How Do You Celebrate the First Day of Spring?
Spring officially kicks off Thursday, March 20th at 10:57 A.M. MDT
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 — Hooray for spring! More daylight, budding and growing plants, animals searching for and showing off for perspective mates (some humans may also behave in a similiar fashion!). I have been listening to the birds outside my window have been chirping loudly and chasing each other around for the past couple weeks now. We officially hit the vernal equinox, tomorrow, Thursday, March 20th at 10:57 A.M.. MDT. This marks the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumnal in the Southern Hemisphere.
The word “vernal” means spring and the word “equinox” means equal night. The Sun is positioned above the equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinoxes. A second equinox occurs each year on Sept. 22 or 23. This year, 2014, it will be on Sept. 22 at 8:29 P.M.. MDT. This date will mark the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.
Here is a couple interesting facts about the vernal equinox or the first day of spring. If you are on the equator during either the vernal or autumnal equinox, you would see the sun pass directly overhead. These are the only two a year this phenomenon occurs.
The two equinoxes are also the only two times a year when the sun rises due east and sets due west.
According to www.timeanddate.com ; ” In the northern hemisphere the March equinox marks the start of spring and has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth. It is an ancient Chinese custom to balance eggs – a symbol of fertility – on the day of the March equinox to bring good luck and prosperity.
According to Jewish tradition, God made the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day of creation – and once every 28 years the sun returns to the same astronomical position that it held that day. The Talmud says that the turning point of this cycle occurs at the March equinox.
Higan, or Higan-e, is a week of Buddhist services in Japan during the March and September equinoxes. Both equinoxes have been national holidays since the Meiji period (1868-1912).
"Higan" means the “other shore” and refers to dead spirits who reach Nirvana after crossing the river of existence. It celebrates the spiritual move from the world of suffering to the world of enlightenment.”
The Pagens or Wiccans celebrated the Sabbat of Ostara. The believed origin of the word is actually from Eostre, a Germanic goddess of spring. One popular legend is that Eostre found a bird, wounded, on the ground late in winter. To save its life, she transformed it into a hare. But "the transformation was not a complete one. The bird took the appearance of a hare but retained the ability to lay eggs...the hare would decorate these eggs and leave them as gifts to Eostre."
For early Pagans in the Germanic countries, this was a time to celebrate planting and the new crop season.
The Christians of course celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Christ around this time of year and people of the Jewish faith celebrate Passover.
I discovered a Persian celebration at www.about.com ; “A dynasty of Persian kings known as the Achaemenians celebrated the spring equinox with the festival of No Ruz -- which means "new day." It is a celebration of hope and renewal still observed today in many Persian countries, and has its roots in Zoroastrianism. In Iran, a festival called Chahar-Shanbeh Suri takes place right before No Ruz begins, and people purify their homes and leap over fires to welcome the 13-day celebration of No Ruz.”
However you celebrate or mark the beginning of spring, it does symbolize a rebirth. This is the season of nature’s renewal. Many commit to do our annual “spring cleaning” and get rid of things we no longer use or need. We plant new plants and the trees and flowers start to bloom. Everything just seems fresh! Here’s wishing you an excellent “vernal equinox and a spring full of beauty and new beginnings!