After long, seemingly neverending winters, tulips pop up in a variety of bright colors to transition us into spring. As if that’s not celebration enough, tulip festivals are held around the world for people to enjoy the bulbs at peak bloom.
It’s unlikely that displays of tulips will bring anything but a smile to your face, and these tulip festivals rank highest among the must-sees around the world. They’re also packed with rich history. Rather than a few days of back-to-back events, many of the festivals around the world occur over a period of a month or more, when the tulips are flowering. During festival season, many of these locations host parades, performances, art shows, and more. But no matter the exciting lineup, the tulip gardens are always the headliners.
Every spring Holland is the place to admire colorful flower fields and to welcome the new spring season. People from all over the world come to enjoy the beautiful Keukenhof tulip garden and explore the tulip fields just 30 minutes outside the center of Amsterdam.
Tulips were native flowers to Central Asia and Turkey before they were exported to Holland in the 16th century. Because of these roots, the tulip plays a huge role in Turkish culture all year round. During the month of April, impressive tulip displays decorate parks and squares across the city, with some places displaying millions of tulips in the area. The festival also features musical performances, photography and art exhibitions, and sporting events—all dedicated to the widely cherished flower.
Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden is the largest tulip garden in India. The garden was originally built to promote tourism and floriculture in the state of Kashmir. Millions of tulips fill the garden from over 60 varieties. But the views offer even more than tulips: The garden is located at the bottom of the Zabarwan Range and along Dal Lake, where tourists can enjoy houseboat tours.
The Tesselaar Tulip Festival is a month of nonstop entertainment. In addition to taking a leisurely walk to explore over 950,000 tulips, visitors can enjoy everyday live entertainment. Each week of the festival has a slightly different theme. Last year, there was a Turkish weekend and a Dutch weekend to celebrate the different cultures associated with tulips.
The Albany Tulip Festival is rich with tradition, kicking off every year with a traditional Dutch ceremony of street scrubbing. People fully clothed in traditional Dutch attire—wooden shoes and all—scrub the streets clean to prepare for the big celebration. Over the festive weekend, Washington Park is filled with over a hundred artisans and food vendors, two live entertainment stages, and of course, over 140,200 tulips. There’s even a Royal Tulip Ball and the coronation of a Tulip Queen.