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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.


Photography, events, Japan, fireworks, fire festival 2014, Location Feature, current event, Instagram,

Igniting Handheld Fireworks at Summer Festivals in Japan

For more photos and videos of the handheld fireworks, browse the 手筒花火 hashtag.

Brave men of central Japan ignite handheld fireworks, bringing exciting showers of flames to local summer fire festivals. These cylindrical, handheld pyrotechnics called tezutsu-hanabi (手筒花火) originated in Toyohashi during the Edo Period (1603-1868) and continue in modern-day Japan with events such as the 19th annual Fire Festival (炎の祭典) this Saturday. To make these fireworks, craftsmen stuff black powder into bamboo trunks casted with thick ropes. Once lit, the cylinders spray sparks of fire until the explosives finish with a loud blast.

Shinto festivals traditionally used fireworks to protect people from evil spirits and bad fortune, and they now make up an essential summertime activity in Japan. The handheld fireworks are still crafted to present as offerings to local shrines until they are fired on festival day. Only a handful of summer events in central Japan feature this type of firework, and the thrilling displays of men inside downpours of sparks offer local and visiting Instagrammers a chance to capture some of the most spectacular moments of the summer.


photography, food, Eid al-Fitr, eid mubarak, ramadan, muslim, current event, Instagram,

Breaking the Fast on Eid al-Fitr Day

For more photos and videos of Eid al-Fitr celebrations, browse the #EidalFitr, #عيدالفطر and #EidMubarak hashtags.

Eid Mubarak! The new moon was sighted on Sunday in Saudi Arabia, which indicates the end of Ramadan and the period of celebration that begins the following day. Commonly known as Eid al-Fitr (عيد الفطر) in the Arabic-speaking world, the festival also goes by other names such as Idul Fitri in Indonesia, Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Malaysia and Shemai Eid in Bangladesh.

While there are many Eid customs such as attending mass prayers, gathering for family reunions, exchanging gifts and dressing in new clothes, eating plays a crucial role as it brings an end to the month-long fast of Ramadan. Holiday dishes vary from country to country, but all are meant to make up big feasts that can easily fill up the entire family as well as guests. Families bring out traditional varieties of homemade sweets and many also make generous donations of food during the holiday, as Eid also celebrates extending good will to others.

The holiday can last up to three days depending on the country, and Instagrammers taking part in the festivities are sharing their moments filled with good food and good spirits.


current event, vesak, asia,

Buddhist Communities Celebrate the Holy Day of Vesak

For more photos and videos from Vesak, explore the Lumbini and Swayambhu location pages and browse the #Vesak, #Wesak and #BuddhasBirthday hashtags.

This week, Buddhist communities throughout the world celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha, widely known as Vesak (or Wesak). While countries celebrate the holiday at different times during the spring season, it is most commonly observed during the first full moon in May. The day of Vesak is a public holiday for many Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Though Vesak traditions and rituals vary across the world, many visit Buddhist temples to make prayers. Other customs include decorating temples with colorful lotus-motif lanterns, parading electrical floats that depict stories from Buddha’s life, taking part in volunteer work and pouring scented water over statues of Buddha. In Nepal, thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from around the world come together for prayers and celebrations at Lumbini, Buddha’s birth place. The holy Buddhist temple of Swayambhu located east of Lumbini also opens to the public on the day of Vesak—the only time it’s accessible to outsiders each year.


friezenewyork, friezeny, art, current event,

Instagrammers Capture Frieze New York 2014

For more photos and videos from the fair, follow @friezeartfair on Instagram and browse the #friezeny hashtag.

From Friday to Monday, May 9-12, fans of fine art head to Randall’s Island Park in New York City for the third annual Frieze Art Fair New York (@friezeartfair). There, under white tents, in a location that feels somehow both close and far from Manhattan, artists, gallerists, collectors and art lovers will gather to view works exhibited by more than 190 of the world’s leading contemporary galleries. To see Frieze from the inside, follow these Instagrammers in attendance:


Kentucky Derby, kyderby, mint julep, current event, photo feature,

Instagrammers Capture the Kentucky Derby

For more photos and videos from the Derby, follow @kentuckyderby on Instagram and explore the location page for the home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs. You can also browse the #kentuckyderby hashtag.

The 140th annual Kentucky Derby takes place Saturday afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky. This thoroughbred horse race, which spans two kilometers (one and a quarter miles), is known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” as a result of its extremely short duration.

Landon Nordeman (@landonnordeman), a photographer returning to the Derby this year to capture it for the second time, shares his enthusiasm for the event: “I love to shoot the Derby because it is the only American sporting event where fans get truly dressed up,” he explains, referring to the elaborate attire—and hats—that fans wear. “Plus,” he adds, “it has its own cocktail: the mint julep.”


current event, Anzac Day, australia, new zealand,

Remembering War Veterans on Anzac Day

To see more photos and videos from Anzac Day, browse the #anzacday and #anzac hashtags.

On Friday, communities throughout Australia and New Zealand observe Anzac Day, a day to honor and commemorate those who lost their lives during military conflicts and peacekeeping expeditions.

The holiday takes its name from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) and falls every year on April 25th, the anniversary of the first major Anzac conflict during the First World War. Troops took on the Ottoman Empire in an attempt to clear the way to the Black Sea for Allied navies, resulting in heavy casualties that had a profoundly sobering impact on the two nations.

Many mark the day by attending dawn memorial services and spending time with family veterans. Australians will occasionally play a cheeky game called two-up that was popular among soldiers during World War I. Many will also bake Anzac biscuits around this time, a tradition carried on from Australian and New Zealand families who sent these biscuits to soldiers fighting the war.


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:


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.


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.


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.