4 Spring Equinox Traditions From Around The World
Spring is finally here! Sunday, March 20, is the spring equinox (also known as the March or vernal equinox), and the whole world is getting ready to celebrate the end of winter and welcome warmer climates ahead with different spring equinox traditions and rituals.
For those who don't know, equinoxes, which kicked off today at 12:30 a.m. ET, only come around twice a year, when the sun is located directly above the equator. Today only, the entire world will experience the same amount of daylight and darkness, about 12 hours each. Of course, what kind of weather you're ringing in varies, depending on where you are located. While the Northern Hemisphere is going through its spring equinox and looking forward to warmer weather, the Southern Hemisphere will be ringing in its autumnal equinox and preparing for cooler, fall breezes.
For years, people around the world have celebrated the vernal equinox with various rituals meant to honor the day's religious and culture significance. Whether with a colorful festival, an added plant to the garden, or a visit to an archaeological site, all these countries ring in the occasion in their own special way. Here's a look at how cultures around the world pay tribute to the spring equinox:
The spring equinox is often considered a symbol of rebirth and renewal, as it welcomes a season when plants begin to grow and flowers start to once again bloom. In ancient Italy, it was tradition for women to mark the occasion by planting seeds in the gardens of Adonis on this day.
The custom still persists in certain parts of the country, particularly Sicily. Each year at this time, women plant seeds of lentils, fennel, lettuce, or flowers in baskets as an homage to the day.
The equinox also brings together England's New Age tribes. Every year, around 100 people or so — often dressed in traditional pagan garb — gather at Stonehenge. They arrive before dawn to walk the ancient grounds and watch the sun rise.
Holi is an ancient Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil, with the onset of spring and the end of winter. It takes place every year, just as the vernal equinox approaches. Known as the "festival of colors," Holi is celebrated with participants tossing vibrant colored powders over each other and dancing in the streets. The festivities often start off the night before with a bonfire. The celebration of Holi has become popular across the world, though it is mainly observed in India and Nepal.
In Japan, the spring equinox is known as Shunbun no hi, and is celebrated by bringing together family and visiting ancestral graves. Though it's a seven-day celebration, celebrants usually spend the actual day of getting together with relatives and leaving flowers on any familial graves.