The Quick 10: 10 Ways to Celebrate the Spring Equinox

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Twice a year the Sun sits vertically above the Equator, giving us nearly equal day and night everywhere on the planet. Today is the Vernal Equinox, or to be fair to the Southern Hemisphere, the March Equinox. Here are ten ways to celebrate with your (roughly) 12 hours of daylight:

1. Stand an egg on end: I remember trying this in fourth grade; I'm sure none of us got it to work. You can try it out, though, any day of the year. This guy can do it pretty well, and he briefly explains the origins of the myth:

2. Honor Dionysus with an altar and bread phallus: Gotta love Dionysus, god of fertility, wine, flowering plants, poetry and theater. To celebrate the coming of spring, modern Pagans offer up tables of wine, flowers, and phallic symbols made of food.

3. Watch the ball drop with Dwight Shrute: Iran, Albania, Crimea and Kosovo, among many other areas of Asia, observe the New Year on the Vernal Equinox, generally in observance of Nowruz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nowruz). Specific religions also adhere to the holy day, including the Bahá'í Faith, which Rainn Wilson discusses here.

4. Have a family reunion: That's what they do in Japan for Vernal Equinox Day, in addition to visiting family graves.

5. Tell a story: Today is World Storytelling Day in the Northern Hemisphere, so take this opportunity to share stories of your family, childhood, or this years' theme, "Monsters and Dragons." Bonus points for hearing stories in more than one language and at more than one location.

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6. Demonstrate your open views on national citizenship: It's World Citizen Day; Superman is the only Citizen of the World that I'm aware of, but it probably wouldn't hurt most of us to try and bridge a cultural divide or two.

7. Give your mom some love: Many Middle Eastern countries celebrate Mother's Day today.

8. Visit a megalithic monument: You know, like Stonehenge. On the summer and winter solstices and spring and autumn equinoxes, Stonehenge is open to visitors.

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9. Finally understand why the Easter bunny lays eggs:This comes from an ancient Saxon tale about their lunar (or spring/summer) goddess, Eostre. The story has many variations, but generally the idea is that Eostre found an injured bird and transformed it into a hare to save its life; the transformation was incomplete, and in gratitude for saving her, the hare laid eggs and decorated them as gifts to Eostre. Alternately, the hare found an egg and decorated it for the goddess. Parts of the myth were absorbed into the modern Easter celebration.

10. Take a trip to Mexico: That's where you'll find Chichen Itza (one of the new Wonders of the World) and the ancient Mayan pyramid, El Castillo, where the Return of the Sun Serpent occurs on the northern balastraud every Equinox.

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March 20, 2009 - 11:26am
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