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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, day of silence, glsen, glsen day of silence, lgbt,

Observing Day of Silence on Instagram

For more from the 19th annual National Day of Silence, browse the #dayofsilence hashtag and visit the GLSEN website.

Friday marked the 19th Annual Day of Silence, a movement in schools and universities to call attention to the issue of LGBT bullying and harassment among youth.

Organized by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the day is marked by teens spending the day in silence as a symbol of the “silencing effect of anti-LGBT bias and behavior.” The organization estimates that hundreds of thousands of LGBT and allied students at more than 8,000 schools participated in the event this year, many wearing shirts, stickers or pins to explain their reason for silence.

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zoo lovers day, animals, current events, zoos,

Celebrating Zoo Lover’s Day

To view more photos and videos of Zoo Lover’s Day, browse the #zoolovers hashtag on Instagram.

Happy Zoo Lover’s Day! Since the London Zoological Gardens were established in 1828, zoos have been a place to marvel at some of the most fascinating wild animals in the world, all in one place. Many zoos, however, have developed broader and more ambitious goals around education and conservation, engaging visitors in deeper ways with the issues that animals and their habitats may face in the wild.

Interested in learning more about zoos through the day-to-day lives of the animals they care for? Be sure to follow these zoos on Instagram:

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march madness, current events,

March Madness’s Final Teams Compete

For more photos and videos from the competition, browse the #marchmadness hashtag and explore the AT&T Stadium (men’s final) and Bridgestone Arena (women’s final) location pages.

After two weeks of grueling competition, the pool of competitors in the NCAA Basketball Tournament has been whittled down to just four teams on the men’s and women’s sides.

Tonight, the first of the men’s “Final Four” will compete for the right to advance, followed by the women’s games tomorrow. The winning teams will earn a trip to their respective championship matches.

To get a behind-the-scenes peek at the final games on Instagram, be sure to follow these participating players, teams and broadcasters:

Players:

  • Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin Men’s Basketball - @fskpart3
  • Bria Hartley, Connecticut Women’s Basketball - @breezyyy14
  • Julius Randle, Kentucky Men’s Basketball - @juliusrandle30
  • Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford Women’s Basketball - @chiney321
  • Shabazz Napier, Connecticut Men’s Basketball - @shabazznap13r
  • Kayla McBride, Notre Dame Women’s Basketball - @kaymac_21

Teams, Schools and Coaches:

Media:

  • Kenny Smith, basketball analyst - @thejetontnt
  • ESPN, sports television channel - @espn
  • Dick Vitale, basketball sportscaster - @dickiev_espn

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current events, mothering sunday, mother's day,

Celebrating Mothering Sunday in the UK

To view more photos and videos from Mothering Sunday, browse the #MothersDay and #MotheringSunday hashtags and follow @poppyseedhouse, @me_and_orla and @thislakshmi on Instagram.

On Sunday, mums across the United Kingdom will be celebrated for Mothering Sunday. Originally a Christian holiday falling on the fourth Sunday in Lent, the day allowed those in service to visit their “mother” church and see their families. Mothers received wild spring flowers and handmade cards, and they traditionally baked home-baked simnel cake. The day has become a general tribute to motherhood similar to the American Mother’s Day, and still involves giving flowers, cards and gifts to mothers.

"I have three beautiful daughters and they appear frequently in my gallery mainly because I predominately use Instagram as a photographic memory log of our life," says UK Instagrammer, midwife and mum Sharon Cudworth (@poppyseedhouse) from Suffolk. “Instagram has allowed me to venture into the lives of other mothers across the world. I share daily captures of my children that other women have related to: moments of joy, laughter, fun and even despair, and this has been reciprocated too.

"Mothering Sunday is such an important day for me. It is a day where I think of my own mother a lot as she sadly died when I was a child. I missed out on that mother- daughter relationship growing up and therefore dreamed of having a daughter one day. How amazing that I now have three? My husband is usually up early, preparing us all breakfast. My girls usually make their cards. They know I much prefer handmade things, especially by them. They also spoil me with beautiful fresh flowers too."

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current events, earth hour, earth hour 2014, wwf,

Landmarks Go Dark for Earth Hour 2014

For more photos and videos from Earth Hour celebrations around the globe, follow @earthhourofficial on Instagram and browse the #earthhour and #earthhour2014 hashtags.

On Saturday, March 29, people around the world celebrate Earth Hour (@earthhourofficial), a global movement celebrating environmental consciousness. From 8:30PM to 9:30PM in each region’s local time, people across the planet switch off their lights to raise awareness of environmental issues and climate change.

