The Vernal Equinox, also known as the Spring Equinox is the astronomical first day of spring. It is a time of renewal, often synonymous with new beginnings and even new adventures. But what does Vernal Equinox actually mean?
Well, Vernal means Spring, and the word Equinox comes from the Latin word aequinoctium, with aequi meaning “equal”, and nocti meaning “night”.
Vernal Equinox refers to the day when day light hours equal night time hours. Equal light and dark. Equal day and night.
In the Northern hemisphere this is also the same day as the First Day of Spring.
First Day of Spring
The first day of Spring generally falls on the 20th or 21st of March. Although, in 2020 it fell on March 19th – the earliest vernal equinox in 124 years!
2020 once again being very extra *eye roll*
The Spring Equinox: Spring Festivals Around The World
In Wiccan, Pagan and other traditions that observe the wheel of the year, the festival of Ostara is celebrated on the Vernal Equinox.
Ostara is a celebration of Spring. The folk tale goes that Ostara, the ancient Germanic goddess of the spring, transformed a bird into a hare, and the hare responded by laying colored eggs for her festival.
The Christian tradition of Easter steals heavily from Ostara rituals and celebrations, however Easter does not always line up with the Vernal equinox. In an effort to distance itself from the Pagan traditions and rituals of Ostara, the church decided Easter would occur on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox.
The Holi Festival in India begins with the lighting of massive bonfires the night before the Vernal Equinox. On the first day of Spring brightly colored powder is thrown on one another, so much fun! It is a wonderfully joyous occasion celebrated in many cities all around the world!
The Vernal Equinox falls on Persian New Year. Persian Nowruz is centred around the celebration of a fresh start and new beginnings, with wishes for prosperity and leaving behind the remnants of the past.
Nowruz rituals begin three weeks before the Equinox and include feasting, celebrating with family and exchanging gifts.
The Jewish festival of Passover celebrates the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. The dates of this festival change on the Gregorian calendar every year, the holiday always occurs between the 15th and 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Nissan.
On the first night of Passover, families gather for a special dinner called a Seder. The table is set with the finest china and silverware to reflect the importance of the meal. During this meal, the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold using a special text called the Haggadah.
Simple Vernal Equinox Rituals to Celebrate Spring
Plant New Life
A great way to celebrate Spring and the Spring Equinox is to plant seeds. Planting seeds is a simple and useful ritual for celebrating new beginnings.
It is a fun and simple activity that kids can easily participate in and is great way to give yourself the gift of vegetable sprouts and early spring greens!
In many part of North America, Vernal Equinox is too soon to start planting seeds outside. That doesn’t mean you can’t participate in this ritual on the first day of spring.
Egg decorating is not exclusive to Christian Easter celebrations. From ancient history, eggs have been an important symbol in many cultures. Because of their association with Spring, eggs are powerful symbols of life, renewal, rebirth and new beginnings.
Eggs figure in much of human folklore and egg decorating is a great activity anytime in the Spring season.
There are endless craft kits and supplies available for decorating eggs, some with some pretty fun themes!
No Mess Option
Fake Egg Options – For Long Lasting Decorations
Bring Spring into your Home
Observe the beginning of Spring and celebrate the Vernal Equinox by bringing some of the natural world inside.
Begin Something New
Spring Equinox rituals generally center around new beginnings and fresh starts.
Observe the Spring by beginning a new project or setting goals for the year ahead.
Go for a Hike
Vernal Equinox traditions focused on nature are a great way to celebrate the Spring season.
As the sun rises earlier in the mornings and we start to leave the dark months behind us, more daylight is available for enjoying nature and paying attention to the changes that occur as the Earth wakes up from its winter slumber.
Pick a day when the sun is strong, and make a game of your Spring hike with the whole family by seeing who can find the earliest budding trees and early floral life such Snow drops and Crocus.
I am not sure how to feel about the fact that nearly every seasonal festival seems to be associated with cleaning, but sometimes a celebratory ritual can be a fun way to motivate yourself tackle that house cleaning that you’ve been putting off!
The Spring Equinox brings the energy of balance and new beginnings.
Pick a couple days during the Spring season to wake at dawn (get some coffee) and take a moment to identify one small area of your house that feels messy or less than peaceful.
Purge the things you no longer need, return things to their rightful place, wipe away and any dust – and call it done!
No need to take on a massive spring cleaning effort. Small improvements can inspire the hope and fresh start energy of the season.
Have a Bonfire
A Spring Equinox bonfire ritual is a joyous celebration of the new life and growth of spring, and an opportunity to connect with nature and with one another in a spirit of gratitude and renewal.
This ritual obviously takes place outdoors, in a clear space where a bonfire can be safely lit. Participants gather around the fire, often dressed in brightly colored clothing to represent the new life and growth of spring.
Before the bonfire is lit, you may want to set the intention for the ritual – such as expressing gratitude for all you have and inviting further abundance into your life. Some participants may bring offerings of flowers, seeds, or other symbols of spring to place around the fire.
Once the fire is lit, participants can dance or move around it in a circle, symbolizing the cyclical nature of the seasons, or you can just sit or stand in a circle and share good company. Some Spring Equinox bonfire rituals include jumping over the fire, representing a release of old patterns and welcoming in new beginnings. Please only do this if your bonfire is small and you have a fair amount of confidence in your leaping abilities!
As the fire burns down, participants can take turns sharing their hopes and intentions for the coming season, and offering gratitude for the blessings in their lives. The ritual may conclude with a communal feast or sharing of food, symbolizing the abundance of the earth and the coming of spring.
A Spring Equinox shower ritual is a wonderful way to welcome in the season of new beginnings, growth and renewal.
Here are the steps to create a Spring Equinox shower ritual:
Prepare your space: Start by cleaning your bathroom and setting up your ritual space. Choose a candle that is scented with a spring-inspired fragrance, such as lavender, jasmine, or peppermint. Place it in a safe spot in your bathroom, away from any water or flammable objects. Choose some relaxing music or soundscapes that evoke the feeling of spring, such as birdsong or a gentle rainstorm. You can also place some rosemary branches in your shower, tied with string or ribbon, to release their scent and create a refreshing atmosphere.
Begin your shower: Take a few deep breaths and set your intention for the ritual. As you step into the shower, feel the warm water wash over your skin and take a few moments to connect with your body and your senses.
Focus on letting go: As you wash yourself, visualize any challenges or darkness from the winter being washed away and flowing down the drain. Let go of any negativity or worries, and focus on the feeling of cleansing and renewal.
Connect with the scents and sounds: Breathe in the refreshing scent of the rosemary branches in your shower and allow yourself to be transported to a spring garden. Light your spring-inspired candle and let its fragrance fill the space. Allow the music or soundscape to help you relax and feel connected to the natural world.
End with gratitude: When you are finished with your shower, take a few moments to express gratitude for the blessings in your life and for the opportunity to start anew in the spring season.
This simple and relaxing ritual is a wonderful way to connect with the energy of the season and to refresh your mind, body, and spirit.
The Spring equinox is a time of new beginnings, growth, and renewal. It is a time to shed the darkness and challenges of the winter months and to embrace the fresh energy and potential of the spring season.
However you choose to mark this transition, the important thing is to take the time to connect with nature, with yourself, and with others.
By celebrating the Spring Equinox, we honor the cycles of life and the power of transformation. So let us welcome in the spring season with joy, gratitude, and a spirit of hope for what is to come.
Do you have any fun Spring Equinox traditions? If so, let us know in the comments below!