16 Amazing March Festivals Around the World in 2022

Published Categorized as Best of World Travel, Destinations, Travel Blog

To experience a unique insight into a countries culture, here are 16 of the best March festivals around the world to add to your bucket list!

March is a great time to travel and there are many wonderful celebrations in March and cultural festivals around the world held at this time of year. There is no better way to really experience and try to understand a culture than to participate in a local festival. The memories of the music, food, ceremonies and traditions will stay with you forever.

There are so many amazing festivals in March around the world to experience, so here is our bucket list pick of the 16 best March festivals that offer something for everyone.

N.B. We will updating this list regularly, so if you have any holidays and festivals around the world you think should make the list, please let us know in the comments section.

DISCLAIMER: This article contains affiliate links and Exit45 Travels are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more information.

Did You Know?

  • In the Southern Hemisphere, March is the same as September in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Each year March and June end on the same day of the week.
  • March is the month to celebrate International Women’s Day (8th), National Plant a Flower Day (12th), and National Cocktail Day (24th).

“Yeah, it’s St. Paddy’s Day. Everyone’s Irish tonight.”

– Norman Reedus, ‘The Boondock Saints’ –


Exit45 Travels-March Festivals PIN IMAGE

March Festivals Around the World

Here are the best March festivals and celebrations to add to your bucket list travel calendar.

Desert X – Coachella Valley, California, USA

Where: Coachella Valley, California USA

When: Biannually in March to early May: 4 March – 7 May, 2023

Duration: approximately 2 months

Desert X is an outdoor art festival in Coachella Valley, California USA every other year for approximately one month. Founded in 2017, Desert X has grown into the hub of Southern California’s indie art scene.

Desert X should not to be confused with Coachella Music Festival, which is also in the same area, also during the springtime. Desert X completely transforms Coachella Valley’s vast desert from humble to extraordinary between March and early May, bringing together dozens of local and international artists from all over the world to display their large scale art installations throughout the canyon valley. The pieces range in both sizes and mediums, but they are all tough on current social and ecological issues such as rapid climate change, unbalanced immigration policies, women’s bodily autonomy, and even how we see ourselves in an ever changing environment.

The festival is a self-paced experience that is over several months, so people who visit during the beginning of the festival have the opportunity to get the first impressions of the pieces, while those who visit towards the end have more insight to understand the meaning behind the art.

Desert X really stands out against other art festivals in the USA as it is completely free for visitors. As a charitable non-profit organization, Desert X aims to (among other things) make art accessible to those otherwise excluded, and ensures a welcoming and judgement-free zone to everyone. It is definitely one of the cool festivals around the world to visit and participate in!

Check availability on accommodation options in Coachella Valley

Holi Festival – India and Nepal

Where: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Malaysia, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, Mauritius, Fiji

When: Annually on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Phalguna (February / March): 18 March, 2022

Duration: 2 day festival – Holi is only on 1 day

There’s a good chance that you have heard of, or even personally experienced Holi — the Festival of Colours. This two-day religious festival has its origin in India and is celebrated across many countries of Europe and North America, including India. The best place for you to experience what is considered to be one of the biggest Indian festivals in March is at Mathura Vrindavan in India.

On day one, a religious event known as Holika Dahan occurs, and on day two, people play Holi, mostly with colours. Holi is also known as the Festival of Colours.

There are many legends associated with Holi as per the Hindu myth. But the most prominent is related to an evil king named Hiranyakashipu, who had a son named Prahlad. Ironically, his son was a firm believer and worshipped Lord Vishnu — a Hindu god representing good here.

Hiranyakashipu had a sister named Holika who had a boon that fire can’t burn her. Frustrated with his son’s devotion towards a god whom he hated, Hiranyakashipu decided to use Holika. He commanded her to take Prahlad and sit on fire. Lord Vishnu’s grace happened, and Holika died in the fire while Prahlad came out alive.

This event is remembered on day one of Holi that is Holika Dahan. People burn a massive chunk of wood in the fire and worship the Lord.

Holi falls on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Phalguna (typically February-March), and marks the end of winter in India and welcomes the spring season. During Holi, people play with colours by putting colours on each other, give hugs, and forget their past enmity.

Holi is a festival that reminds us that no matter how strong the influence of evil is around you, good will always win.

Check availability on accommodation options wherever you choose to celebrate Holi in the world

Throwing coloured powder at the holi festival in india
Holi Festival: Image by John-Thomas at Unsplash)

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race – Anchorage, Alaska

Where: Anchorage, Alaska

When: Annually on the first Saturday of March: 5 March, 2022

Duration: 9 – 15 days or more to finish

The Iditarod Sled Dog Race is by far Alaska’s best known sporting event and most famous of its March events! This annual long-distance dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska is on the first Saturday of March. This year in 2022 marks the 50th Anniversary of the “last great race on Earth.”

