21 March 2006

Happy (Belated) Vernal Equinox!

Yesterday was the Spring, or Vernal, Equinox. At about 1:30 in the afternoon, we were halfway between the shortest and longest days of the year. Light and dark were balanced, for the moment. The Sun rose due east and set due west, as seen from any location on Earth. The fall and spring equinoxes are the only times of the year when this happens.

That makes today is our first full day of spring (though, as usual, you wouldn't know it from the weather we're experiencing). The various bulb plants have started to poke up from the ground and the trees are beginning to bud out their leaves. It's interesting to observe the rebirth throughout nature with a three-year-old, and I'm so pleased that Mairi is finally old enough to share in this!

Yesterday was also Ostara, one of the Lesser Wiccan Sabbats, a celebration of spring, rebirth and renewal, and the coming lushness of summer. Today is Naw-Rúz ('New Day'), the Baha'i and Iranian new year. Here's a link to a nice overview of Spring Equinox celebrations of Christianity, Judaism, Neopaganism, etc.

Spring does seem like a more appropriate time to celebrate the new year now, doesn't it? Mother Nature is reborn in the visible return of growth in the plant world, the impending births for many in the animal world.

Of course, all this is only true for the Northern Hemisphere. If you're reading this in the Southern Hemisphere — Happy Fall!

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