Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Happy Vernal Equinox!
At 10:48 tonight day and night will be in balance at the Vernal Equinox and Spring will begin bringing with it the rebirth of all things in nature which is the source of so many Spring Festivals. Of course, according to Catholic and Protestant tradition, the Sunday following the first full moon (which is the 21st) following the equinox is celebrated as Easter (the Orthodox Easter is tied to the Jewish celebration of Passover which begins April 20th this year, making Orthodox Easter the 27th). Many Easter traditions have their roots in pre-Christian celebrations of Zoroaster and Celtic pagans.
Ostara (sounds like Easter) is an ancient pagan celebration of the balance between light and dark in nature and in humans. It is considered a time to examine our relationships with each other as well as the divine as we go into the growing season.
Tonight begins No Ruz or New Year’s in Iran and Afghanistan, a tradition stretching back three thousand years to Zoroastrianism, and lasting thirteen days, not unlike our twelve days of Christmas. Of course this religion that believed in the balance of the universe would mark the year at the equinox when night and day, light and dark are balanced. The Bahia Faith, which originated in Iran in the 19th century, celebrates the holiday as Nawruz following a forty day period of fasting. The lambs, bunnies, greens and colored eggs we associate with Easter have their roots in No Ruz. Oh much more we have in common than we do differences.
We are a religiously eclectic family (actually we are eclectic in pretty much all ways) and find it convenient to celebrate it all. Spring seems such a sensible time to celebrate a new year with the rebirth of nature. Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, No Ruz, Nawruz, or Ostara, may the coming of Spring bring joy to your heart and hearth and chocolate to your tummy.