The Iditarod Race is held to pay tribute to the history of the sled dog culture and Alaskan huskies, which were being phased out of existence due to the introduction of snowmobiles in Alaska. Today, the race is a reconstruction of the original freight route to Nome in the early 1900s, and commemorates the part that sled dogs played in the settlement of Alaska. The mushers travel from checkpoint to checkpoint much as the early freight mushers did.

Alaska is the world Mecca for sled dog racing, and the race can attract more than 100 participants and their teams of dogs from more than two dozen countries around the world. The race course is roughly 1,100 miles (1,770 km) long and mushers and a team of 16 dogs, of which at least 6 must be on the towline at the finish line, cover the distance in 9 to15 days, and some will take even longer.

At the finish line, every musher’s arrival is heralded by the city’s fire siren and every musher is greeted by a crowd lining the “chute”, no matter the time of day or night, or if he or she is first or last across the line.

Check availability on accommodation options in Anchorage or Nome

March festivals - Dog sled racing at Iditarod festival in Alaska
Iditarod Dog Sled Race – Alaska

Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival – Jinhae, South Korea

Where: Jinhae, South Korea

When: Annually in March/April: 1 – 10 April, 2022

Duration: 10 days

We have added Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival to our post on the ‘Best Festivals in April” because in 2022, the festival will be held in the month of April.

Read more about the Jinhae Gunhangje Cherry Blossom Festival in Jinhae, South Korea in Festivals held in our post on the Best April Around the World

train at Jinhae Gyeonghwa Station in Japan during the cherry blossom festival in march
Jinhae Gyeonghwa Station

Maha Shivaratri Festival – India and Nepal

Recommended by Ellis at ‘Backpack Adventures’

Where: Varanasi in India and Kathmandu in Nepal

When: Annually in February or March: 1 March, 2022

Duration: 1 day

Maha Shivaratri is an important Hindu festival celebrated in India and Nepal. Following the Hindu calendar, the festival is usually at the end of February. 

Shivaratri can be translated as the ‘Night of Shiva’. Hindus believe that this is when Shiva married Parvati. Devotees stay awake all night to meditate and pray. It is a night of introspection and contemplation and about overcoming darkness in one’s life.

During the day there is also enough to see and experience as Hindus gather at Shiva temples throughout the country. In Hindu mythology Shiva used marijuana to strengthen his power. It is therefore accepted to consume marihuana at this day. Women come to pray to the Shiva lingam, a black stone penis, to ask for protection of their husbands. 

The best place to experience Shivaratri is either Varanasi in India or Kathmandu in Nepal. Varanasi is the city of Lord Shiva and thousands of colourful holy men gather in the city. There will be hundreds of processions as people visit the Shiva temples and take a dip in the holy Ganges. In Kathmandu, Hindus will visit the Pashupatinath temple. Here too, you will see holy men that came from all over Nepal to celebrate Shiva Ratri at Kathmandu’s most important Shiva temple.

Check availability on accommodation options in Varanasi in India or Kathmandu in Nepal

men in the street displaying a painting at the March Festival of-Maha Shivaratri in Nepal
Maha Shivaratri – Nepal

Maslenitsa– Russia, Belarus and Ukraine

Where: Russia, Belarus and Ukraine

When: Annually in the week before Orthodox Easter (February and/or March): 28 February – 6 March, 2022

Duration: 7 days

We have added Maslenista Festival to our post on the ‘Best Festivals in February” as it often begins towards the end of February. However, this festival can also be enjoyed in March each year.

Read more about the Maslenista Festival in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine in our post on the Best Festivals in February Around the World

the March Festival of Maslenitsa in russia showing colourful dolls on sticks stuck in the snow
Maslenitsa – Russia

Meguro River Cherry Blossom Festival – Meguro, Tokyo, Japan

Where: Meguro River, Tokyo, Japan

When: Annually from mid-March to early April: 2022 date TBC

Duration: 1 day

Visiting Tokyo during the springtime is a unique experience, especially to see the gorgeous cherry blossoms (sakura in Japanese). The city and the rest of the country bursts in pink and white blossoms, which you can witness at parks, temples, riversides, and even in local neighbourhoods. 

Tokyo has many places to see cherry blossoms, yet one place that is a must-visit is Meguro River. There are over 800 cherry blossom trees along the river, so locals and visitors have plenty of opportunities to take a stroll and take photos of these trees. 

