South Africa celebrates Spring day on 1 September every year. Spring Day marks the Vernal Equinox and takes place in different countries on varying dates.
As is the custom for any celebration South Africans are likely to celebrate Spring around a braai. Some hardy souls in Port Elizabeth celebrate Spring Day with an early morning ocean swim. (See: Celebrate spring with a dip in the ocean)
Maybe we should start a tradition of exchanging single new flowers between political, gender and race to mark a new beginning for our country each spring?
Spring Celebrations in other parts of the world:
Balance an Egg: There is an ancient Chinese belief that you can stand an egg on its end on the first day of spring. The theory goes that, due to the sun’s equidistant position between the poles of the earth at the time of the equinox, special gravitational forces apply. Just like ‘salt on a birds tail’ renders it unable to fly this is a bit of a myth but fun to try.
Dance in the Streets: Holi is an ancient Hindu festival celebrating the victory of good over evil. It takes place each year around the time of the vernal equinox. Known as the “festival of colours”, it is celebrated by tossing vibrant coloured powders onto each other and dancing in the streets.
Find a 3 leaf Clover: The symbolic plant of the equinox in Druidry is the trefoil or shamrock, which is also customarily worn on St. Patrick’s Day. The three leaves shaped like hearts were associated with the Triple Goddess of Celtic mythology, otherwise known as the “Three Morgans.” The shamrock is thought to be symbolic of the regenerative powers of nature.
Plant Seeds: The spring equinox is symbolic of rebirth, renewal, and growth, and in ancient Italy, it was traditional for women to plant seeds in the gardens of Adonis on this day. The custom persists in Sicily, where women plant seeds of grains – lentils, fennel, lettuce or flowers – in baskets and pots. When they sprout, the stalks are tied with red ribbons and the flowers are placed on graves on Good Friday, symbolising the triumph of life over death.
Leave your door open: Albania celebrates Spring Day on 14 March each year. On the morning of 14 March, the elderly leave the door open as a sign of generosity, a pitcher filled with fresh water and take home a clump of green grass. The youngest fertilizes the orange and olive trees, but the smaller ones are the first to make the “lucky” visits to neighbors and relatives who give them turkey legs, dried figs and nuts. Finally lunch on 14 March, should be eaten outdoors in the company of friends and relatives.
Watch Camels Fight: Afghanistan Spring festival-goers will watch ‘camel fights’ during the Afghan New Year’s or ‘Nowurz’ celebrations. The festival celebrates the start on New Year start and coincides with the astronomical vernal equinox
Go River Surfing: The Severn bore on the River Severn in Gloucestershire, England is a natural tidal phenomenon that pushes a 4ft wave up the Severn Estuary in Gloucestershire. The phenomenon takes place around 12 times a year during the spring and autumn equinox, when a wave is formed every morning for two or three days.
Burn an effigy: Every year on the first day of the calendar spring, as one of the equinox rituals in Poland, people gather to burn an effigy and throw it into a river so the winter could go away.
1 September 2016 also marks the start of tourism month.
Tourism is earmarked as the biggest growth market and the quickest way to increase employment in South Africa.
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