Spring Holidays Across Cultures


Lauren von Aspen, Journalist


The seven or eight-day Jewish festival of Passover (Pesach)  is celebrated from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan. The festival commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and their journey to Mount Sinai. Passover begins with a large meal called the Seder and is celebrated in different ways across the globe. One important part of Passover is not eating chametz, or food containing leavening agents (yeast, baking powder, baking soda). In 2019, Passover will commence on April 19 and end April 27.


Nowruz, also known as Persian New Year, is a holiday celebrated all across the world by diverse groups, especially those of Iranian descent. In Iran, the new year begins in the spring, hence Nowruz celebrating the new year. The holiday is held on the day of the vernal equinox, which is sometime between March 19 and March 21. The origin of Nowruz date back thousands of years to its Zoroastrian roots. Today, Nowruz is celebrated through cleaning and creating a “hast-been”, a collection of symbolic items including senjet (dried fruit for love), seer (garlic, for health), sekeh (vinegar, for patience and wisdom), and sumac (a Persian spice for sunrise). Nowruz in 2019 was on March 21.


Songkran, a three day festival celebrating the Thai New Year, will be held from April 13 to April 15. Songkran is an important day on the Buddhist calendar, marking the beginning of the traditional Thai new year. Celebrations largely include water; people will roam the streets throwing buckets of water or shooting people with water guns. April 14 is the celebration of the old Thai new year, called Wan Nao, held on the day the sun travels between Pisces and Aries. New Year’s is on April 15, where an official opening ceremony is held at Wat Pho, a one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand.

Spring Equinox at Teotihuacan:

The Spring equinox, which occurs sometime between March 19 and March 21, is an important time in several cultures around the world, including in Mexico. On the Spring Equinox, hundreds of people gather around the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, a once thriving Mesoamerican city containing the famed Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. At Teotihuacan, visitors wear white and raise their arms to the sun, in order to absorb the positive energy that is supposed to be at its peak during the spring equinox. This year, the Spring Equinox occured on March 20.