Spring is almost here!
Good news! The official start of spring is almost here. Around March 21st the spring or vernal equinox occurs, traditionally marking the beginning of the spring season. I always circle this date on my calendar because from this time forward, the days continue to grow longer with sunlight taking precedence over darkness.
Spring brings the end of the long, dreary winter season, with the hope of summer just around the corner. During this wonderful time of year flowers bloom, hibernating animals emerge, and many species give birth to their young.
Of course, spring is just as important for us people. Sunny days, walks in the park, flying kites, and barbeques are soon to be here. We do spring cleaning, gardening, and planting to get ready for summer. Looking forward to fresh fruits and vegetables is always a treat. It strikes me that all of these activities are so ingrained in us that they have become traditions. But they are also symptoms—the symptoms of spring fever! As Mark Twain said, “Spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so.”
Spring fever is so common; almost every culture around the world celebrates it in some form or fashion. Different traditions abound, from the simple to the elaborate. Here are a few of my favorites:
Cherry Blossom Festival – Japan The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japan goes back hundreds of years. In Japan, each year the people look forward to the blooming of the cherry blossom trees. It is a time for families and friends to gather, picnic, and enjoy music and drink.
The Songkran Festival – Laos In April the country of Laos turns into a giant water fight in celebration of their New Year. This tradition falls in the peak of the dry season and extensive heat. During this time, homes and holy places alike are cleaned. You may also get soaked while walking down the street—all in good-natured fun, of course!
Sechselauten – Switzerland The end of this holiday is the burning of winter, a figure of a snowman filled with explosives. (Maybe this is why the Swiss never fight in wars—they take everything out on their snowmen!)
These celebrations remind us that spring is a season of renewal. In older times, people actually thought of spring as a time for new resolutions and new beginnings instead of the beginning of the calendar year like we do today. My thought? It’s good to celebrate both. So what traditions do you have? If you don’t have any, borrow a tradition listed above … I’m sure they won’t mind! In the meantime, I hope you are looking forward to spring as much as I am. As we enjoy the changing of the season, I find myself reflecting on the words of Carl Friedrich Gauss, who said:
“Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes.” I hope you have a renewed outlook on the possibilities of life during this beautiful time of year. Spring is a wonderful chance to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the world. It’s a chance to participate in an old tradition, or even start a new one. But however you celebrate, I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say, “May we all catch spring fever … and never recover!”
Here’s wishing you a delightful spring.