Celebrating Spring – The Vernal Equinox
The 1st day of spring! We smile. We cheer. And we breathe a big sigh of relief that winter is officially over. No matter how mild our winter was, we’re glad to put it behind us.
Celebrating the return of increased daylight, growth & birth goes back in time as far as legends and lore tell us. The symbols of our current religious and commercial festivities have their roots in those ancient traditions.
The 1st day of spring is actually the date of the vernal equinox, when the earth is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun – the sun is in the same plane as the earth’s equator. This means that the day is equally as long as the night.
From now until the summer solstice, days will get longer. Longer daylight means growth, warmth, energy and renewal. Look around outside and that’s clear – flowers are blooming, birds are nesting, and animals are mating. For cultures more attuned to, and dependent upon, the seasonal changes of nature, this inspired festivals and rituals.
Rabbits, or hares, symbolized fertility and birth, as did eggs. Those have evolved into our Easter bunny and baskets. The dates of some of our religious holidays are grounded upon the date of the vernal equinox: Easter falls on the Sunday after the first full moon following the March equinox and Passover usually falls on the first full moon after the equinox. Many other religious and cultural commemorations are marked by the date of the vernal equinox and the return of spring.
How are you celebrating the return of spring?