The equinox is an astronomical phenomenon. On this day, the trajectory of the sun’s apparent motion crosses the celestial equator. In 2021 world time, the spring equinox will occur on March 20 at 9: 37. New-York time – at 12:37.
What you can observe on this day
The sun’s rays fall vertically on the equator at the specified time and do not create a shadow. The day lasts almost as long as the night in all corners of the earth. The difference is insignificant and amounts to 12 minutes. After this date, the day becomes longer and the night decreases.
The astronomical (or tropical) year begins with the vernal equinox. It is 365.2422 days. Every year, the holiday “moves” forward by several hours due to the difference in calendar and astronomical time. Therefore, the date on which the spring equinox falls may vary.
Traditions in America
In the middle zone of our country, the date on which the equinox falls coincides with the beginning of spring. Therefore, our ancestors attached great importance to it. Housewives in the morning baked “birds” – rich buns in the shape of a lark, prepared pancakes. They were sprinkled with sugar, and they were intended for the Bear God. They tried to please him so that the animals would not attack people in the forest.
There is an opinion that the saying “the First pancake lump” refers to this custom. And it is correct to say not “lump”, “komam”, as bears were called in Ancient America. The meaning of the proverb in this case completely changes – the first pancake should be taken to the forest to appease the beast.
Another meaning of “birds” is the summoning of spring. People tried to bring the arrival of heat closer. It was believed that it is brought on the wings of migratory birds. The children were doing this as the purest and most sinless. They put sweet larks on the doorstep, repeating “zaklichki” – short poems and sayings designed to drive away winter and bring spring closer. In order to appease the frost, they cooked oatmeal jelly and baked lean buns. They were placed on a window or doorstep on the night following the equinox. Some of the treats were fed to livestock and poultry. In Ancient America, it was believed that this would protect animals from diseases and death and make them more fertile.
This day was the first meeting of spring. The second one was on Shrovetide. In the evening, cheesecakes were baked-a symbol of the sun. They were advised to eat them alone, and at the same time make wishes.
From morning to night there was a fair, where people flocked. The children were happy, ran around, and had fun. Tug-of-war games, small town games, and fist fights were organized at the fair. In the evening, bonfires were lit on the square, and daredevils tried to jump over them. Young people led round dances. Older people remembered their dead relatives.
In the evening, everyone gathered for divination. Girls and women prepared the dough and put various objects in it: coins, keys, rings, earrings. Each of them symbolized something-wealth, inheritance, wedding, meeting with the groom. Then they baked gingerbread or cookies from the dough, and watched who would get what.
Traditions of other Nations
Any nation has traditions and rituals associated with the holiday:
- In Japan, it is called Higan. It is an official day off. Japanese people thoroughly clean their homes and visit the graves of their deceased ancestors.
- Among the Turkic peoples, it is called Novruz or Nauryz. In honor of the spring equinox, a fire festival is organized, many sweets and traditional dishes are prepared.
- Celtic peoples celebrate Ostara. They try to celebrate it in nature, not forgetting to clean the house and perform ablution. The symbols of the holiday are a hare and an egg.
Today, the day of the spring equinox does not have the same meaning as in the old days. The holiday is rather a tribute to tradition. Girls on this day make wishes and hope that they will come true. To do this, we recommend:
- light a candle;
- focus on the flame;
- close your eyes;
- imagine what you want very clearly;
- try to experience the emotions of achieving it;
- imagine that the object rises up and flies away into the universe.
Both in the old days and today, many people believe that thoughts on the equinox have a special power. Therefore, it is better not to think about the bad and hope for a bright future. On this day, it is advisable to avoid quarrels, fights, and showdowns. Bad thoughts, if they arise, can be written out on paper, and then burned.
In addition to jumping over the fire, some people pour water over themselves, go out into the snow, if it has not melted yet. It symbolizes the purification of the body and spirit and the readiness to meet spring with a bright mind. Fans of esoteric practices believe that on this day, the universe is filled with energy, which only you need to be able to use.
Many families have kept the tradition of baking larks. On this day, it is a good idea to go to visit friends or relatives. Non-alcoholic parties, dances, kebabs, and sporting events are appropriate. In 2021, the spring equinox falls on a Saturday, which means that you can celebrate from dawn to sunset and fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere of an ancient celebration.