While you’re there, enjoy the annual festival called the Meguro River Cherry Blossom Festival. The 2022 dates haven’t been published yet, but expect to celebrate the blossoms from mid-March to early April. The admission is free, and the festival is easy to find as it’s located along the riverside. Small kiosks and restaurants along the road sell snacks such as mochi and sakura-flavored snacks, and adults can enjoy a glass of pink champagne with a fresh strawberry. 

The area is crowded with visitors, especially around the bridge overpasses. Here, you can see how beautiful the trees are with the petals in full bloom and gently falling into the river whenever there is a slight breeze. 

During the evenings, the pink lanterns light up along a portion of the river, so it’s another fantastic way to see these blossoms.    

Not only is this festival one of the major events in March in Japan, but it is one of the best March celebrations around the world!

Check availability on accommodation options in Tokyo

cherry blossoms hanging over the river at the march festival of Meguro River Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo, Japan
Meguro River Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo, Japan: Image by Life Of Doing

Mela Chiraghan Festival – Lahore, Pakistan

Where: Lahore, Pakistan

When: Annually at the end of March: 25 – 27 March, 2022

Duration: 3 days

One of the coolest festivals of the world that takes place every March is Mela Chiraghan. Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” this event occurs in the foodie city of Lahore, Pakistan where celebrations go on for three days

It always takes place at the end of March, and in 2022 will be held on March 25th, 26th and 27th. Though Mela Chiraghan used to be celebrated in the entire Punjab province (where Lahore is), nowadays, it’s held at the shrine of Madho lal Hussain

The event, which is locally called a Urs, commemorates the death of Shah Hussain, who lived in Lahore in the 16th Century The saint is highly respected for his contributions to a type of Punjabi poetry called Kafi, but it doesn’t stop there. Both the shrine and the festival are incredible welcoming spaces, especially for the LGBT community.

Why so? Shah Hussain fell in love with a then 18-year-old Hindu boy, Madho Lal, who was one of his followers, and much younger than him. The boy went on to convert to Islam, and lived the rest of his life for Shah Hussain after his death. Madho Lal is buried next to Shah Hussain, and the shrine and the festival speak to unity, and of course, the progressive values of a saint who was truly centuries ahead of his time. 

Today, the event is celebrated with fervour and zeal. Dhamal, a meditative type of dance, is performed, copious amounts of hashish is smoked, candles are burned, and food and some carnival rides are often present. People from all over Pakistan come to experience the event, and it’s for sure one of the most inclusive and fun Urs celebrations you can attend!

Check availability on accommodation options in Lahore

the dhamal performance at the March Festival of mela chiraghan
Mela Chiraghan Festival – Dhamal Performance

Moriones Festival – Marinduque, Philippines

Where: Marinduque, Philippines

When: Annually during Holy Week (March / April): 10 – 17 April, 2022

Duration: 8 days

We have added Moriones Festival to our post on the ‘Best Festivals in April” because in 2022 it will be held in April.

Read more about the Moriones Festival in the Philippines in our post on Festivals in April Around the World

masked performances with enormous heads at Moriones Festival in march in the philippines
Moriones Festival

National Cherry Blossom Festival – Washington DC, USA

Where: Washington DC, USA

When: Annually in March and April: 20 March – 17 April, 2023

Duration: 3 weeks

Washington DC is awash in delicate Japanese cherry trees that line the Tidal Basin in the nation’s capital. In 2022, the three-week National Cherry Blossom Festival will be held March 20-April 17.

The Festival features an opening ceremony, “Pink Tie Party,” Blossom Kite Festival, Parade and “Petalpalooza.” There is nothing to compare with standing to watch the Parade performers, singers and dancers stream by on Constitution Avenue NW between 10 am and noon. Arrive early to get a front-row view. In 2022, it will be held on Saturday, April 9. (For the last two years, it has been cancelled due to the pandemic.)

The official festival art is entitled “Blossom Dance” and showcases the monarch butterfly fluttering amongst the cherry blossoms. The Giant Cherry Blossom sculptures will also return in 2022. Go on a blossom treasure hunt! Pink road signs proclaim Washington DC as home of the National Cherry Blossom Festivals on the main avenues of the National Mall.

Visitors can watch festival performances that demonstrate cross-cultural exchange through a dynamic mix of American and Japanese performing arts on the ANA Stage. Plan to stay for a weekend and enjoy the special Cherry Blossom packages at local hotels. Destination DC operates the Festival hotline at 877.44.BLOOM. Blossom Watch offers a 24/7 live, real-time view of the Japanese cherry trees on the Tidal Basin.