In addition to individual residences, many of the world’s major landmarks go dark for the event, granting locals and visiting Instagrammers alike a rare perspective on these famous buildings. For more photos from the darkened landmarks, explore the location pages below:

This year, Earth Hour launched a crowd-funding campaign that allows people to back projects to help build sustainable communities, protect species and much more. For more information on Earth Hour and their projects, check out earthhour.org.

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world water day, current events,

World Water Day 2014 on Instagram

For more photos and videos from World Water Day around the world, browse the #waterday and #worldwaterday hashtags.

Around the world, 1.2 billion people—nearly a fifth of the planet—lack access to clean water. To call attention to the plight, the United Nations designated March 22 as World Water Day. Here are just a few of the many people and organizations on Instagram working to raise awareness about water issues around the globe:

  • water.org (@water) - Working with hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia and Central America to provide access to safe water and sanitation. Collaborating with Benjamin Heath (@benjaminheath), Steph Goralnick (@sgoralnick) and Simone Bramante (@brahmino) to share scenes from Kenya on Instagram.
  • Balazs Gardi (@balazsgardi) - Photojournalist who has spent the past decade documenting the effects of the unfolding global water crisis.
  • charity: water (@charitywater) - A non-profit organization on a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet. Currently working with Vik Muniz (@vikmuniz) and Students Rebuild (@studentsrebuild) to bring clean water to over 16,000 people in Tanzania.
  • Corey Arnold (@arni_coraldo) - Photographer and fisherman documenting glaciers for Project Pressure (@projectpressure) to create the world’s first interactive glacier archive in order to better understand climate change.
  • Hurley H2O (@hurley_h2o) - Hurley’s water initiative striving alongside Waves for Water (@wavesforwater) to provide clean water for everyone.
  • WaterAid (@wateraid) - Bringing water, sanitation and hygiene education to where it is needed most for over 30 years.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium (@montereybayaquarium) - California aquarium with a mission to inspire conservation of the oceans.

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las fallas, current events, spain, valencia, ayjoselito,

Firecrackers and Giant Monuments for Valencia’s Las Fallas Festival

To view more photos and videos from Las Fallas, explore the Plaça de l’Ajuntament and Plaza del Ayuntamiento location pages and browse the #fallas, #lasfallas and #valenciagram_fallas2014 hashtags.

Each year, the city of Valencia, Spain, celebrates the beginning of spring with one of its biggest festivals: Las Fallas. Throughout March every day at 2:00PM the mascletà takes place where firecrackers are set off in Plaça de l’Ajuntament. Tapas, drinks and fiestas throughout the city follow into the evening.

The Las Fallas festival originated as the burning of parots—overhanging structures used to give light that were no longer needed as the days grew longer in springtime. The festival is also tied to the Patron Saint of carpenters, Saint Joseph and many people would burn old furniture in the street. Nowadays, neighborhoods decorate their streets with lights and create their fallas—giant handmade polystyrene figures from popular culture that are paraded on floats down the city’s streets from March 15-19. Often grotesque and satirical, these artistic monuments take months to create and later become huge bonfires across the city. Awards are presented for the best falla, as well as for the best street lights, and the festival culminates in an impressive firework display called Nit del Foc, or “Night of Fire,” that attracts visiting and local Instagrammers alike.

"The spring light changes every single corner of the city. These are the days to walk the streets, to go out and see the monuments, the light decorations, days to hang out with friends, to go to the mascletà everyday in the city center, to watch the fireworks at night by the river Turia at Paseo de la Alameda,” says Valencia Instagrammer Jose (@ayjoselitoo).

"Thousands of tourists visit Valencia in these magical days. Valencia welcomes spring and every single tourist and local with its shiny sun, its lovely blue sky and the smell of azahar flowers (orange blossoms) in the streets.”

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St. Patrick's Day, current events,

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Across the World

To view more photos and videos from St. Patrick’s day celebrations, browse the #stpatricksday hashtag on Instagram.

Green-clad, shamrock-decorated and probably drinking a pint of Guinness, people of Irish descent across the world will take to the streets and pubs to celebrate Irish heritage for St. Patrick’s Day on Monday. The first Feast of St. Patrick honored the 5th-century patron saint of Ireland and the arrival of Christianity in the 1600s. Restrictions on eating and drinking for lent are lifted on this day, adding to the merry St. Paddy’s Day atmosphere. This year Ireland also celebrates winning the Six Nations rugby title, after defeating France on Saturday. A public holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland, March 17 is also widely celebrated across the world by enthusiastic expats.

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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.