Spring, Vernal Equinox March 20 – traditions around the world

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on March 19, 2010 0 Comments


This year, Spring springs March 20.

In the Southern Hemishpere, Spring is our Autumn.


In both Northern and Southern Hemishpere, spring is also a time of tropical cyclones, which might account for flooding rain storms in the North East.






The vernal equinox occurs March 20 (Northern H) and September 22 (Southern H).  You might have seen or heard the robins, seen the pussy willows, the daffodils and perhaps the beginning of green graass and yellow forsythia.

If not, soon you will.





Interestingly enough, even though we in North America celebrate the first day of Spring with the vernal equinox, the First Day of Spring in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand is celebrated on 1 September, even though the actual vernal equinox falls on 22 September.









Early Celtic calendars had Spring begin in early February (actually what we know as Candlemas, Imbolc, or mid-winter and which we celebrate as Ground Hog Day), and continuing until early May. 









Since Spring refers to the beginning of the growing season, it occurs in different months throughout the globe.


Meterologists have observed subtle changes of weather in recent decades, with temperatures becoming warmer a day or two earlier than actual Spring.


This is known as ‘season creep.’ Arctic spring occurs much later, and some temperate regions have a ‘dry’ spring but a ‘wet’ fall, whereas others have a ‘wet’ spring and a ‘drier’ fall.








Unstable weather is very common in the spring. In subtropical and tropical regions, climates are described as ‘dry’ or ‘monsoon.’









Many festivals occur to celebrate Spring or Vernal Equinox, and has been such since the beginning of recorded history.



In Ancient Mesopotamia,  a spring festival that involved  the ‘sowing’ of barley in the Fall and the ‘cutting’ of barley in the spring.









In Afghanistan, Iran, Azerbajian, Turkmenistan, and in Kurdish communities in Turkey, the first day of Spring is the ‘New Year.’



In Australia, the Spring Racing Carnival  of thoroughbred horse racing is celebrated in October and November for the Southern Hemisphere’s Spring.


In Melbourne, ‘the race that stops a nation’ is the Melbourne Cup horse race. 






May Day has two meanings, with some countries celebrating it as an international worker’s day, Labor Day, but we in North America celebrate Labor Day the first Monday in September.   


  In the ancient Celtic tradition, May Day marked the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer, whereas, in reality it is Mid-Spring. Each three-month season has a ‘mid’-season celebration.  


Mid-winter (Candlemas, is our Groundhog Day, Feb 2).


 Mid-spring is May Day; mid-summer is ‘mid summer’, as in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; mid-fall is Halloween and All Saint’s Day, then All-Soul’s day.


Interesting to note that the both seasons and mid-seasons  have ancient roots, because in temperate zones the seasons change markedly from the first half to the second half.  


 Chinese New Year , with the Chinese Spring Festival or Lunar New Year,  between mid-January and mid-February in the Gregorian calendar.

It ends on the 15th of the New Year, with   the lantern festival.


Those In North America who live in big cities might have been in Chinatown during this time, to see this marvelous celebration.








In India, the end of winter is Holi Holi, around February/March, in a brightly colored Hindu festival in North India. Vasant Panchmi is a spring festival (January/February) based on the Indian calendar in North India and Sankranthi is a spring festival celebrated in Southern India.


 Source: Wikipedia


Photos of The Duck Pond, June, 2007. Not much Spring verdancy to photograph yet. But when I find it, I will capture it and post it. Don’t hold your breath. It will be past Mid Spring.

About the Author ()

An article of mine, 'On Marriage, Life, Death and Remarriage' was published in "Blended Families (Social Issues Firsthand) by Greenhouse Press." An article of mine was referenced in this book: "Margaret Atwood: a reference guide" by Judith McComb

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