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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 event, cricket, india,

Cricket Season Kicks off for the Indian Premier League (IPL)

To see more photos and videos from the tournament, browse the #IPL hashtag and follow @indianpremierleague.

On Wednesday, the Indian Premier League (@indianpremierleague) kicked off its season of cricket games. As one of the biggest cricket tournaments in the world, hundreds of thousands of fans around the globe tune in to watch the league matches.

This year, the IPL is taking the games outside of India to United Arab Emirates (UAE), where they will start the season with support from their international fans. The league will play at cricket stadiums in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah until the end of April before they return to their home grounds in India to play for local fans.

For a front-row view into the matches of this season, be sure to follow IPL’s Instagram account @indianpremierleague as well as accounts from your favorite teams:

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current event, songkan, south east asia,

Southeast Asia Celebrates Songkran, the Traditional New Year

For more photos and videos from Songkran Celebrations, browse the #Songkran hashtag.

Starting this Sunday, communities in Southeast Asia celebrate the Southeast Asian New Year, widely known around the world as Songkran (สงกรานต์). For centuries, people in places like Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (also known as Burma) have marked the starting of a new year with this three-day festival.

Rooted in Buddhism, the events held during Songkran vary from country to country. The most common ritual involves large crowds of people taking to the streets to douse one another with water. Splashing water stands as a religious symbol of bringing good fortune to others, but nowadays it is often taken up for pure enjoyment as well as light relief during the region’s hottest month of the year. Instagrammers taking part in the festivities gear up with water guns, goggles, bathing suits and, of course, waterproof smartphone cases to capture the excitement. Other customs include visiting Buddhist shrines to pray, bringing food to monks and cleansing statues of Buddha.

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current event, qingmingjie,

Observing Tomb Sweeping Day (清明节), the Spring Festival of Remembrance

To view more photos and videos of Qingming festivities, browse the #qingming, #清明 and #清明节 hashtags on Instagram.

On the 104th day after the winter solstice, communities across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and parts of Southeast Asia observe Qingming Festival (清明节 or 清明節), also known as Tomb Sweeping Day.

A bittersweet day for many, families observe the holiday as a time to honor deceased loved ones as well as celebrate the arrival of spring. On Qingming, people visit their ancestors’ grave sites to sweep the tombs, place offerings of food and drink, burn joss papers and say prayers to remember the departed.

Literally translating to “clear bright festival,” the holiday also marks the period on the East Asian lunisolar calendar when the atmosphere becomes clear and bright, the weather warms and signs of spring start appearing. In addition to the commemoration activities, it is also a time for families to go out for picnics, enjoy kite-flying or start spring plowing to take advantage of the coming agricultural season.

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current event, holi,

Capturing the 2014 Holi Festivals on Instagram

To view more photos and videos from Holi festivals, browse the #holi and #holi2014 hashtags on Instagram.

On Monday, Hindus everywhere celebrate Holi, an annual festival of colors that marks the beginning of spring. The festivities start out with bonfires held on the eve of Holi, which symbolize the victory of good over evil in Hindu mythology.

On the day of Holi, thousands of people take to the streets to celebrate the abundant colors of spring by throwing colored powder and water at one another in mass gatherings. In Hindu temples, devotees enter into a shower of colors as they gather for holiday prayers. The festivities are traditionally held by Hindu communities in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal, and nowadays are spreading across non-Hindu communities as an opportunity to engage with the Hindu culture. Drawn by the vibrant colors, many Instagrammers taking part in the celebration are capturing and sharing this joyous and colorful day with the world.

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current event, graduation, south korea,

Capturing Graduation Season in South Korea

To see more photos and videos of graduation celebrations in South Korea, browse the #졸업식 (graduation ceremony), #졸업 (graduation), #졸업축하 (congratulating graduation) and #학사모 (mortar board) hashtags on Instagram.

This week, students across South Korea celebrate their graduation as many schools reach the end of their school year. During this season, streets in and around school campuses turn festive with numerous pop-up shops lining sidewalks with flower bouquets, food and party favors to add to the excitement of the joyous day.

With one of the world’s highest high-school-graduation and college-enrollment rates in the world, the schooling environment in the country is extremely competitive, making graduation an especially important milestone in South Korean life. Classmates, family members and extended relatives gather for the celebration, and Instagrammers attending graduation ceremonies are sharing their special moments with the world.

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current event, Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan,

The 2014 Sapporo Snow Festival Begins in Sapporo, Japan

To see more photos and videos of this year’s snow festival, explore the さっぽろ雪まつり SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL, 大通公園 (Odori Park), つどーむ and すすきの (Susukino) location pages.

