It’s spring! Winter has come and gone, leaving us discontented with quite the chill this year. Though not especially cold, the months of January and February were particularly bitter.
A winter storm takes its toll on the roof, but leaves collective consciousness after the last bits of snow melt and dribble down the driveway. Pandemics are much icier and require much more rebuilding than even the worst of blizzards.
However, there is a newness about spring that can spark hope in even the gloomiest of circumstances. For example, on March 19, this year’s spring equinox, China reported no new cases of COVID-19 . . . although we’re far from the end of the storm, this news was a glimmer of light peeking through the clouds.
Spring represents rebirth and is a time of great celebration for many and most cultures. Join me as I travel around the world in eight
y days minutes to discover some of the interesting and beautiful ways spring is celebrated across the globe.
- Holi – India
Holi, known as the festival of colors, is a night and day-long celebration to honor good triumphing over evil, with the onset of spring after winter. It begins on the night of a full moon around the time of the spring equinox. People pray on this night for the extinguishing of their internal evil. The next day, there is a carnival of colors where all over the country, colored powders are thrown on one another in the streets and smudged onto the skin of friends and loved ones in the home; towns, cities and villages are enveloped in rainbow joy.
- Cimburijada – Bosnia
Cimnuijada is the festival of scrambled eggs celebrated in the city of Zenica, Bosnia. City residents and tourists alike gather in fields and streets where giant pots and pans cook massive quantities of scrambled eggs. There are other foods to be enjoyed during the day-long barbecue, but eggs are the main focus, as they symbolize new life and rebirth. The start of the swimming season is also signaled as some locals dive into the River Bosnia.
- Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake – England
A particularly amusing spring tradition is performed on the Spring Bank Holiday just outside of Gloucester, England. Brave players from all over the world stand atop Cooper’s Hill as a round of Double Gloucester Cheese is released to roll. The competitors, having given the cheese a one-second head start, fling their bodies down the 650 foot drop after the cheese. Not running, but rolling and tumbling head over heels. Crowds of excited onlookers cheer as one lucky winner catches or crosses the finish line with the cheese. The roots of the tradition are unclear, but origins may be traced to pagen customs of rolling objects down hills to represent the birth of a new year.
- Sechseläuten – Switzerland
In English, the name of this holiday translates to “to ring six.” It originates from a 1525 law that switched the end of the workday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. after the vernal equinox. In Zurich, Switzerland, the holiday is celebrated by a giant fake snowman called Böög being burned at the stake at 6 p.m. The snowman’s head is filled with firecrackers. Legend has it, the faster the Böög’s head explodes, the more pleasant the summer will be. What remains of the stake is then used as a barbecue.
- Floriade – Australia
This floral celebration — held in Canberra, Australia — has more recent roots. Floriade was first celebrated in 1988; the idea of Christiaan Slotemaker de Bruine, Landscape Architect with the Department of Capital Territory in Canberra. Originally, the grand, month-long display of more than a million blooming flowers was to honor Australia’s bicentenary. Since then, it has become an annual festival each spring in the country. According to floriadeaustralia.com, Australians can plan for a “re-imagined” event for 2020, due to COVID-19. “We understand that spring is not spring in Canberra without Floriade,” said Events ACT’s Executive Branch Manager Ross Triffitt. The website states that plans for “Floriade Re-imagined” will be announced in the coming weeks. What a beautiful reminder from Australia to keep the beauty of spring alive no matter the circumstance.
Although our current situation is full of chaos and sadness, these little celebrations of our Earth are important to notice. As Earth Day passed yesterday, it is nice to see different nation’s appreciation for flourishment.