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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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current events, white day,

Capturing White Day Celebrations on Instagram

To see more photos and videos of White Day celebrations, browse the #whiteday, #ホワイトデー and #화이트데이 hashtags on Instagram.

On Friday, Japan, South Korea and other East Asian countries celebrate White Day, a day when men return Valentine favors to women. Unlike in Western cultures where couples exchange their mutual love on Valentine’s Day, in these countries the holiday is considered a day for women to show their love and appreciation for men by handing out chocolates and small gifts. In return, men are expected to return the favor a month later on March 14.

White Day has its origin in late 1970s Japan when a local confectionery company in Southern Japan started to market the idea with marshmallows, calling it Marshmallow Day. Now, the day is widely celebrated across East Asia, with gifts varying from candies and flowers, to more expensive fancy dinners and jewelry.

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current events, vendimia, mendoza, argentina,

Capturing Mendoza’s Grape Harvest Festival on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from The Grape Harvest Festival, explore the Anfiteatro Griego Frank Romero Day location page and browse the #Vendimia hashtag.

Dating back to the 17th century, the Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (“The National Grape Harvest Festival”) is one of Argentina’s most important celebrations. Every year, wine enthusiasts from all over the world gather in the city of Mendoza for fireworks, music, dancing and—of course—lots of wine. As part of the celebrations in the months leading up to the festival, pageants take place in Mendoza’s 18 provincial districts to crown local young beauty queens.

The Grape Harvest Festival officially kicks off with a parade where each queen rides in on an elaborate float decorated with grape harvest motifs. The queens wear costumes designed to celebrate the characteristics of their district’s winemaking. The following day, another traditional parade takes place featuring gauchos dressed in traditional cowboy attire.

The Grape Harvest Festival ends with a large show at the Frank Romero Day Greek Theater. When the clock strikes midnight, the new Grape Harvest Queen is crowned before a large crowd who have gathered to steal a glimpse of the new queen on her coronation night.

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iwd2014, international women's day, current events,

International Women’s Day 2014

For more photos and videos from incredible women sharing their stories on Instagram, be sure to follow Michelle Obama (@michelleobama), Stella McCartney (@stellamccartney) Condoleezza Rice (@condoleezzarice), Jenny Jones (@jennyjonessnow) and Laura Mvula (@lauramvula).

On Saturday, men and women around the world celebrate International Women’s Day. An official holiday for many countries, the day has been observed since the 1900s as a chance to celebrate women’s economic, political and social achievements. As a tribute to women everywhere, here are some of the exceptional women using Instagram to document their incredible stories of talent, triumph and humanitarianism:

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Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana, current events,

Mardi Gras 2014 on Instagram

To see more photos and videos of Mardi Gras celebrations across Louisiana, visit the Lafayette Square and Lee Circle location pages and explore the #mardigras2014 hashtag.

Laissez les bons temps rouler, it’s Mardi Gras!

For Catholics, tomorrow is the beginning of Lent, a six-week period of fasting and prayer. Around the world, this period of quiet piety and reflection is ushered in by massive colorful parades and celebrations called Carnival—except in Louisiana, where it goes by the name Mardi Gras.

Translated from French as “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras festivities have actually been in full swing for weeks. The season is marked by festive costumes, king cake and elaborate parades across New Orleans and nearby cities.

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carnivale de ivrea, carnival, Italy, current events,

Capturing Carnevale di Ivrea (Battle of the Oranges) on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from Carnevale di Ivrea, explore the Ivrea and Carnevale di Ivrea location page and browse the #carnevaleivrea hashtag on Instagram.

Ivrea, a town in northern Italy, plays host to one of the biggest food fights in Europe every year. Attendees in traditional dress from the middle ages flood the streets and are encouraged to pelt each other with oranges.

The Carnevale di Ivrea (Battle of the Oranges) is the fabled recreation of a medieval battle between townspeople and guards—the origins of which are a mixture of legend and history about driving an evil tyrant out of the city. With horse-drawn carts and helmets, organized teams gather in the town’s square for the battle, leaving only a trail of pulp and peel as evidence of destruction.

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current events, Academy Awards, Oscars, lupita nyong'o, jared leto,

The 86th Academy Awards on Instagram

For more photos and videos from the Academy Awards, explore the Dolby Theater location page and browse the #AcademyAwards and #Oscars hashtags.

The 86th Academy Awards (@theacademy) took place last night at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California. The rain didn’t get in the way as nominees, winners and folks from the film industry Instagrammed their path from the red carpet to the after-parties in celebration of the last year’s achievements in film. Highlights from the night included host Ellen DeGeneres (@theellenshow)’s nominee-packed selfie and photographer Mark Seliger (@markseliger)’s Instagram portraits at the Vanity Fair (@vanityfair) after-party.

