Spring is a time when the cycle of life renews itself. Trees and flowers bud and bloom. Life takes advantage of the warmer days and a better food supply to make babies and raise them before the next winter sets in.
Seasons are caused by the tilt in the Earth’s axis as it travels around the sun every year. When a hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, the days lengthen into summer. When the hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, the days shorten into winter.
The halfway point is the equinox, when day and night are equal length. The equinox marks the start of Spring in one hemisphere and Fall in the other.
Many religious practices are based on the cycles of nature. In Spring, the world is born again.
In the northern hemisphere, meteorological spring falls on March 19, 20 or 21. Calendar spring is the months of March, April and May.
The March Equinox
The March equinox is the mother of spring celebrations (in the northern hemisphere). It’s the day when the Sun is directly over the equator and the Earth’s axis is neither tilted towards or away from the Sun. Of course, in the southern hemisphere, the March equinox marks the beginning of fall.
Some world traditions, like Lunar New Year and Groundhog Day, start spring in February. February is the snowiest time in New York City, but in other regions, it’s when birds start having babies or begin their mating rituals.
Signs of Spring
The first sign of Spring in New York City is the Snowdrops, small white droopy flowers that emerge in Central Park in January or early February. These are followed by Lenten Roses, Crocus and Daffodils.
March brings buds and flowers to Red Maple Trees, Cornelian Cherry, Glory-of-the-Snow and Cherry Trees. These are followed by Azaleas, Magnolias and Callery Pears which are one of NYC’s most common street trees.
April brings Crabapple, Eastern Redbud, lots of Tulips and Flowering Dogwood.
Spring is a season of flowers. The first flowers come from bulbs that store their energy in roots and wait for Spring.
Snowdrops don’t mind the cold. They will grow right up through the last snows.
Crocus are some of the first flowers of Spring. You can watch them poke their heads out of the cold ground in Central Park.
The spice saffron comes from a type of crocus.
Irises look almost like little orchids. They are native to Russia, the Caucasus, and northern Iran.
Daffodils arrive as Spring comes into full bloom. The Narcissus is a type of daffodil.
Tulips follow the Daffodils.
The Date of Spring
Different cultures have different ideas of when spring comes. Of course, spring comes at opposite times of the year in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Following the equinox when day and night are equal between the extremes of winter and summer, spring in the northern hemisphere starts around March 20, and around September 23 in the southern hemisphere.
Spring is the time for love.