Monday 20th March marks the Spring Equinox, and we can finally begin to say goodbye to cold, dark mornings and hello to long, bright evenings. Here we look at what the Spring Equinox is, and how to celebrate the beginning of the new season.
What is the Spring Equinox?
Though 1st March is technically the first day of Spring according to the meteorological calendar, this Monday is Ostara, the Spring or Vernal Equinox, and the start of the astronomical spring. The actual Equinox takes place at 10.28am, and is the moment when (in the northern hemisphere) the Sun crosses the Equator moving northward and is an equal distance from the North and South Pole. The word equinox is Latin for “equal night”, and so on this date, day and night will be the same length (roughly 12 hours of each). From this point on, we will enjoy gradually earlier sunrises and later sunsets, as the days get longer and the nights shorter.
The Spring Equinox is celebrated across the world in a variety of ways; the day is special to people of all nationalities, cultures, religions and spiritual beliefs. Here we look at a few different ways you can celebrate this special day and the beginning of the new season.
Celebrate the New Year (again)
March marks the beginning of a new year in many different cultures. The Roman year began on the ides of March (15th), and the new astrological year begins with the first sign of the Zodiac, Aries, on March 21. March 25th was also the day that the year changed in England and Ireland between the 12th Century and 1752.
So for many people, the beginning of Spring signifies a new year, and a new start. Why not join in the tradition? If your new year resolutions aren’t going as you’d hoped, or you’re simply looking for a fresh start, then the new season is a clean slate.
Have a Spring Clean
It’s a tradition at the start of Spring to give your house a thorough clean. This is the perfect time to go through your belongings and sell or donate those things you no longer need, and better organise those you do. As they say, ‘tidy house, tidy mind’; it’s proven that mess and clutter contribute to stress and anxiety, and that cleaning and organising is good for combatting these feelings.
Why not go one step further, and redecorate or repurpose a room? If you have a spare room in your house that is usually used to ‘store’ (dump) clutter in, give it a fresh lick of paint in bright, pastel colours. Why not use this room as a home office or meditation/exercise room, or use the money from selling your unused things to buy a bed or futon, and turn it into a guest bedroom.
Spring is the time of rebirth and growth, and it is tradition for women to plant seeds on the day of the Equinox as an offering to Adonis. The tradition continues to this day in Sicily, where women plant the seeds of grains, herbs and flowers in baskets and pots. Once they have sprouted, the flowers are tied with red ribbons and placed on the gravestones of loved ones on Good Friday, to signify the triumph of life over death.
Try out your green thumb this March by buying some seeds and planting them. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can buy herb pots and indoor plants that are able to grow inside. Or if you can’t wait for flowers to grow, you can buy a bouquet for a loved one, or even treat yourself to a bunch, and brighten up your living space.
Get out into nature
Celebrate the days getting longer by venturing outside into nature. Go for a long walk, or a bike ride, or take a roadtrip to the beach. Take a picnic and enjoy eating outside, taking in the views and breathing in the fresh air. Disconnect from technology and the internet for a few hours, and simply embrace being surrounded by natural beauty.
Start a new project or take up a new hobby
There’s no better time than the beginning of the new season to start a new project, or take up a new hobby, and work towards something positive, whether that’s in your career or your personal life, or both!
Ask your boss to sit down with you for a one-to-one discussion about your work, and ask what you can do to take the next step in your job. Is there a task that nobody else has time for, but you know you could tackle and complete successfully? Ask if you can take ownership of it, and show what you’re made of.
If there’s a hobby you’ve been meaning to take up, or a new skill you want to learn, why not look for a class? There’s no time like the present to start something new, and you never know what good things doing something new will bring to your life.