March equinox

The March Equinox, also known as the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the Autumn Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere, marks the moment when the Sun crosses the celestial equator. This event occurs annually around March 20th or 21st, depending on the year. It signifies the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. The term “equinox” is derived from Latin, meaning “equal night,” reflecting the nearly equal length of day and night across the world during this time. Culturally and historically, the March Equinox has been celebrated by various civilizations as a time of rebirth, renewal, and new beginnings, with many festivals and traditions associated with this period, such as Nowruz (the Persian New Year) and Easter.

Key Traditions of the March Equinox

Bas-relief in Persepolis

A symbol of Iranian Nowruz showing a bull and a lion in combat, representing Earth and Sun respectively, symbolizing the balance of day and night during the equinox.

Chichen Itza Snake Descent

During the spring equinox, the shadow of the serpent god Kukulkan is observed descending the steps of the El Castillo pyramid, a phenomenon attracting thousands of visitors.

Jewish Passover

Aligns with the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere vernal equinox, marking a significant religious observance that commemorates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.

Easter Calculation

Christian Churches determine Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox, with variations between Eastern Orthodox and Western Churches due to different calendars.

Nowruz Celebrations

Marking the Persian New Year, celebrated on or around March 20th or 21st, it is a time of renewal and joy, observed with various customs and festivities over two weeks.

Mother’s Day in Arab Countries

Celebrated on the northward equinox in many Arab countries, this day honors motherhood and maternal bonds.

Sham el-Nessim in Egypt

An ancient celebration marking the beginning of spring, it is now observed on Easter Monday but is rooted in traditions dating back to ancient Egypt.

Angkor Wat Equinox

A solar phenomenon in Cambodia where the sun aligns perfectly with the main temple at Angkor Wat, dating back to the reign of Suryavarman II.

Higan in Japan

A Buddhist holiday in Japan celebrated during both the Spring and Autumnal Equinox, focusing on visiting family graves and reunions.

Burning of the Socks Festival

In Annapolis, Maryland, marking the spring equinox, boatyard employees and sailboat owners celebrate the coming of warmer weather by burning their winter socks.

Most Important Works of Literature About the March Equinox

“The Canterbury Tales” by Geoffrey Chaucer (14th century)

Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” begins with the onset of spring, where “April with his showers sweet” has pierced the drought of March. This collection of 24 stories is framed around a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, commencing in the rejuvenative season of spring, echoing themes of renewal and rebirth akin to the March Equinox.

“The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot (1922)

Eliot’s poem, with its famous opening lines about April, delves into the themes of death and rebirth, resonating deeply with the symbolic renewal associated with the March Equinox. The work’s complex tapestry of cultural and literary references weaves a narrative of regeneration amidst desolation.

Best Music About the March Equinox

“Le Quattro Stagioni” (The Four Seasons) by Antonio Vivaldi (1723)

Vivaldi’s set of four violin concertos is an epitome of Baroque music that vividly describes the seasons, with “Spring” (La primavera) directly evoking the essence of the March Equinox. The joyful movements of the “Spring” concerto celebrate the season’s renewal, growth, and beauty, embodying the equinox’s themes of balance and rebirth.

“The Rite of Spring” by Igor Stravinsky (1913)

A groundbreaking work that celebrates the earth’s renewal and the coming of spring, embodying the energy and transformative spirit of the equinox.

“Spring Symphony” by Robert Schumann (1841)

This symphony is a vibrant and joyful celebration of spring’s arrival, resonating with themes of renewal and rebirth.

Best Paintings About the March Equinox

“Primavera” by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1482)

This masterpiece of the early Renaissance period, housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, depicts a group of figures from classical mythology in a garden, symbolizing the fertility and renewal of spring. Although not explicitly about the equinox, “Primavera” captures the essence of the season’s rebirth and renewal, themes closely associated with the March Equinox.

“The Birth of Venus” also by Sandro Botticelli (c. 1484-1486)

Another iconic work by Botticelli, “The Birth of Venus,” illustrates the goddess Venus emerging from the sea, symbolizing the rebirth of spring and the renewal of beauty. Like the equinox, this painting embodies themes of balance, renewal, and the cyclical nature of life.

Best Cakes, Cookies, and Sweets for the March Equinox

Nowruz Sweets

For Nowruz, various sweets such as Baklava, Persian Rice Cookies (Nan-e Berenji), and Nowruz Pound Cake are prepared to mark the Persian New Year with sweetness and joy.

Best Food for the March Equinox

Sabzi Polo

A traditional Nowruz dish, this herbed rice served with fish symbolizes rebirth and fertility, reflecting the themes of the March Equinox.

Featured image: Wikimedia

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