To see the night through their eyes, explore the accounts of these attendees on Instagram:

  • Ellen DeGeneres, host – @theellenshow
  • Lupita Nyong’o, winner Best Actress in a Supporting Role (12 Years a Slave) – @lupitanyongo
  • Jared Leto, winner Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Dallas Buyers Club) – @jaredleto
  • Emmanuel Lubezki, winner Best Achievement in Cinematography (Gravity) – @chivexp
  • Patrick Tubach, nominee for Visual Effects (Star Trek Into Darkness) – @echothecrat
  • Michael B Jordan, presenter – @michaelbjordan
  • Ewan McGregor, presenter – @mcgregor_ewan
  • Jamie Foxx, presenter – @iamjamiefoxx
  • Wolfgang Puck, event chef – @chefwolfgangpuck
  • Mark Seliger, Vanity Fair portraitist – @markseliger

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ASP, WCT, current events, tips,

Tips from the ASP: Taking the Perfect Surf Action Shot

For more photos and videos from the Samsung Galaxy 2014 ASP World Championship Tour, explore the Snapper Rocks Beach location page and follow surfers Kelly Slater (@kellyslater), Carissa Moore (@rissmoore10), Mick Fanning (@mfanno), Stephanie Gilmore (@stephaniegilmore), Gabriel Medina (@gabrielmedinaaa) and Courtney Conlogue (@courtneyconlogue).

The Association of Surfing Professionals (@asp) kicks off its 2014 World Championship Tour today in Australia’s Gold Coast. The world’s best male and female surfers will take to the water to compete for the highest scores from judges considering level of difficulty, innovation, variety, speed, power and flow.

Whether you’re attending the Quiksilver and Roxy Pros or simply getting a surf session in with friends, keep these tips from ASP photographers Kirstin Scholtz (@kirstinscholtz) and Kelly Cestari (@kc80) in mind:

  • Nothing will end a water session quicker than a leak. Protect your water housing from any possible damage.
  • You will never win a fight against the ocean, but the more time you spend shooting in the water the higher your success rate will be and your confidence will grow with each session.
  • Communicate with the surfer about the type of image you have in mind and it will come a lot easier. Build a good working relationship with them, so they trust you not to ruin their wave and you trust them not to injure you.
  • Early morning and late afternoon are often the most magical times to shoot surfing. There is nothing more beautiful than a surfer silhouetted against a glowing backlit wave or wave painted with purples and pinks reflecting the colors of sunset.
  • Keep looking for new angles. Shooting from behind the wave can make the face look steeper and the wave bigger. Shooting from above makes it look smaller and flatter.

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MLB, spring training, current events,

MLB Spring Training on Instagram

Browse the #springtraining hashtag for more photos and videos from Spring Training.

Spring training is here! Starting every February, Major League Baseball (@mlb) runs a six-week series of practices and exhibition games as a warm-up for the regular season. New players use spring training to try out for a roster and established players get game-like practice in before serious competition begins.

Crowds flock to the games in Arizona (Cactus League) and Florida (Grapefruit League) to bask in warm weather and get a first look at their favorite teams. Can’t make it this year? Be sure to follow your favorite teams on Instagram:

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sochi2014, olympics, current events,

Looking Back at the Winter Olympics on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from the Sochi 2014 Closing Ceremony explore the Fisht Olympic Stadium location page and browse the #ClosingCeremony hashtag on Instagram.

On Sunday, the 2014 Winter Olympics officially came to a close. Over the past two weeks athletes from 88 different countries competed in Sochi, Russia, before thousands of fans. Spectators and athletes alike captured some of Sochi 2014’s finest moments, from The Opening Ceremony to life in the Olympic village and from the events themselves to, finally, the Closing Ceremony. The Closing Ceremony celebrated Russia’s rich artistic heritage, with references to Kandinsky and Chagall, music by Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, and Vladimir Horowitz, as well as Ballet from the Bolshoi. As the games came to an end, Sochi officially passed the torch to South Korea for 2018.

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current events, venezuela,

Inside the Demonstrations in Venezuela

To view more photos and videos from the protests in Venezuela, visit the Chacaíto and Plaza Luis Brión location pages or browse the #SOSVenezuela hashtag on Instagram.

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of demonstrators came together in Caracas, Venezuela’s Plaza Luis Brión to voice discontent with the government over crime, the economy and pressures on free speech.

This protest is the latest in a series of demonstrations over the past several weeks, many of which have resulted in violence between protestors and the police. Opposition leader Leopoldo López, the former mayor of Caracas who the government has charged with stoking the violence, made a speech before the crowds in the plaza before turning himself in to the police.