Check availability on accommodation options in Washington DC

blossoms in bloom at the march festivals of the National Cherry Blossom Festival – Washington DC, USA
National Cherry Blossom Festival – Washington DC, USA

Port Fairy Festival – Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia

Where: Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia

When: Annually on Victoria’s Labour Day long weekend: 11 – 15 March, 2022

Duration: 5 days

The Port Fairy Folk Festival is one of my favourite festivals in Australia. But I am not the only one who likes it. In 2019, Conde Nast Traveller ranked it as one of the “World’s Best Festivals”. It takes place in the little seaside town of Port Fairy along the Great Ocean Road and has an awesome vibe. I typically visit Port Fairy a few times a year but the town really comes alive with this important events in March. 

What I love about this festival is not only the great vibe, but that it features a lot of great bands that I wouldn’t otherwise know about. You won’t find the biggest mainstream names, instead, you’ll find bands from all over the world and lots of emerging artists

It is not your typical music festival crowd either. You’ll find everyone from families, friends, couples, seniors and groups of teens – every type of music lover comes out for this festival. There is also a ton of workshops, live theatre acts, carnival games and of course the beer tents. It is all arranged by a Port Fairy non-profit group whose main objective is to support the local community and foster culture and the arts

The Port Fairy Folk Festival takes place each year on the Labour Day long weekend. This year it takes place from March 11 to 15th. If you follow their Facebook or Instagram you can see that they are adding acts daily. Get ready to add them to your Spotify playlist if you like Folk music.

Check availability on accommodation options in Port Fairy

fence in front of Port Fairy Lighthouse on the water
Port Fairy Lighthouse

Spring Equinox Festival – Chichén Itzá, Mexico

Where: Chichén Itzá, Yucatan, Mexico

When: Annually around 21 March: 20 March, 2022

Duration: 1 day

Well known for keeping detailed records of astronomical phenomena, the ancient Mayan’s in Mexico paid special attention to solstices and equinoxes. Dominating the centre of the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá is the pyramid of Kukulcán which was dedicated to the serpent deity, and built to perfectly align with the light and shadows of the equinox. 

People from around the world visit the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá and gather at the great pyramid of Kukulcán during the spring and autumn equinox.

Starting in the late afternoon, the light and shadow creates the illusion of a snake slithering down the pyramid’s staircase until it reaches the snake-head sculpture at the bottom. The Mayans believed that this indicated Kukulcán’s return to earth and they asked for an abundant upcoming harvest season. 

To visit Chichén Itzá, we recommend basing yourself in Valladolid, a short 20 minute drive away. This unique colonial town has lots of things to do in the town itself such as visiting the largest Mexican Folk Art Museum in Mexico and nearby attractions such as the Mayan Ruins of Ek Balam.

Check availability on accommodation options in Valladolid

the pyrmaid of Kukulcan at the March Festival of-Spring Equinox Festival Chichen Itza
Spring Equinox Festival – Chichen Itza

St. Patrick’s Day – Dublin, Ireland

Where: Dublin, Ireland – St. Patrick’s festivities can be found in cities all around the world

When: Annually on the 17 March: 17 March, 2022

Duration: Typically 1 day, but 7 days in Dublin, Ireland

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest festivals which originated in Ireland, but it takes place all over the world nowadays. Anyway, if you want to celebrate in the most authentic way you will have to go to Dublin where it is called ‘Paddy’s Day’ and is a national holiday. This is probably one of the most fun events in March and one of the most fun festivals around the world!

The celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day takes place on the 17th of March and it celebrates the figure of Saint Patrick, patron Saint of Ireland.

During the day the streets of Dublin are tinged with green banners, shamrocks, ribbons, and celebrating corianders. There is a parade held in the morning of the 17th and then the rest of the day is spent by Dubliners and people from all over the world partying in some of the famous pubs spread throughout the city.

On this day the booze literally is flowing and the live Irish music echoes from each pub window and at any street corner, especially in Temple Bar. The atmosphere is festive and joyful, you can easily see people from different parts of the world gather together and enjoy the event.

Because Saint Patrick’s Day has become so popular, the prices for both accommodation and life are quite expensive, definitely way more than during the rest of the year. Also, if you are not a big party lover, it would be better to avoid Dublin on Saint Patrick’s Day because it is absolutely frantic and chaotic.

On the other side, I think that is what is fascinating about this day. I have personally participated in the event around 5 times and enjoyed it every single time. There is just something about Saint Patrick’s Day that you will never experience at any other event in the world and will make you love it!

