Spring break is a U.S. phenomenon and an academic tradition which started in the United States and is observed in some other western countries. Spring break is also a vacational period in early spring at universities and schools in various countries in the world, where it is known by names such as Easter vacation, Easter Holiday, March break, spring vacation, Mid-Term Break, study week, reading week, reading period, or Easter week, depending on regional conventions. However, these vacations differ from Spring Break in the United States.
History and timing
Spring break is an academic tradition in various mostly western countries, that is scheduled for different periods depending on the state and sometimes the region.
In Japan, the spring break starts with the end of the academic year in March and ends on April 1 with the beginning of a new academic year.
- South Korea
In South Korea, the spring break starts in mid-February (the end of the academic year) and ends on March 1 (a national holiday) with the beginning of a new academic year.
- Czech Republic
In the Czech Republic only primary and secondary school students have a spring break. The break is one week long and the date of the break differs from county to county to avoid overcrowding of the break destinations in the Czech Republic (Czechs usually travel to the mountains to ski there). The counties are divided into six groups, each group contains counties evenly distributed across the country. The first group starts the holiday on the first Monday of February, the last group starts the holiday five weeks later (usually in early March). The last group of counties becomes the first one to have the spring break the next year.
In the country of Georgia, spring break is typically an Easter holiday which lasts about a week (5–6 days). It usually starts on Monday Thursday and includes Good Friday, an Easter, the Dead Attribution day and the day after. Typically the whole Holy Week. The holiday is usually the week of Lent and people are supposed to avoid being very active during the week. The week is usually followed with some traditions of Georgia and its Orthodox Christianity. Schools with religious education usually get two weeks of break.
In Lithuania, spring break (called Easter holidays or spring holidays) takes place one week before Easter and one day after it (as it is the second day of Easter), all school student have this vacation. Primary school students have another week of holidays after Easter.
In Portugal spring break is mostly known as "Easter Holidays" and it takes two weeks to all students around the country.
Before 1917 there was an Easter Break in schools. In USSR spring break was always from 24 to 31 of March. Now many schools in Russia still have the spring break, but the exact date is decided by the school itself.
In Sweden, Primary school students typically have winter sports holiday for one week in February as well as Easter holidays for one week In April, during Easter.
- United Kingdom
The Easter break in the United Kingdom is either one or two weeks (depending on the local council) and fits around Easter.
Canada gives a week-long break to its elementary school and secondary school students in the month of March, with the time varying from province to province; New Brunswick and Quebec, for example, place their March breaks during the first week of March; Ontario, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia schedule theirs during the second or third week, it is also two weeks long; and the break in Alberta and Manitoba usually occurs in the last week of March. Post-secondary students in Ontario and Alberta usually get a week off in mid-February.
In Jamaica, the spring break starts in the first week of March. The break may range from three days to one week.
- United States
In the United States, spring break at the college and university level can occur from March to April, depending on term dates the Easter holiday. Usually spring break is about one week long, but many K–12 institutions in the United States schedule a two-week-long break known as "Easter Break," "Easter Holidays", or "Easter Vacation" as they generally take place in the weeks before or after Easter. However, in the states of Massachusetts and Maine, schools typically schedule spring break for the week of the third Monday in April to coincide with Patriots' Day.
In Guatemala, it takes place during Easter; schools give students a whole week to rest while the workforce rests approximately three days.
In many regions, the break fulfills the function of making up for snow days in January and February. Because instructors are paid during spring break anyway, school districts do not incur expenses by adding extra days to the school calendar at the end-of-term.
Spring Break festivals
Large annual spring break festivals take place in various countries, often in the form of music festivals and joined by special nightclub parties, beach activities and accommodation offers. This is an incomplete list of places with spring break festivals.
European party destinations are increasingly becoming popular for international spring break guests. Tour agencies have cited the lower drinking ages in these places and that even then, they are rarely enforced. Some tour companies put on special chartered flights for spring break at discounted rates.
