Vernal Equinox, when day and night are of equal length all over the world and the first day of spring in northern hemisphere, is another important milestone and significant change in our four seasons. In Oslo, Norway (60°North) our days are 6 hours longer than at winter solstice and get longer every day – to even another 6 hours more at summer solstice. In addition, the temperature change from -25C (-13F) in Dec/Jan to +25C (77F) in Jul/Aug. I guess you agree that 12 more hours of daylight and 50C (90F) degrees difference in temperature are significant and of course influence our history, culture, traditions and habits.
The light takes over the darkness; the sun grows ever stronger, and under its light the nature starts waking up from hibernation. In our neighbourhood we have to be a bit patient this year as we’ve had a good old fashioned winter (rather cold and a lot of snow). This panoramic photo, taken with my Nokia N8, is at sunset – then 6PM – a few days ago:
Fertility celebration and basis of when Easter comes:
This is a fertility festival time in name, soil fertility and our fruitful projects. In newer times, the official vernal equinox on the 21 of March is the basis of when Easter comes in different years: Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon after 21 March (leap year by March 20). It is associated with many pagan customs of the spring equinox, and was probably the period leading up to Easter as a fertility celebration. In Denmark at the time of around the spring equinox there were ritual battles between groups of riders. One was equipped with ice and snowballs the other with fire and glowing coal. Sword Dancing was also widespread in Europe, which has survived in the English Morris Dancers, who still dances for fertility at Vernal Equinox.
Today’s carnival parties are probably the remains of these parties. Another tradition we have in our family is the Easter bunny egg hunt in the forest. Again the rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility. Eggs, like rabbits and hares, are fertility symbols of antiquity. Since birds lay eggs and rabbits and hares give birth to large litters in the early spring, these became symbols of the rising fertility of the earth at the Vernal Equinox. Here are a couple of photos from our hunt in earlier years:
Click to read one of my post about this: “Family Easter Bunny Egg hunt in Norway”
Do you see why and how the change of seasons and the coming of spring influence our culture and traditions? : -)