, but neither tree has any fruit to eat. The flowers of mandarin trees are white and the special thing is that there are fruits to eat. They taste very good. And all of them bring good luck for the New Year in Vietnam. The Tet festival is very important in Vietnam because then a new year begins. During Tet we eat Banh Chung, our traditional cake made of sticky rice, green beans, meat and some spices like pepper and salt. The children get lucky money. And in every house there is always one of these trees.

Students from Lomonoxop School, Hanoi, Vietnam

© Melanie Schrimpf

Chinese New Years Festival

If you suddenly discover lanterns and red paper ribbons labeled with ink everywhere in January or February, then the Chinese New Year (also known as the Spring Festival) is just around the corner. A lunar calendar is used in China. The New Year festival is always celebrated on the second new moon after the winter solstice. The festival is based on an old legend that says that every year a monster came down from the mountains to satisfy its hunger. To chase away the monster, people colored everything red and made noise and fire, as the "annual monster" supposedly reacted sensitively to the color red. With the expulsion of the annual monster, the going of the old year and thus the New Year festival is meant.

Student at the German School Shanghai Eurocampus


© blinow61 / Colourbox

Butter week in Russia

Butter Week (Maslenitsa) is a traditional Russian festival that is celebrated at the end of winter. The festival lasts a week. The start date of the festival changes every year because the date depends on the start of Lent. Butter Week is one of the funniest and happiest festivals in Russia.

Fair booths and carousels are being set up on many squares in Russian cities. The wooden stalls smell of hot pancakes, honey and jam. People warm up with hot tea from the samovar. You can hear Russian folk music, singing and chimes everywhere.

Every day of Maslenitsa week has its own meaning: Monday is the day of greeting. Tuesday is the day of the games. The most delicious delicacies are served on Wednesdays. Then comes the big Thursday. Friday is the mother-in-law evening when the sons-in-law are invited to their mothers-in-law. Saturday is the day of the relatives. The relatives visit and give each other presents. Sunday is the most important day of Maslenitsa week. That is the day of forgiveness. Believers ask God for forgiveness of all sins. The Maslenitsa doll is also burned on Sunday and we look forward to the coming spring.

Pupil of the secondary school No. 12 in Nizhni Novgorod, Russia


© Bn. Mhic Chionna

St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland

The national holiday of Ireland, in memory of Irish Bishop Patrick, is March 17th. St. Patrick is an omnipresent legend here - many children, streets and squares bear his name. Lots of people wear green. It is the national color in Ireland. Every year in the city center we organize a big parade and a huge street festival. It's always great fun! There are street musicians, street performers, pantomime artists, rock concerts, an amusement park, a ferris wheel, great fireworks and much more.

Disciple of Coláistí Eoin agus Íosagáin, Ireland


© Andrea Schmidt

Festa Junina in Brazil

Lots of colorful flags, folk songs, dances, games, St. John's bonfire, mulled wine, corn dishes and peanut sweets, boys with plaid shirts and straw hats, girls with floral dresses: this is the perfect combination for June 24th, the Festa Junina or Festa de São João, the day of St. John the Baptist in Brazil. The festival pleases the children most because it is celebrated in every school. It is the second most important festival in Brazil.

Student at the German School Colégio Visconde de Porto Seguro, Brazil


© Ajocom CC BY-SA 4.0

Tamkharit in Senegal

At the end of the Muslim calendar, the Senegalese celebrate the traditional Tamkharit festival. All families prepare the traditional couscous dish Thiéré. After dinner they go from house to house. When the neighbors give them rice or money, they dance and pray for them. People then gather in a large square and drum and sing all night long. The young people dress up: the boys wear girls clothes and the girls boys clothes.

Student of the Lycée Mixte Maurice Delafosse


© Khrystell Jiménez

Day of the Dead in Mexico

Day of the Dead is one of Mexico's most important traditions - a festival celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. On these two days the dead are especially honored. The families and friends set up colorfully decorated altars with photos of the deceased. The belief is that the dead come into the house at night. You want to share your favorite food, drinks and music with them. It is a very happy festival where the deceased are worshiped. Music is played, danced and laughed in cemeteries. There are many fun verses and songs dedicated to death.
Calaveras (skulls) made of different materials and skulls made of sugar, chocolate or sweet potatoes can be found all over the country. Skeletons and skulls are disguised, painted and beautifully decorated. The most famous figure is called La Catrina. She wears a large hat and is elegantly dressed. La Catrina is an important member of many Mexican families. Every Mexican child knows this funny woman.

Students of Preparatoria No. 5 de la Universidad de Puerto Vallarta


© dpa / picture-alliance


Jerusalem was conquered many times, for example by the Persians, by the Turks and also by the Romans. In 160 BC, the Greeks conquered Jerusalem and desecrated the temple of the Jews. The Jews were no longer allowed to practice their religion and therefore rioted. They recaptured the temple and needed oil to dedicate the temple. They only found a small jar, but the little oil miraculously lasted for eight days. Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, which begins on Kislev 25th (usually December), commemorates this miracle. Every evening one more light is lit on the Hanukkia, the nine-armed Hanukkah candlestick. You eat sufganiot, a kind of pancake or donut, and the children turn a top with the first letters of the sentence “A great miracle happened” on it.

Students from the Rabin School in Eilat, Israel


© PASCH team Pula, Croatia

Licitar hearts from Croatia

In Croatia - especially in the north of the country - the Christmas trees are often decorated with Licitar hearts. Licitar hearts are a traditional Croatian product that has even been included in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage due to its uniqueness and authenticity. The colorfully decorated, glowing red hearts made of honey dough are edible, but are mostly used for decoration purposes or given as gifts.

PASCH team Pula, Croatia


© Tasmanian newspaper "Examiner"

Christmas in Australia

A week or two before December 25th, many Australians start celebrating the birthday of Jesus. Have a happy time! How do we do that? Many families in Tasmania meet in the park at night, sit with candles on the lawn, sing Christmas carols and are accompanied by carolers and a band.

Students at Hobart College / Tasmanian Academy in Tasmania, Australia