Have you been noticing the daffodils making their buttery appearance? Or the mama birds already sitting on their nests? Perhaps the first bud sprouting on the branch? These signs of spring herald the Vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.
This year, Spring Equinox falls on March 20th. This traditionally marks the beginning of spring. Equinox is a time when day and night are of approximately equal lengths due to the position of the Earth’s equator as it relates to the sun.
Spring Equinox brings us Easter, Ostara, the Festival of Isis, the Feast of Cybele, and New Year in many traditions. These are all centered around new growth, welcoming the change of the weather, the sprouting of flowers and plants, and new life.
We can mark the turning of the year in many ways. Doing this with children or as families is a great way to bring a little mindful awareness into everyday life. The more we learn to connect with the outer seasons, the more we can also notice our inner seasons.
Ways to Celebrate the coming of Spring with children:
•Plant seeds or bulbs to celebrate growth and life. You can write your hopes or aspirations on little pieces of paper to plant with each seed. As they sprout up, you can imagine your aspirations coming to life.
•Spring Cleaning! Let in fresh air and make space for newness in your home. Donate or recycle unwanted items that clutter your space. It’s amazing what a little cleaning can do for your environment. Be sure to open up your windows and let in the fresh air. (And here’s a blog article about playing with Yoga while doing your cleaning.)
•Decorating eggs is often associated with Easter, but in fact egg decorating is rooted in many different traditions. Eggs are a symbol of fertility, which spring reminds us of. What are the fertile aspects of your life? Where is the potential? You can bring some mindful intention to decorating eggs as you contemplate the richness your life possesses. You can also use different natural substances to make dye for the eggs.
•Decorate your home with plants and flowers! This is a reminder of the beauty of life, the freshness of spring and new starts. You can get really creative with this. Garlands, wreaths, and endless possibilities.
•You can do sun salutations AND moon salutations (there are many variations) as you talk about night and day being equal lengths. What do we love about daytime? And what do we love about night? Finding beauty in both light and dark, and balance in our appreciation of them helps us find balance in our own lives.
•You can grow into your own plant. Start with everyone in a very tight child’s pose– as a seed. Someone comes around and puts scarves over each seed, which is the dirt. Then you “water” each seed by waving a scarf over them. Then you bring sunlight by ringing a gong or a bell. Each seed begins to sprout, growing into its very own expression. This is a great way to play with moving your body in whatever ways feel good.
•Practice Sky Gazing meditation. Now that the weather is nicer, find a nice spot to lay on the ground outside. Look up at the sky. Imagine your mind like the sky. Thoughts are like clouds. Watch as the wind blows them past, to reveal the deep clear blue underneath! It’s a great visual for children and adults to understand the nature of mind.
•Practice Tree meditation. Sit or stand outside on the earth. Imagine roots extending down from the bottoms of your feet or your seat. As they go through the earth, they find nutrients and water. They create stability for your trunk which is your torso. Feel how strong and firm it is. Now feel your branches extending toward the sky. You can feel this as your head and shoulders, or you can lift your arms and hands up. Feel the space all around. Notice the wind. See how joining earth and sky can help us feel strong.
However you celebrate, bringing awareness and intention toward aligning ourselves with the earth, with the natural world, and with the seasons helps us to find inner awareness as we ebb and flow with our human experience. Happy Spring!!