This year, the spring equinox falls on March 20th, marking the moment when the day and night are equal in length and signifying the start of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The spring equinox is also referred to as the vernal equinox or the March equinox and it marks the astronomical beginning of the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumn season in the Southern Hemisphere.
The arrival of spring represents renewal, growth and transformation. By drawing the end of a season with ceremonies and rituals, you gift yourself the opportunity to reflect on the emotions, events and experiences that impacted you and create space for a mindful transition into a time in life.
Rituals around the world
“One of the most important features of rituals is that they do not only mark time; they create time. By defining beginnings and ends to developmental or social phases, rituals structure our social worlds and how we understand time, relationships, and change.” – Rebecca J. Lester Ph.D., MSW, LCSW, professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.
Spring equinox rituals have been celebrated in many cultures around the world for centuries, and each culture has its own unique rituals.
- Thailand: During Songkran Water Festival, major streets are closed to traffic dn used as arenas for water fights. Thai people believe that water is spiritually purifying, cleansing you of any bad luck from the previous year and blessing you with happiness for the year ahead.
- Mexico: People climb to the top of the Teotihuacán Pyramid dressed in white to bask in the warmth of the sun and soak up energy for the year.
- Italy: Women plant seeds of lentils, fennel, lettuce, or flowers in baskets as an homage to spring equinox.
- India and Nepal: Known as the “festival of colors”, Holi is an ancient Hindu festival that is celebrated with the onset of spring and the end of winter, with participants tossing vibrant colored powders over each other and dancing in the streets.
Learning about how other cultures honour this time of change may inspire you to incorporate some of their rituals into your own spring equinox ceremony. However, please make sure that the rituals and ceremonies you’re participating in aren’t appropriated from another culture. Read more about how to differentiate appropriation or appreciation on our blog.
Embrace the warmer season with these rituals
We’ve assembled a few rituals for you to draw inspiration from as we embrace the spring equinox and the return of light and warmth. Whichever ritual you choose to practice, start by taking a moment to set your intention. We recommend distilling the intention down to one word or one sentence that captures why each of the following rituals is needed and what you hope it will bring. Say your intention out loud, or simply hold it in your thoughts.
1. Build a spring altar
Reflection prompt: What are you hoping to welcome in the year ahead?
Creating an altar in your home or in nature can be a meaningful way to honour this time of year. Lay down a piece of fabric, light candles and place items from nature, such as seasonal flowers and stones, in a way that brings you peace or comfort.
2. Take a mindful walk
Reflection prompt: How do I want to feel going into the new season?
Take in the sights, sounds and smells of Spring. Notice the new growth on the trees and the flowers beginning to bloom. When the walk is complete, thank yourself for taking the time to honour what you’re holding.
3. Set up a bonfire
Reflection prompt: What are you hoping to release from the season gone by?
Invite your community to meet you somewhere that it’s safe to build a bonfire. Write down what you want to release on a piece of paper. Read what you wrote out loud to yourself or your community before throwing the paper into the bonfire.
4. Cleanse your space
Reflection prompt: What do you want to let go of before starting anew?
Declutter your physical and mental space by letting go of things and thoughts that no longer serve you using a broom, a feather, or a bundle of twigs and dried flowers. Often referred to as Smokeless Herbs, Sweeping, or Dusting, this ritual can be traced back to many cultures around the world, as well as being reinvented in modern times.
Closing and Opening the Year
We suggest drawing inspiration from our Closing the Year or Opening the Year ceremonies to create your own Spring Equinox ritual. Check out some of the ceremonies you can create using Be Ceremonial’s unique ‘choose your own ritual adventure’ platform. Choose from our extensive library of secular rituals and create a ceremony to honour this time of change.
If you are new to our platform, we invite you to join our free virtual workshop on March 29, 2023 from 12pm – 1pm PST. Free for Be Ceremonial account holders, we will guide you through the foundations of ritual and ceremony, giving you a place to start as you begin your Be Ceremonial journey!