Music, food, and nature – these are just a few of the best festivals in March around the world. Plan your trip around the March celebrations to really make it one to remember!
Festivals are not just for summer. March brings an end to winter and moderate temperatures, making it a perfect time to travel.
Spice up your routine by checking out one or two of these unique festivals.
Make plans early since some events have limited ticketing.
March festivals around the world
Take a look at the best March celebrations for your festival calendar this year.
1. St Patrick’s Day Festival, Ireland
14th – 17th March 2024
Pack your best green fashion for the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin. This five-day event celebrates Irish culture, music, food, and entertainment.
Wrap up the party on St. Paddy’s Day with a massive street carnival on 17th March. You’ll find parades, vendors, live music stages, and fun on O’Connell Street and across the centre of Dublin.
You will find festivities all over Ireland, not just in the capital city. So regardless of where you land, you can raise a glass to honour Ireland’s patron saint. This is one of the best festivals in March around the world.
2. SXSW Festival, USA
8th -16th March 2024
South by Southwest is a renowned festival in Austin, Texas, each March. This media festival features a plethora of film, music, and comedy events.
But that’s not all. SXSW also hosts tech panels, speakers, and exhibitions. So you have a good chance of rubbing elbows with the rich, famous, and entrepreneurial.
Of course, Austin is also famous for its outstanding food and drink. Everything’s bigger in Texas — and that includes BBQ beef and margaritas!
Travellers of all ages and interests can find something to enjoy at SXSW. I had a brilliant time at SXSW, you can check out my costing guide to SXSW here.
3. Narvik Winter Festival, Norway
In the land of the midnight sun and lightless winter, Norwegians pride themselves on creating infrastructure in this arctic terrain.
Dating back to World War II, the Narvik Winter celebrates the Ofoten iron-ore railroad that provided prosperity and materials to the country.
Narvik Winter Festival hosts over 200 music, culture, art, theatre, and dance programs for 50,000 annual visitors. So pack your warmest flannel shirts, black clothes, and hats while children wear whimsical costumes.
4. Fête de la Coquille St. Jacques
16th March 2024
The Festival of the Scallop is a charming French event celebrated in various coastal towns in March, particularly in regions like Brittany and Normandy. As you might have guessed by the name, it’s all about the scallop, as well as maritime traditions and the coastal communities.
During the festival, you’ll find a variety of activities centred around the scallop. There are cooking demonstrations by chefs, tastings where you can try freshly prepared scallops in various forms, and even boat trips where you can learn about scallop fishing. There’s also market stalls abound with freshly caught scallops, often sold by the very fishermen who harvested them.
5. Food and Fun Festival, Iceland
Iceland’s Food and Fun Festival brings chefs from Iceland, mainland Europe, and the Americas together for a one-week competition. Chefs work with local restaurants to whip up gourmet cuisine at affordable prices.
This festival is not sprawled out in the streets of Reykjavik like other food festivals. Instead, all events, tastings, and demonstrations occur in established or pop-up restaurants around town.
You will find cutting-edge culinary experiments, unusual and unique wines and spirits, and locally sourced ingredients.
At the same time, the Food and Fun Festival showcases Iceland’s stunning landscape and year-round outdoor adventures.
READ MORE: Why Does Everyone Love Iceland?
6. Holi Festival, India & Nepal
25th March 2024
Many people recognize the Holi Festival for its vibrant colour displays and message of unity. Each year, Indians come together and wash away their differences for the day. Men and women intermingle, observing the mantra, ‘follow no norms and have as much fun as you want’.
Holi is not only one of the most important festivals in March, but also one of the top festivals in India.
The festival begins as a mellow morning and escalates into a color-bomb party by mid-afternoon. The Holi Festival is best characterized by laughter and smiles. People forget their real life and prank their friends and family.
7. Cape Town Jazz Festival, South Africa
23rd – 24th February 2024
For over twenty years, the Cape Town Jazz Festival has attracted nearly 40,000 people each year to its five major venues. It features music by dozens of musicians from around the world, like South Africa, the UK, USA, and India. It’s usually a March festival, but can sometimes happen in February.
