In a few days, on March 20th we will be honoring the Spring Equinox 2015 and a New Moon. Many of us will be filled with excitement as the green starts to show, the birds return and the temperature warms – there is so much going on all around us and beyond – in the galaxy.
The word equinox is derived from the Latin meaning equal and night. As the sun shines directly on the equator, we get 12 equal hours of sunlight all over the world. Daytime and nighttime are approximately equal and signal the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
The movement of the earth’s axis, as it tilts ever so slowly, impacts the amount of the sun’s rays that reach us. In the Spring, we are tilted towards the sun and thus nature begins to flourish. It is a time of cosmic regeneration.
As we stop to take a look at the impact of this astrological phenomenon, we can begin to understand why there have been celebrations of the Vernal Equinox around the world for centuries.
Spring Equinox Customs Around the World
Cultural traditions welcoming Spring’s arrival vary widely from one country to the next. Here are some excerpted from About.com and Wikipedia:
India: Holi, the Festival of Colors, is a popular Hindu spring festival observed in India. It is celebrated with great fanfare with bonfires and by people throwing colored powder and water at each other. Holi celebrates the most popular stories from Hindu texts.
Egypt: The Festival of Isis was held in ancient Egypt as a celebration of spring and rebirth.
Mexico: Festivals (Festivales de primavera) take place and children dressed up as flowers or animals can be seen on parade. The most popular places to celebrate are archeological sites like the Mayan archeological site of Chichen Itza.
Iran: The Festival of Noruz (new day) is a time of hope and rebirth and has been celebrated for over 3000 years. This secular holiday begins on the day of the equinox and lasts for 12 days. Typically spring cleaning gets done, families get new attire and visit with each other for a ceremonial meal to celebrate the new year.
Ireland: The Holiday of St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland by driving out pagan snake worshipping and his day is celebrated just before the Spring Equinox.
Russia: The celebration of Maslenitsa is observed as a time of the return of warmth and light with customs intended to fertilize the year’s crops. It is a week full of merrymaking and lots of symbolic baked pancakes as well as the preparation before Lent.
Italy and Greece: The Feast of Cybele celebrates the ancient goddess Cybele – considered the ruler of fertility. This ensures agricultural fertility for the year to come.
Judaism: The Festival or Pilgrimage of Passover, is observed for eight days and commemorates the end of Egyptian slavery. A thorough spring cleaning of one’s home is done to prepare for the Seder, a symbolic meal which represents the story of the exodus from Egypt.
Easter: A Christian holiday celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection, falls the first Sunday after the full moon following the Vernal Equinox. Its ancient pagan influences, including the bunny, a symbol of fertility, and colored eggs, represent the sunlight of spring. In Western Christianity Easter marks the end of Lent, a 40 day period of fasting, repentance and spiritual discipline in preparation for Easter.
Japan: Spring Higan or Vernal Equinox Day is an official holiday traditionally spent visiting with family and remembering ancestors by visiting graves celebrating the spiritual move of the deceased from the world of suffering to the world of enlightenment.
Spring Equinox and Feminine Energy
The Spring Equinox is associated with many fertility goddesses and women have been gathering forever in honor of this sacred time. It is a time to release the past and rejoice in the rebirth of nature, the beginning of the seasonal cycle and of the occurrence of a new moon.
Community and healing centers also hold events for women to gather, clear the space and create a new sacred intention for the year ahead. The art of conjuring feminine power is to reconnect with the Earth, to heal, feel nurtured, and connected. In doing so, we create an energetic support system for women everywhere. It is a great time for transitions and new beginnings.
A New Moon and a Solar Eclipse
The coming new moon on March 20th is believed to be extremely significant because simultaneously, a solar eclipse will occur. This extraordinary event will only be seen fully in Norway and in the Faroe Islands. A new moon marks the beginning of a new cycle in which we can generate energy and make declarations to bring forth our potential. The solar eclipse will intensify the cosmic energy occurring at this time.
What seeds of intention do you wish to plant and manifest in your life?