Shake off the twin shackles of grey and gloom – it’s April, folks. Yes, shoots are beginning to blossom, the bulbs are out and Mother Nature is shrugging off winter and beguiling us all with the delights of spring.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Thailand this month, you can join in the traditional New Year festivities at the Songkran Festival (13 to 15 April), which is celebrated throughout the country. But make sure you wear your waterproofs, not your best threads. The characteristic ritual of this festival is the throwing of water, sometimes mixed with chalk or talc, as a symbolic washing away of negativity and bad luck, in the hope of a cleansing renewal. You have been warned!
The biannual Canton Fair takes place in Guangzhou from 15 April, where industry’s movers and shakers will gather to see what goods the world’s importers, exporters and manufacturers have to tickle their fancy.
Petrolheads should accelerate over to Shanghai, from 18 to 20 April, for the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix. If your adrenalin requires a more leisurely spectator sport, nip over to Boston to catch Ben Affleck’s favourite baseball team, the Red Sox, at their open day at Fenway Park on 4 April. Alternatively, turn out to support those determined and courageous long-distance devotees at the Boston Marathon on 21 April.
The City of Atlanta hosts its 78th annual Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park from 11 to 13 April, when some 200,000 visitors will celebrate arts and crafts. Make sure you are one of them, and enjoy the culinary delights at the Backyard Barbecue and Brews meadow, or sample a slice of another way of life at one of the cultural exchange pavilions.
In Europe, celebrate spring Munich-style at the city’s Spring Fair, which takes place in the Theresienwiese from 25 April. Expect a sort of small-scale Oktoberfest with spring beers aplenty, alongside more than 40 vendors of Bavarian sweets, traditional music, funfair rides and a flea market on the opening Saturday. Find more springtime festivities in Prague, home to Easter markets, at both the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, which run daily from 5 to 27 April. Enjoy trdelníks (traditional Czech pastries), local beer, spit-roasted ham, and a variety of handicrafts, alongside egg painting and bonnet-making for children.
By now, the cherry blossom would have bloomed in Tokyo and also Washington DC, from where Rachel Cooper, one of our Monthly Insiders, gives you the lowdown on the US capital’s Cherry Blossom Festival, and more. Also joining us is Paul Wheatley, author of Munich: From Monks to Modernity, with his guide to the best the Bavarian city has to offer this April.
Zoë Manzi, Editor, MO magazine, The Condé Nast Publications
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