Ancient Traditions of Spring Equinox

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I am loving the latest “Google Doodle” by Marimekko, the the Finnish textile company famous for its bright, bold prints.

The design marks  the vernal equinox which historically marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. Equinox means “equal night” and this happens because the sun is positioned above the equator and at this time of the year – day and night are about equal in length.

It’s a day steeped in ancient tradition – Egypt’s  Great Sphinx  was built to point directly toward the rising Sun on this day every year.   Vernal Equinox Day is a national holiday in Japan, when families visit graves and hold reunions. The Persian new year, Nowruz, also corresponds with the vernal equinox.

In Ireland, the spring equinox was calculated and celebrated in the ancient Irish megalithic cairn structure of  Knowth. Knowth is near to Newgrange (Brú na Boinne) and its passage and chamber is illumined by  the Sun on the morning of the Spring Equinox.

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