Performers play Jazz, R&B, Jazz fusion, Afro-fusion, rap, gospel, drumming and percussion, Latin jazz, with headliners like Chaka Khan. In addition, you can find intimate performances from solo artists to major stages with 20-piece bands.
Enjoy the area before and after the two-day Jazz Festival. Cape Town has exquisite art and culture, restaurants, bars, and outdoor activities.
8. Mendoza Grape Harvest Festival, Argentina
First weekend of March (Annually)
Dating back to 1936, the annual Mendoza Grape Harvest Festival celebrates the region’s vineyards and winemakers. The harvest occurs all over the Mendoza province. You can find events like “Blessing of the Harvest,” parades, theatre, fireworks, and live music in the downtown area. More than 40,000 revellers attend the Grape Harvest Festival each year to partake in the activities and taste wines influenced by growers worldwide.
READ MORE: The Best Festivals in Ireland
9. Pasifika Festival, New Zealand
9th and 10th March, 2024
Celebrated in New Zealand, this festival showcases Pacific Island cultures. The Pasifika Festival typically takes place in Auckland where you can see contemporary art, music, dance, and cuisine from various Pacific communities.
You’ll be able to witness and gain a deeper understanding about cultures like Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, and Maori, among others. It’s generally a free event in March, as their aim to is to make it a community celebration accessible to all.
10. Spring Equinox Festival, Chichen Itza, Mexico
21st March 2024
The ancient Mayan civilizations in Mexico kept meticulous records of stellar phenomena, particularly solstices and equinoxes. The pyramid of Kukulcán, a serpent deity, was built to align with the light and shadows of the equinox twice a year.
As the sun sets on the equinox, the shadows resemble a snake and ask Kukulcán for an abundant upcoming harvest season.
When you observe this remarkable celebration, bring comfortable shoes, sun protection and water, and a cap or a hat. Even in March, the Yucatan can be pretty warm and humid.
11. Starkbierzeit Festival, Germany
Love Oktoberfest but cannot wait until autumn?
Check out Munich, Germany’s Starkbierzeit, Strong Beer Festival in March each year to tide you over. The 21-day Starkbierzeit recalls centuries ago when residents depended on strong beers to help them make it through weeks of fasting during Lent. Local breweries like Paulaner am Nockherberg serve up beers with an alcohol content of at least 7.5%.
Events occur all over Munich in breweries, beer halls, and restaurants, most notably Löwenbräukeller or the Nockherberg Paulaner brewery.
12. Kakku Pagoda Festival, Shan State, Myanmar
Ready for something a bit more spiritual?
The Kakku Pagoda Festival occurs each March to celebrate the end of the harvest season for the Pa-Oh people.
The area around the pagodas transforms into pop-up shops offering locally handcrafted goods like children’s toys and textiles and locally grown produce. A portion of the revenues is donated to the temple.
This event is immersed in local culture, religion, and art, paying homage to this archaeological site with food and traditional dance performances. Locals bring food offerings to the monks and pay tribute to the faith.
13. Gudi Padwa/Ugadi
9th April 2024
Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and Ugadi in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are New Year festivals celebrated in various regions of India. These festivals, usually occurring in late March or early April, are again about the coming of spring.
People often decorate their homes with colourful rangoli, hoist a special “Gudi” flag as a symbol of victory and prosperity, and prepare a variety of festive dishes. All the community comes together to enjoy, alongside religious ceremonies, and, of course, delicious food.
14. Las Fallas Festival
15th to 19th March 2024
Is there anything more mesmerising than standing around a fire, watching the flames flicker and engulf what they’re fed? Now imagine that on an epic level, like in Valencia, Spain, at Las Fallas Festival. Artists spend a year building 20-foot statues, knowing that their artwork’s inevitable and intended end is to be set alight in front of thousands of festivalgoers in the name of celebration.
Las Fallas is definitely one of the best festivals in the world for you to check out.
15. Nowruz, Iran
20th March 2024
Otherwise known as the Persian New Year, Nowruz is a celebration that marks the first day of spring and the renewal of nature. Although it’s predominantly celebrated in Iran, other countries celebrate Nowruz like Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia and Europe.
