Today is the spring equinox, and where many of us have been feeling the official spring air well before today, today marks that spring has officially sprung in all its glory. But what is this day and how can you celebrate?
The equinox marks the first astrological day of spring and follows the day when the sun crosses the equator line, heading north. This time of year, daylight increases, warmer temperatures abound and plants bloom into the new season. In Greek mythology, this follows the days where Persephone returns from the underworld to live with her mother.
The word comes from Latin and equates to equal night from aequus and nox. On the day of the equinox, the length of night and day is more or less equal in every part of the world. You’ll expect later sunsets, and earlier sunrises.
If you were on the equator, you would watch the sun pass directly overhead, as it starts its journey north. Although you may have felt the days are getting longer, since the winter solstice you’ll find that there will be a gradual increase until the summer solstice, where the longest day of the year occurs.
In folklore, on this day you are able to balance a raw egg upright at the end of the equinox. This comes from the Chinese tradition of creating displays of eggs standing on the first day of spring. And although you can balance eggs on other days too, it’s a bit of tradition that gives the equinox some egg-citement.
So how can you celebrate? The equinox signals new beginnings since it only happens twice every year, and it brings renewal. The march full moon is called the worm moon, so see if there are grubs appearing. Check for birds that you haven’t seen for a while, as they begin to migrate northward. Find spring flowers, are the daffodils blooming, are the crocus dancing in the trees?
Now is the time to sow seeds, prepare your plants and begin to plant bulbs ready for harvesting. Now is the only time to be planting your radishes, spinach and parsnips if you want them to be ready for winter. Celebrate by buying yourself some seeds and nurture your green thumb.
One of the best ways to appreciate mother earth is through using the fruits of her womb, make something refreshing like a mojito, and use the early greens that you’ve been missing. Fresh lettuce, wild garlic and ripened tomatoes make the perfect salad if you fancy foraging for those new leaves.
Traditionally, in Mexico, the ancient Mayan pyramid built in A.D. 1000 was used to tell the first day of spring, as they tracked the day changing. This day, as the sun hits the pyramid, it looks like a snake slithering down the steps, a phenomenon coined ‘the return of the serpent.’