“A new spring, a new start!” You’ve certainly heard this before. And nothing could be truer, because spring is the season to start off with a clean slate. New leaves and new flowers—all of nature is in full bloom. According to many people, the spring equinox is a definitely a day to celebrate.
Spring equinox rituals
The word equinox originates from Latin, with “nox” meaning night and “equi” meaning equal. To sum up, the equinox is the day where the day is just as long as the night—a clear sign that the winter is behind us. All over the world, people practice different rituals to celebrate this: we’ve selected some of the more interesting ones to share with you.
Probably the most well-known ritual surrounding this day is Holi, an Indian celebration that gathers big groups of people together so that they can sprinkle coloured powder and water on each other. This Hindu party celebrates the start of spring as well as the new year, using bright colours to symbolise nature in full bloom.
In certain countries in the Middle East like Iran, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, they celebrate the Persian holiday of Noroez. Just like the Holi celebration, this is a party to ring in the spring as well as the new year: “Noroez” is actually the Persian word for “new year.” They celebrate by growing large amounts of wheatgrass, having dinner with family, and welcoming Amu Nowruz, a soft of Iranian Santa Claus who passes out presents to the youngest partygoers. In Afghanistan, they add something truly unique to the festivities—they stage and attend camel fights.
In Mexico, they do things quite differently. Thousands of Mexicans flock to the pyramids in the ancient ruins of Teotihuacán to celebrate the first day of spring. According to believers, there is a special energy surrounding the pyramids. They dance and sing around them, and even climb the pyramids to feel this energy.
On the Indonesian island of Bali, they do exactly the opposite. During Nyepi the Hindu islanders observe the start of spring in complete silence: the TV and radio stays off, and in some families, not a single word is spoken the entire day.
While most people celebrate the beginning of spring, in Japan, they let nature do it for them. Thanks to the sakura, or cherry blossoms, the entire land turns pink with these beautiful flowers. Because they’re only in bloom for a few weeks a year, the Japanese can’t fully predict when to plan Hanami—the nation-wide party where they get together under the trees with special food and drink. But this doesn’t stop meteorologists from trying; they work overtime for the most accurate prediction.
We’ve just begun to scratch the surface when it comes to spring celebrations around the globe. You may not throw coloured powder around or participate in camel fights, but: how do you celebrate the new beginning of spring?