Spring Equinox Traditions & Foods From Around The World
Spring is here! You can finally say goodbye to the long, cold nights of winter and start enjoying the warmer days and nights. The Spring equinox officially marks the start of the season, and with it comes a chance to enjoy fresh, veggie-filled meals and interesting traditions.
The vernal equinox symbolises a period of regrowth and rebirth and is celebrated by different cultures around the world in a variety of fun creative ways. Certain equinox themes are shared by many cultures. Eggs, seeds and fresh veggies are found in many Spring foods and decorations as these represent the potential for new life and opportunities. In Spring, the world is fertile and poised for abundance. Seeds are sown or sprouting, and many animals are carrying or already giving birth to the next generation. It certainly is a time for celebration. Check out how these different cultures do their Spring equinox festivities.
United Kingdom: Have a pancake or two
In the UK, some Celtic traditions are still widely celebrated, especially around the time of the Spring equinox. While many associate the common practices of Spring and rebirth with Christian practices for Easter, many practices across the islands can be traced back to prehistory. These rituals live on today and are still widely celebrated. Every year people, often dressed in traditional pagan garb, gather at Stonehenge to walk the ancient grounds and watch the sun rise. When it comes to the food, historically pancakes were cooked for Shrove Tuesday before going into Lent. Since eggs, sugar, and fat are commonly forbidden during the Lenten fast, people used them up in the form of delicious pancakes before it began.
Ever wondered what the difference between a flapjack and a pancake is? Here’s the answer: Pancakes vs Flapjacks vs Crepes
Mexico: Sunshine and fresh veggies
Heading over to the Americas, Mexico has one of their biggest Spring equinox celebrations at the Teotihuacán Pyramid. Thousands of people wear white and gather there to celebrate the arrival of Spring and take the time to climb the steps of the great pyramid. As the sun becomes stronger, the people open their arms wide and embrace the warmth of the sun. These Spring equinox rituals and celebrations are said to help them gather energy to grow and prosper throughout the year. Fresh veggies are the traditional Spring food of Mexico and while corn, squash and potatoes typically serve as the bulk of a meal, and are distinctly traditional, other fresh foods like tomatoes, mangos and peppers make great flavour enhancers and add a bit of flare to the Spring celebrations.
Why not be a little cheeky and celebrate Spring with a margarita or three: Classic margarita recipe
Bosnia: Early morning eggs
Eggs, eggs and more eggs! Bosnia takes egg symbolism very seriously when it comes to their Spring celebrations. Every year Bosnians herald in the new season with a festival called Cimburijada, or “festival of the scrambled eggs”. People from the Bosnian town of Zenica gather by the Bosna River to celebrate the first day of Spring. The event begins with the preparation of a traditional breakfast, in this case, a giant communal bowl of scrambled eggs for the masses. People gather and share their large meal of scrambled eggs while having drinks and listening to music together. Celebrated between family, visitors and friends, this event is open to everyone, or at least anyone who likes eggs.
You don’t need to have your eggs scrambled. Try out this egg white omelette instead: Mediterranean egg white omelette
China: Tea, shoots and leaves
More eggs! Heading East, the Chinese enjoy their Spring traditions by balancing eggs on the day of Spring Equinox. People balance eggs to celebrate and welcome the coming of Spring and this curious tradition can be traced back 4000 years. In some places, people paint on the eggs with multiple colors and hold egg-balancing competitions. Eating Spring vegetables during the Spring Equinox is a commonly-practiced custom in many regions of China. In China, people believe that eating seasonal foods helps them stay healthy. Spring is also the very best time to enjoy China’s national drink: tea. The Chinese name their teas after the four seasons, and “Spring tea” refers to the very first batches of leaves harvested earliest in the year. At this point, the tiny, newly emerged leaves are at their most tender and sweet and symbolise new growth for the season ahead.
Tea is enjoyed around the globe and here are a few fun facts that will encourage you to enjoy a cuppa: Tea: the healthier habit
Thailand: Songkran and sticky rice
Thailand takes its Spring celebrations seriously – or rather not so seriously. If you’re in Thailand during this period, prepare to get splashed! The Thai people welcome Spring with the annual Songkran Water Festival. This festival takes place right after the Spring equinox and is Thailand’s version of New Year’s Day. People gather around Chiang Mai for a variety of Spring equinox rituals and traditions, including throwing water at each other. This is meant to wash away any bad luck from the previous year and give you the chance to start the new season fresh. This is followed by a big communal meal, and in Thailand, a delicious post-meal snack. This often comes in the mouth watering form of mango sticky rice. Arguably the most famous of all Thai desserts, mango sticky rice is made with cooked sweet coconut milk, and placed on top of fresh slices of mango to make for a tasty and super healthy treat.
Love mango but don’t love rice? Try out this mango chutney recipe to add some flavour to any meal: Mango Chutney
Spring truly is a glorious time of year no matter where in the world you are.The annual thaw from the winter coldness is a beautiful occasion that draws many different celebrations from all around the world. No matter your religion or your location, there are so many different reasons to embrace the season. It’s an opportunity to reflect and move forward with freshness and renewed vitality. Cheers to the new season!