Panama City Beach, Florida
Starting in the late 90's, Panama City Beach began advertising the destination hoping to attract crowds that had formerly gone to Fort Lauderdale and then Daytona before those communities enacted restrictions. From 2010-2015 an estimated 300,000 students traveled to the destination. The spawn of social media and digital marketing helped propel the beach town into a student mecca during March. Following well publicized shootings and a gang rape in 2015, several new ordinances were put into effect prohibiting drinking on the beach and establishing a bar closing time of 2AM Central Time. Reports show a drop in Panama City Beach's spring break turnout in March 2016 followed by increased family tourism in April 2016. Both are credited/blamed on the new ordinances by the Bay County Community Development Corporation (CDC).
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale's reputation as a spring break destination for college students started when the Colgate University men's swim team arrived to practice there over Christmas break in 1934. Attracting approximately 20,000 college students in the 1950s, spring break was still known as 'spring vacation' and was a relatively low key affair. This began to change when Glendon Swarthout’s novel, ‘Where the Boys Are’ was published in 1958, effectively ushering in modern spring break. Swarthout’s 1958 novel was quickly made into a movie of the same title in 1960 Where the Boys Are, in which college girls met boys while on spring break there. The number of visiting college students immediately jumped to over 50,000. By the early 1980s, Ft. Lauderdale was attracting between 250,000-350,000 college students per year during spring break. Residents of the Fort Lauderdale area became so upset at the damage done by college students that the local government passed laws restricting parties in 1985. At the same time, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was enacted in the United States, requiring that Florida raise the minimum drinking age to 21 and inspiring many underage college vacationers to travel to other locations in the United States for spring break. By 1989, the number of college students traveling to Fort Lauderdale fell to 20,000, a far cry from the 350,000 who went four years prior.
South Padre Island, Texas
In the early 1980s, South Padre Island became the first location outside of Florida to draw a large number of college students for spring break. With only a few thousand residents, South Padre Island has consistently drawn between 80,000 and 120,000 spring breakers for the last 30 years.
- Laurie, John (2008). Spring Break: The Economic, Socio-Cultural and Public Governance Impacts of College Students on Spring Break Host Locations. ProQuest. p. 17. ISBN 9781109023091.
- studenten-wg.de - About semester breaks in Germany (German)
- Island Party Fiji
- NZ Herald - Fire at Spring Break FIJI
- Stuff - What is Spring Break?
- Kressmann, Jeremy (10 February 2009). "Budget Travel: European Spring Break". Retrieved 23 June 2014.
- Croatia Spring Break
- Spring Break Island Croatia
- Sputnik Springbreak Festival in Pouch, Germany
- Annual Baltic Spring Break, Usedom Island, Germany
- Firstpost video of Mykonos spring break
- Spring Break 2011. Balaton, video
- Spring break Rimini 2012, video
- Spring Break Ibiza
- Springbreak Spain
- Mallorca Spring Break Magaluf
- 2015 SpringBreak Salou by Funbreak, video
- Montego Bay Spring Break Jamaica
- Nassau Spring Break
- Punta Cana Spring Break DomRep
- Spring Break in Acapulco
- Epic Spring Break in Cancun, Mexico, video
- Marsh, Bill. "The Innocent Birth of the Spring Bacchanal". The New York Times, March 19, 2006.
- Laurie, John (2008). Spring Break: The Economic, Socio-Cultural and Public Governance Effects of College Students on Spring Break Host Locations. ProQuest. p. 12. ISBN 9781109023091.
- Bohn, Lauren (30 March 2009). "A Brief History of Spring Break". Time U.S. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- Laurie, John (2008). Spring Break: The Economic, Socio-Cultural and Public Governance Impacts of College Students of Spring Break Host Locations. ProQuest. p. 66. ISBN 9781109023091.
- Media related to Spring break at Wikimedia Commons