Spring is the season of new beginnings. Maybe you’re planning to do spring cleaning, plant seeds for a garden, take a spring vacation, or just get out and enjoy warmer weather. People around the world welcome the advent of spring in some interesting ways. Did you know that:
- In England, Druids, Pagans, and Wiccans gather at Stonehenge on the spring equinox, when day and night are of equal length. This spring festival, called Ostara, is one of the few occasions when the stones are open for public access. Ordinarily hundreds of people gather to watch the sunrise and engage in Druid rituals to celebrate the changing season and their love of nature. This year the festival was canceled due to the pandemic, but plans are underway for a similar festival in June to celebrate the Summer Solstice.
- Nowruz, the Persian New Year celebration, falls on the first day of spring and is observed by 300 million people worldwide in countries including Afghanistan, Albania, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan. Nowruz is celebrated in many American communities as well, especially in cities with large Persian populations. Nowruz is a month-long event with parties, lighting of bonfires, and delicious Persian foods shared between families, friends, and neighbors.
- In Japan, the spring equinox is a national holiday called ShunBun No Hi. During the seven-day event there are family gatherings, and it is also traditionally a time for people to visit the graves of family members, light incense, and leave offerings of food and flowers.
- The Hindu Festival of Colors, or Holi, celebrates the end of winter and advent of spring, and the victory of good over evil. Hindus in India, Nepal, and around the world light bonfires, throw colorful powder over each other, dance and play music.
How do you mark spring’s beginnings? Besides Passover and Easter, traditional celebrations of spring across the United States include the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., the Portland Rose Festival in Oregon, the Calle Ocho in Miami, Florida, and many more. While festivities are muted this year in many places due to the pandemic, we can hope that by the time the Summer Solstice arrives, gatherings will resume.
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