Springing Straight into Celebration

Victoria Milev, Staff Writer

The Vernal Equinox, which occured on the twentieth of March this year, marked the beginning of spring, and on this day night and day were both equal to twelve hours. For those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, springtime has arrived. However, for those living in the Southern Hemisphere, the season of fall is just beginning. Spring is celebrated all over the world as it is usually seen as the season that brings new life after the cold of winter, giving birth to sunshine and the blooming of flowers.
At the annual spring festival in Zurich, Switzerland, a celebration dating back to the sixteenth century, people gather to watch the burning of a snowman which is supposed to signify the end of winter, AccuWeather shares. To make the whole event more spectacular, the snowman is usually stuffed with explosives. Similar to the celebration in Switzerland, Poland celebrates the beginning of a season by marking the end of winter by making straw dolls called the Marzanna. The dolls are paraded throughout the town streets and they are taken to a river where they are drowned to symbolize the end of winter.
Meanwhile, in Valencia, Spain, the annual Fallas festival results in the city’s population multiplying by almost three times. During this festival, the people honor Saint Joseph and burn paper-mâché figurines stuffed with fire crackers that are called “ninot.” The Russian folk festival known as Maslenitsa is an event that starts seven weeks before Easter. During the festival, people spend a day eating fish, meat and dairy products before fasting begins which lasts seven weeks, ending on Easter day. A straw figure of “The Lady of Maslenitsa” is made and then burned to represent the return of the light and warmth. The ashes are then spread into the fields as fertilizer.
Iranians, on the other hand, have the festival called Nowruz, meaning “new day.” They start by cleaning and painting their houses, repairing old broken items, and decorating their houses with flowers. For them, the New Year starts on the day of the Spring Equinox which is celebrated by going outside for a picnic and outdoor activities. This celebration originates from the beliefs of Zoroastrianism which was one of the main religions in ancient Persia before Islam, states ThoughtCo.
Japan also celebrates spring with their Cherry Blossom Festival, known in Japan as “Hanami“. This takes place between March and May, depending on when the cherry trees bloom. At the peak of the blooming period, people gather under the trees, have picnics, listen to songs and above all, admire the beauty of nature.
In Bulgaria the beginning of spring is celebrated on the first of March. The celebration is called Baba Marta Den, which means Granny March Day. On this day, people wear tokens, bracelets or small woolen dolls made from red and white threads called Martenitsa. The tokens symbolize the beginnings of new life, fertility and health. The white color represents the man, his strength, and long life. The red color, on the other hand, represents the woman, health, conception and birth. For this tradition, people watch the first stork remove the token or bracelet and tie it on a fruit tree. Around this time of year many trees in Bulgaria are decorated with these bracelets or tokens. The beginning of spring is an exciting time and people around the world are eager to enjoy it with their unique celebrations.