The celebrations often include elaborate table settings called “Haft-Seen,” fire-jumping rituals, and a range of foods. Nowruz – like many of the others on the March festival list – honours the changing of the season and ideas of rebirth and renewal.
16. Calle Ocho Festival
Held in Miami, Florida, the Calle Ocho Festival is a one-day event in March that celebrates Cuban culture and the broader Latin American community. The festival is part of the annual Carnaval Miami and has street parades, live music stages, and food stalls offering everything from Cuban sandwiches to arepas.
You’ll find international Latin music stars who performing live, which explains the large crowds. Pitbull actually made his debut there too!
As you might expect, the energy at this international event in March is high! Whether you’re a fan of salsa dancing or simply looking to enjoy some delicious Latin American cuisine, the Calle Ocho Festival has a lot going on.
17. Ides of March, Rome, Italy
15th March (Annually)
Commemorated especially in Rome, Ides of March marks the assassination of Julius Caesar. The assassination happened in 44 B.C., but this March festival remains popular to this day.
It’s not a festival in the same way the others in March are, but there are lots of things going on and events around Rome that you could kind of call it one. There’s reenactments, guided tours focused on Caesar’s assassination, and lots more to do with the history of that date.
18. Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
22nd – 31st March 2024
Amazing city, amazing food, amazing wine and just overall an amazing time. The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival takes place every year around March time, and brings a wide variety of street food stalls to feast at.
It attracts renowned chefs from Melbourne and further afield, who do cooking demos, wine tastings and more. If you’re a foodie or just love your wine, this is a pretty good March festival to get on your list.
Festivals in March
Attending festivals in March is an excellent opportunity to enjoy culture and temperate weather. Longer days with more light make March festivals the perfect time to travel and try something new.
Some of the best festivals around the world happen in March, including those in Europe and further away. A lot are rooted in the change in season, so they’re all about welcoming spring through religious, spiritual or symbolic ways. But more than that, they’re about having a good time.
READ NEXT: The Best Festivals in April
Which festival is celebrated in the month of March?
March is a month with lots of festivals and celebrations, but one of the most universally celebrated is St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th. Originating in Ireland, this festival is now celebrated in March around the world with parades, green-themed events, and lots of good cheer.
Another world-famous March festival is Holi, the Indian festival of colours, which marks the end of winter and the arrival of spring. This attracts huge numbers of visitors every year.
What is March known for in UK?
In the UK, March is generally known for marking the beginning of spring. There are a couple of international events and special days in March such as St. David’s Day, celebrated in Wales on the 1st of March, with daffodils often worn to mark the occasion.
There’s also the Cheltenham Festival, a horse-racing event, which also usually takes place in March, as well as the green-themed St. Patrick’s Day.
Which are the best festivals in March in Europe?
There are lots of festivals in March in Europe that you’re spoiled for choice. Aside from St. Patrick’s Day, which is celebrated across many European cities, the Las Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain stands out. This event is famous for its intricate sculptures that are eventually set ablaze.
Another of the popular March celebrations around the world is the Munich Strong Beer Festival in Germany, often considered the lesser-known sibling of Oktoberfest but just as enjoyable.
How many celebrations are there in March?
There are too many celebrations in March to count, as they span geographic, cultural, and religious contexts. From International Women’s Day to Purim, a Jewish holiday, and Nowruz, the Persian New Year, March is a month that’s rich with festivals, national days and events.
Are there religious festivals in March around the world?
Several religious festivals are celebrated in March around the globe. For instance, Holi, a Hindu festival, usually falls in March, celebrated with vibrant colours and songs. Purim is a Jewish holiday that generally occurs in March, marked by the reading of the Book of Esther and festive meals. Depending on the lunar calendar, the Islamic festival of Isra and Mi’raj may also be observed in March. These festivals, among others, make March a spiritually significant month for various communities.
Celebrations in March around the world
These March festivities are the best around the globe. If you’re planning a trip in March, I’d always recommend looking at the March celebrations going on while you’re travelling – you never know what festivities your trip has serendipitously timed with!