If you are planning a trip to Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, read our post on Famous Landmarks in Ireland to help you plan your trip and make the most of your time in this beautiful country.

Check availability on accommodation options in Dublin

party goers at the famous march festival of St Patricks day
St. Patrick’s Day – Dublin, Ireland

The Fallas Festival – Valencia, Spain

Where: Valencia, Spain

When: Annually on the 15 – 19 March: 15 – 19 March, 2022

Duration: 5 days

The Fallas Festival is a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. But to us as outside visitors, it is better known as the festival during which they set fire to giant statues all over the city. This once-small event has evolved into a large, five-day celebration attracting an incredible crowd from all over the world. It is considered to be one of the best festivals in Europe in March to visit, and also one of the most unique festivals around the world!

The focus of the festival is the creation and eventual burning of so-called ‘fallas’. These are huge, largely paper-mâché statues, made up of several ninots, or puppets. They often depict satirical scenes and current events.  

From Michael Jackson to Donald Trump, every year you’ll find carricatures of internationally famous people in several of the fallas.

Valencian neighbourhoods get together and work for nearly the entire year to create their own falla, with a total of several hundred fallas throughout the city and in surrounding towns.

The Fallas festival has been added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity list. This has given the festival even more international attention, drawing an even bigger crowd each year.

The best description of the Fallas festival is perhaps this:

“Fallas is a spectacular celebration of Valencian tradition for the locals and an enormous street festival for the visitors.”

For many Valencians it’s what they look forward to and work towards the entire year. It comes with many official activities (ceremonies, offerings, etc) and they take real pride in being a part of it all. For outside visitors, it’s days of street parties, eating, drinking, watching fireworks and walking around the crowded city to check out really impressive statues.

On March 19, after days of festivities throughout the city and in neighbouring towns, participants burn the fallas in huge bonfires, and all the hard work goes up in smoke.

Check availability on accommodation options in Valencia

Tulip Festival – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Where: Amsterdam, Netherlands

When: Annually in late March through to mid-May: 24 March – 15 May, 2022

Duration: approx. 7 weeks

We have added the Tulip Festival to our post on the ‘Best Festivals in May”, however, this festival can also be enjoyed from March through to May each year.

Read more about the Tulip Festival in Amsterdam, Netherlands in our post on the Best Festivals held in May Around the World

lady standing in front of a garden of tulips at the tulip festival in may in amsterdam
Tulip Festival – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Up Helly Aa – Shetland Islands, Scotland

Where: Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland

When: Annually between January and March, but the largest in Lerwick is held annually on the last Tuesday in January: 25 January, 2022

Duration: 1 day

We have added Up Helly Aa to our post on the ‘Best Festivals in January” as the biggest of these festival is held in Lerwick in January. However, this festival can also be enjoyed from January through to March each year.

Read more about the Up Helly Aa in Shetland Islands, Scotland in Festivals in our post on the Best Festivals in January Around the World

Burning of a viking ship at Up Helly Aa march festival in Scotland
Up Helly Aa – Shetland Islands in Scotland

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Check out our Travel Resources page for the companies we use and recommend to plan and book our travels. Through lots of trial and error over the years, these are the best!

In Summary – The Best March Festivals Around the World

You can find many celebrations and festivals around the world which are held throughout every month of the year. You will be spoilt for choice if you choose to celebrate at a festival in March as there are lots of both major festivals around the world and smaller festivals out there for you to pick from and enjoy.

What is your favourite March festival in the world and why? Have you been to any of our list of the best March festivals around the world listed above? Have we missed any you think we should add? Post your tips, comments and questions below.

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Want more info to help you plan your trip? Check out all the ‘Best of World Travel’ articles we’ve written on travel in all parts of the world.

DISCLAIMER: This article contains affiliate links and Exit45 Travels are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more information.

By Peta Wenzel

We are Peta (Australian) and Jonas (Swedish/Australian), a couple in our mid 40’s / early 50’s who have been travelling the world fulltime since January 2018. We met and lived on the Gold Coast, Australia and spent many evenings researching and watching YouTube vlogs about travel and dreaming of the day we would retire and be able to enjoy a lot more travel ourselves. Over the years, a number of events happened to family and friends and an opportunity arose which made us decide to not wait but to instead take a “Gap Year”. We are now in our 3rd year of travel and still hunger for new adventures and embrace the uncertainty that comes with full-time travel. If you want to know more about who we are, why we choose this lifestyle and how we do it, please follow our adventures and see how you can do it too.

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