The 65th Sapporo Snow Festival (さっぽろ雪まつり) began yesterday in the northern city of Sapporo, Japan. The week-long festival is one of the biggest winter events in the country, displaying hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures in three venues across the city. Millions of visitors from around the world gather to marvel at the towering snow art and the elegantly shaped figures made of ice.

The Japan Self-Defense Forces, local construction companies, guest teams from abroad and local volunteers spend up to one month completing their projects. In addition to featuring trends and icons from the previous year, this year’s snow sculptures also showcase famous architectural structures such as the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daula in India and Malaysia’s Sultan Abdul Samad building.

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Super Bowl XLVIII, denver broncos, seattle seahawks, current event,

Inside Super Bowl XLVIII on Instagram

To see photos and videos from those at the game, explore the MetLife Stadium location page.

Today Super Bowl XLVIII kicks off at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. The game starts at 6:30PM EST / 3:30PM PST, but activities are already underway. For live photos and videos from the sidelines, check out the following accounts:

Watching the big game from home? Share photos and videos from your Super Bowl party with the #superbowl and #SB48 hashtags.

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current event, seollal, Lunar New Year, south korea,

Celebrating the Lunar New Year in South Korea

To see more photos and videos of Seollal traditions, browse the #설날 (Seollal), #떡국 (teokguk), #세배 (sebae) and #세뱃돈 (sebae-don) hashtags.

This week, many East Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year, which marks the first day of the lunar calendar. In most years, the holiday falls on the day of the second new moon after winter solstice, which this year is January 31. Many know this holiday as “Chinese New Year” with its dragon dancers, red packets and lanterns, but the holiday also has strong importance and rich traditions in South Korea as well.

In South Korea, the holiday is called Seollal (설날) and is celebrated over a course of three days. The event is one of the most important celebrations of the year for many families who often come together and pay respect to their ancestors. Many Instagrammers in South Korea are sharing the festivities taking place this week.

Traditionally, Seollal celebrations include wearing a formal dress called a hanbok (한복) and performing an act of sebae (세배)—a ceremonial deep bow to the spirits of deceased ancestors or to the eldest members of the household. Many children look forward to this day as they receive a gift of money called sebae don (세뱃돈) after the bowing, which comes enclosed in colorful envelopes. Festive meals are also a big part of Seollal, consisting of a dish called tteokguk (떡국)—a soup with thinly sliced rice cakes and dumplings. The rice cake is a symbol of new beginnings, and eating the rice cake signifies growing a year older with the new year.

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torah bright, user feature, current event, sochi2014, Who I follow,

#WhoIFollow: Along for the Ride at the Winter Olympics with @torahbright

In the #WhoIFollow series, we ask Instagrammers to share their favorite people to follow. For more photos and videos from Torah (@torahbright) and her favorite fellow Olympians on Instagram, follow US alpine ski racer Julia Mancuso (@juliamancuso), US snowboarder Danny Davis (@travelindan), Canada snowboarder Mark McMorris (@markmcmorris) and US alpine ski racer Steven Nyman (@believeinsteven).

Next week, the world’s best winter athletes will descend upon Sochi (@sochi2014) in southwestern Russia for the Winter Olympic Games (@olympics). Australian snowboarder Torah Bright (@torahbright), the defending gold medalist in the women’s halfpipe, is returning for her third Winter Olympics and plans to share her experience at the games on Instagram. “Snowboarding has given me a life I never could have dreamed of. I love snowboarding. My motivation to bring people along for the ride in Sochi is to share our sport’s rather unique culture,” she explains.

Torah also hopes to share moments beyond what you might see televised. “Some parts of competing at the Olympics are glamorous and some are not. I hope to share and paint a realistic picture of an athlete’s experience at the games.” In particular, Torah’s looking forward to meeting and spending time with other Olympians. “For a lot of the winter sports, the Olympics is the only time that all of our paths cross. The food hall in the athlete village is the best place for meeting people. I personally can’t wait to meet some ski jumpers—those guys literally fly!”

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current event, up helly aa, scotland,

Scotland Celebrates Up Helly Aa 2014

For more photos and videos from the celebrations in Scotland, browse the #uphellyaa hashtag.

In Scotland, on the last Tuesday of each January, towns throughout Shetland mark the end of the Yule Season with the Up Helly Aa fire festival. In preparation for the festival, each town’s men organize into squads, with the chief squad led by the Jarl, an elected leader for the entire festival.

On the evening of the festival, the men dress in Viking costume and parade through the town carrying lit torches. In larger towns such as Lerwick, the processions can number nearly 1,000 celebrants. As night falls, the men follow the Jarl to the coastline where they throw their torches into a replica Viking longship and sing while it burns.