The arrival of Spring is one of the most celebrated occasions around the world, regardless of time and culture. From the sugarcane fields in India to the snow-dusted fields of Vermont, the March vernal equinox is welcomed with open arms as a sign of the new year, a new season, a new beginning. Longer days and more sunlight give way to new dreams and new life, for humans, animals and crops alike. For many groups of people, the spring equinox marks the resurrection of their deity — Jesus for Christians, Osiris for the Egyptians, and Dionysus for the Greeks, just to name a few. In this pivotal moment, darkness and light confront each other. Some of the celebrations include Passover, Easter, Holi, Imbulc, Vaisakhi, Shunbun No Hi, Holla Moholla, Nowruz, and Semana Santa.
In 2017, the Spring Equinox will occur on March 20th; our earth will tilt its Northern Hemisphere towards the sun giving us a day in which the light shines down on the entire planet uniformly, creating nearly equal hours of day and night around the world. As the snow begins to melt and baby ducklings begin to pop up near lakes, here are six fun ways to celebrate the arrival of spring yourself. Take a page from cultures around the world or use this new, New Year to start fresh with new goals.
1. Turn Spring Cleaning into a Wardrobe Makeover (for you & others!)
The Zoroastrian holiday of Nowruz celebrated mostly by Parsis, Indians, and Iranians honors this celestial happening as the new year. People celebrate by buying new clothes for family members and friends, spring cleaning of the home and one’s space, feasting and spending time with loved ones over 12 days of festivities, and growing wheat in a dish as a symbol and request for prosperity in the coming year. Take this week to clean out your closet, reorganize, and rotate some of your spring favorites into the mix as the weather promises to get warmer. If you choose to get rid of some old or warm styles, consider donating them to The Malala Fund, who teamed up with Schoola to use profits from lightly used clothes to fund girls’ education in high-conflict countries.
2. Throw Some Color; Celebrate Holi
South Asians (and anyone who knows a brown person) celebrate Holi each Spring by going outside no matter the weather, and throwing colored powder on each other’s white clothes, while dancing to music, drinking bhang, playing pranks on each other, and celebrating the life cycle that beings with the weather. Gather the girls for a water balloon fight or recruit a team and sign up for a color-run! They’re great for meeting people, raising money for a good cause, and playing in the techni-color powder made for Instagrammers everywhere.
3. FEAST, FEAST, FEAST
Not that we ever need a reason to feast, or to encourage a feast, but if there was ever a reason to give thanks for the variety and abundance of food and pray for continuance, it’s the spring equinox that heralds weather and climate crucial to crops. Crop bounty affects not only farmers, but people at every level of the economy. We recommend you use this as an excuse to have Thanksgiving Part II (or a Thanksgiving preview); dig into all your favorites and take this chance to learn new dishes from around the world made specially to welcome the spring!
4. Plant a Seed
Our planet is in crisis; we are losing almost 200 species a day and global deforestation is at a threatening high from Brazil to Cambodia. While planting seeds, whether symbolic or practical, are part of many cultures’ springtime celebrations, this is something we can all do as part of an activist culture. Each seed we plant is a contribution, a small change in the world, a sponge to absorb the bad and pump out good, both literally and figuratively.
5. Take an Outdoor Yoga Class… Or Just Get Outside
Welcome the warm weather each day (and the sun) with the ancient yogic practice of surya namaskar, literally ‘sun salutation’. Take this chance to mix up your exercise routine (if you’re together enough to have one) and get out of the gym. Many of us stay in the comfort of our gyms, but spring weather brings fresh air, windy gusts, beautiful flowers, and baby animals to look at while out and about. Even if you’re not a runner, there are plenty of ways to enjoy being outside while conditioning your body. Set up a yoga mat in a park, on a rooftop or sidewalk and use your phone to follow an instructional app that can guide you through various yoga routines. While you can find specific ones to target weight loss or toning, remember to focus on your breathing and mindfulness as those are two core elements in attaining the psychological benefits of yoga.
6. Make a Goal
Most of us let our New Years Resolutions slide, whether it was to go for an ambitious run every day or recycle properly, but it’s important not to give up 1/4 of the way into the year simply because we didn’t make it through the first part. If you don’t succeed at first, try, TRY again! Use this chance to review your priorities and where you are in life; make a new set of goals or even just one to focus on. See how you can integrate baby steps towards that change into daily life and use each day as a new chance to succeed.
Tell us how you’re celebrating Spring on Twitter (@maximhy) and what your favorite holidays are from around the world!