Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Equinox/ Forårsjævndøgn

After spring equinox we are closer to the light period of the year and the lovely light summer nights. The days grow longer and on the 7. May begin the light summer nights - which last all too short.  The longest day is already on 21 June, when it is summer solstice. Some wise men say that our division of the day and night goes back to the old Babylonians who lived in the present Iraque about 4000 years ago.
Spring equinox in various places: 
The March equinox marks the first day of various calendars including the Iranian calendar. The ancient Iranian new year's festival of Nowruz can be celebrated March 20 or March 21. According to the ancient Persian mythology Jamshid, the mythological king of Persia, ascended to the throne on this day and each year this is commemorated with festivities for two weeks. These festivities recall the story of creation and the ancient cosmology of Iranian and Persian people. It is also a holiday for Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, India, Turkey, Zanzibar, Albania and various countries of Central Asia as well as among the Kurds. 
Sham el Nessim  was an ancient Egyptian holiday, which can be traced back as far as 2700 B.C. It is still one of the public holidays in Egypt. Sometime during Egypt's Christian period (c. 200-639) the date moved to Easter Monday, but before then it coincided with the vernal equinox. In many Arab countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on the March equinox.
The Jewish Passover usually falls on the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere vernal equinox, although occasionally (7 times every 19 years) it will occur on the second full moon.The Christian churches calculate Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox. The official church definition for the equinox is March 21; however, as the Eastern Orthodox churches use older Julian calendar, while the Western Churches use the Gregorian calendar,both of which designate March 21 as the equinox, the actual date of Easter differs. The earliest possible Easter date in any year is therefore March 22 on each calendar. The latest possible Easter date in any year is April 25.

Modern culture:  World Storytelling Day is a global celebration of the art of oral storytelling, celebrated every year on the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere.In Annapolis, Maryland in the United States boatyard employees and sailboat owners celebrate the spring equinox with the Burning Of The Socks festival. Traditionally, the boating community wears socks only during the winter. These are burned at the approach of warmer weather, which brings more customers and work to the area. Officially, nobody then wears socks until the next equinox. Earth day was initially celebrated on March 21, 1970, the equinox day. It is currently celebrated in various countries on April 22.

photo: grethe bachmann

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