Spring Equinox Celebrations

By Bastian Groiss

The spring equinox emerges as a gentle yet potent force, heralding the arrival of a new season. At the heart of the equinox lies a delicate balance, a fleeting moment when light and darkness, day and night, are poised in perfect equilibrium. 

The Spring or Vernal Equinox, also known as Ostara, Easter, and St. Patrick’s Day, usually falls on March 20th/21st in the Northern Hemisphere and September 22nd/23rd in the Southern Hemisphere. You can find the exact time of the spring equinox for your location here.

The March equinox brings earlier sunrises, later sunsets, and sprouting plants in the Northern Hemisphere. You’ll find the opposite season with the autumn equinox south of the equator – later sunrises, earlier sunsets, chillier winds, dry and falling leaves.

Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.

– Gustav Mahler

 

Spring Equinox Celebrations Around the World

In the mythology of countless cultures, the spring equinox is a time of rebirth and renewal, a moment when the world is born anew. 

The Celts celebrated Ostara with rituals and festivals that honored the goddess Eostre, from whom the holiday takes its name, and the god of light, Lugh. It was a time of cleansing and renewal, when bonfires were lit to purify and protect, and offerings were made to ensure a fertile and prosperous year ahead. Similarly, the ancient Romans celebrated the festival of Hilaria, honoring the goddess Cybele and the resurrection of Attis, symbolizing the triumph of life over death.

Known for their advanced understanding of astronomy, the Mayans built temples and monuments that aligned with the movements of the sun, allowing them to track the equinoxes with remarkable accuracy. One of the most famous examples is the Kukulkan pyramid at Chichen Itza, which was designed to produce a “serpent” shadow on the Spring Equinox. 

The Ancient Saxons held a feast day for their version of the fertility goddess, Eostre, on the full moon following the Vernal EquinoxEostre is associated with the symbols of decorated eggs and hares.

In ancient Greece, it marked the return of Persephone from the underworld and the rejuvenation of the earth. Persephone, the daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter, had been taken by Hades, the god of the underworld, causing her mother to mourn and the earth to wither. However, Persephone’s return signaled the end of winter and the beginning of spring, as Demeter joyously welcomed back her daughter and allowed the earth to flourish once more.

spring celebrations persephone 

In ancient Egypt, it marked the beginning of the agricultural year, when the Nile River would overflow its banks, fertilizing the land and ensuring a bountiful harvest. It was also associated with the god Amun-Ra, the sun god, whose power and warmth were believed to increase as the days lengthened.

In every corner of the world, the spring equinox has been greeted with rituals and celebrations, a testament to humanity’s deep-seated connection to the cycles of nature. From the dancing of the Maypole in Europe to the painting of eggs in Persia, these traditions serve as a bridge between the past and the present, a reminder of our place within the greater web of life.

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love.

– Sitting Bull

 

Ways to Honor the Spring Equinox

Today, as we stand on the cusp of spring, let us honor the ancient roots of the equinox, embracing its message of renewal and rebirth. Let us pause to witness the beauty of the world awakening around us, to feel the gentle stirring of life within our own hearts. And let us carry forward the wisdom of our ancestors, keeping alive the traditions that connect us to the land, to each other, and to the eternal rhythms of the cosmos.

  1. Sunrise Meditation: Wake up early to witness the sunrise on the day of the equinox. Find a quiet spot outdoors, facing east, and meditate as the sun ascends, focusing on gratitude for the increasing light and warmth.
  2. Planting Seeds: Take time to plant seeds in your garden or in pots indoors, symbolizing new beginnings and growth. As you sow the seeds, set intentions for the coming season and visualize them coming to fruition.
  3. Spring Cleaning: Declutter and cleanse your living space to welcome the fresh energy of spring. This ritual not only clears physical space but also promotes mental clarity and renewal.
  4. Nature Walk: Take a leisurely walk in nature to connect with the changing landscape and observe the signs of spring emerging all around you. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, and smells of the season, and reflect on the beauty of renewal.
  5. Altar Creation: Create a spring equinox altar adorned with symbols of renewal, such as fresh flowers, colorful eggs, and sprigs of greenery. Spend time in quiet reflection at your altar, expressing gratitude for the blessings of the season.spring equinox celebrations altar
  6. Feast with Seasonal Foods: Host a spring equinox feast with friends and family, featuring dishes made from seasonal & local ingredients. Share stories and laughter as you celebrate the abundance of the earth.
  7. Bonfire Ceremony: Gather around a bonfire with loved ones to mark the arrival of spring. As the flames dance, offer prayers or intentions for growth, transformation, and healing, and release any stagnant energy from the winter months.
  8. Dance and Music: Dance and make music outdoors to celebrate the vitality and joy of the season. Allow yourself to be carried away by the rhythms of nature, letting go of inhibitions and embracing the spirit of renewal.

These ways offer opportunities to deepen your connection to the natural world and embrace the transformative power of the spring equinox.

 

Seasonal changes to your rhythm

Hopefully, you find meaningful ways to celebrate the arrival of spring. Besides engaging in festivities/rituals to honor this particular time, ideally you adjust your lifestyle and rhythm as well to align with your changing environment. 

  1. Gradually shift your wake time with the sun, as it rises a little bit earlier every day. Simply set a relative wake in Circadian to stay aligned.
  2. Take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather by spending more time outside. Go for a walk, hike, or bike ride to soak in the sunshine and fresh air.
  3. Engage in more physical activity. Consider trying new forms of exercise, such as outdoor yoga and bodyweight exercises.
  4. Gradually increase your daily solar exposure to build up skin thickness and pigmentation. The learn section on Smart sun exposure in the Circadian app provides more details.
  5. Use the energy of renewal to set intentions for the season ahead. Reflect on what you hope to cultivate in your life, whether it’s a new hobby, a healthier routine, or deeper connections with others.

Just as spring brings unpredictable weather, be open to the ebb and flow of life, but have a solid daily rhythm that supports you, that gives you a framework to fall back on when the weather gets rough or the going gets tough. Let the natural dynamism gradually shift your days from rest and introspection to more activity and celebration.

 

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

– Margaret Atwood

Fall Equinox Celebrations

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Winter Solstice, Yule, Midwinter

The winter solstice, also known as the longest night of the year, is a significant event celebrated by many cultures around the world. It marks the time when the Earth’s tilt on its axis is farthest from the sun, resulting in the shortest day and longest night of the year. The solstice typically falls on […]
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Summer Solstice, Litha, Midsummer

The Summer Solstice, also known as Litha, Midsummer, or St. John’s Day, takes place around June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere. You can find the exact date and time here. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice is celebrated on December 21st or 22nd. This festivity commemorates the longest day of the year and the […]
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