By Amy Salmon, Philosophy and Politics student.
Spring is finally here! I think it’s fair to say that we are all looking forward to the lighter nights. Leaving lectures at 5 pm to find that it is already pitch-black for the walk home is certainly a bleak part of the winter term. And the lighter mornings will be welcomed too, making those 9 am classes a little more bearable. The days have been getting longer since December but after March 20th we will have more hours of daylight than of darkness every day. Now that’s something to look forward to.
The spring equinox marks the official start of spring in the northern hemisphere and 20 March marks that point this year. So, what is the equinox? Well, roughly translated, it means equal nights so on this particular night all countries around the world will have nearly equal hours of day and night. It is also one of only two times in the year that the sun will rise due east and set due west for everyone in the world. So, it is one of very few times in the year when we can feel connected to the other side of the world. And, of course, it kicks off the season of spring.
So, what is so great about spring?
As a March baby I pride myself on being born in the spring. It seems, to me, the most perfect time of year. None of the pressure for scorching temperatures that the summer months have but a tenfold improvement from the icy cold and dark days of the winter. The increased daylight encourages more birds to sing and, of course, spring brings us special occasions including Easter and Passover. In Scotland, where I am from, we have an Easter tradition that is perhaps a little different to the usual Easter egg hunt. We decorate boiled eggs in the most elaborate way that an egg can even be decorated and then go egg rolling. This is a game which simply involves rolling your egg down the hill and hoping that it will get to the bottom first. Though trivial it has brought mountains of fun for my brother and I.
Moving away from modern-day traditions, there is an ancient tradition that exists in Chichen Itza in Mexico whereby the spring equinox is known as the return of the sun serpent. The Mayans built a huge pyramid in 10000 AD that signalled the start of the seasons by the way the light landed on it. On the spring equinox, when the light touches the pyramid, it looks like a snake slithering down the steps. This phenomenon is as old as they come and it is certainly a spectacle.
So, all in all, spring is definitely something to be excited about and the spring equinox perfectly brings in the light nights and brighter days.