The First Day of Spring & How It's Determined
The first day of spring is usually March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere and September 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere. This date is determined by the equinox, which is the day when the Sun is directly over the celestial equator and the hours of daylight and darkness are nearly equal. The equinox marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere.
The exact date and time of the vernal equinox vary slightly from year to year due to the irregularity of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, but it typically occurs around March 20th or 21st.
What Does Equinox mean?
During the Spring Equinox, the tilt of the Earth’s axis is neither inclined towards nor away from the sun, resulting in equal amounts of daylight and darkness. Equinox comes from the Latin words aequus, which means “equal,” and nox, which means “night.”
The equinox symbolizes the change of seasons and represents a balance between light and dark. Symbolically, the equinox can represent balance, harmony, and new beginnings. It can also serve as a reminder of the cycles of nature and the importance of staying in tune with the changing seasons.
What holidays are celebrated during the spring equinox?
How was the Spring Equinox marked by the ancients?
The Spring Equinox, also known as the Vernal Equinox, has been celebrated and observed by ancient civilizations for thousands of years. Here are some ways in which the Spring Equinox was marked by the ancients:
Ancient Greeks: The ancient Greeks celebrated the Spring Equinox as a time of fertility and renewal. They held festivals in honor of their gods and goddesses of fertility, such as Demeter and Persephone. They also believed that the return of spring marked the rebirth of the god Dionysus, who represented the cycle of death and rebirth.
Ancient Romans: The ancient Romans celebrated the Spring Equinox as a time of rebirth and new beginnings. They held festivals in honor of their goddess of love and fertility, Venus, and their god of war and agriculture, Mars. The festival of Hilaria was also celebrated on the Spring Equinox, which involved parades, games, and feasting.
Druids: The Druids, a Celtic people who lived in what is now the United Kingdom and Ireland, celebrated the Spring Equinox as a time of renewal and rebirth. They believed that on this day, the powers of darkness and light were in balance, and they held festivals to celebrate the return of the sun and the awakening of nature.
Mayans: The Mayans, a civilization that lived in Central America from about 2000 BC to 1500 AD, celebrated the Spring Equinox and the first day of spring as a time of renewal and rebirth. They held ceremonies to honor their gods of agriculture and fertility, and they built temples and pyramids to align with the sun on this day.
Persians: The ancient Persians celebrated the Spring Equinox as the beginning of their New Year, which they called Nowruz. They held festivals and feasts to celebrate the return of spring, and they exchanged gifts and visited friends and family.
Overall, the Spring Equinox and the first day of spring was seen as a time of renewal and rebirth by many ancient cultures, and was marked by festivals, feasts, and ceremonies to honor the gods and goddesses of fertility and agriculture.
How Is Easter Determined by the Vernal Equinox?
Easter is determined by the Spring Equinox through a complex set of rules that were established by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. According to these rules, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon that occurs after the vernal (spring) equinox.
If the first full moon following the vernal equinox falls on a Sunday, then Easter is celebrated on the following Sunday. If the first full moon falls on a Sunday, and that Sunday is also the vernal equinox, then Easter is celebrated on that same Sunday.
The determination of the date of Easter is based on a combination of solar and lunar calendars, which makes it somewhat complex. However, the basic principle is that Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
10 nature based ways to celebrate the first day of spring
Here are 10 ways to get outside and enjoy nature while celebrating the first day of spring.
Go for a nature walk: Take a leisurely walk in a nearby park, forest, or garden to observe the natural beauty of spring. Look for emerging buds, blossoms, and new growth.
Start a garden: Plant seeds or seedlings in your garden, backyard or in a pot on your balcony. It’s a great way to celebrate the beginning of the growing season and connect with nature.
Have a picnic: Celebrate the first day of spring by having a picnic with friends or family in a scenic location, such as a park or a beach. Bring spring-themed foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and salads.
Create nature art: Use natural materials like flowers, leaves, and twigs to create a piece of art that celebrates the arrival of spring.
Visit a botanical garden: Spend the day exploring a local botanical garden to see the variety of flowers and plants in bloom during the spring season.
Do some bird watching: Spring is a great time to go bird watching as many species migrate back to their breeding grounds. Bring a pair of binoculars and a guidebook to identify the different species.
Take a bike ride: Celebrate the arrival of spring by taking a bike ride through scenic countryside or parks.
Have a campfire: If the weather permits, gather some friends and have a campfire in the backyard or at a nearby campsite. Cook spring-themed foods like hot dogs, s’mores, and roasted vegetables.
Take a hike: Go for a hike in the mountains or in a nearby nature preserve to celebrate the beginning of spring. Enjoy the fresh air and the natural scenery.
Meditate in nature: Sit in a peaceful spot in nature and meditate to connect with the energy of the earth and the changing season.
Celebrating the first day of spring and the vernal equinox can be a wonderful way to welcome the new season and all of its beauty. This ancient tradition has been celebrated in many ways throughout history, and by understanding the meaning and symbolism behind it, we can create our own unique and special way of honoring the event.
Whether you choose to take a nature walk and observe the changing of the season, go for a hike, or simply spend some time in stillness and meditation, there are many ways to honor the vernal equinox and the start of spring. No matter how you choose to celebrate, the hope is that you find joy and peace in the changing of the season and the reminder of the cycle of life.
Ostara CELEBRATION GUIDE
This lovely and functional Ostara celebration guide bundle is perfect for planning your days throughout the Spring season. Includes 49 pages to connect you with the energy of the season of Ostara. Reflections. Rituals. Magical Correspondences and more!