The vernal equinox: Spring has sprung

Celebrating Lathmar Holi at the start of spring in MAthura, India [Rajat Gupta/EPA]

Spring has sprung — at least it has for those in the northern hemisphere.

At 0430GMT on Sunday, the sun crossed the celestial equator heading towards its most northerly point, the Tropic of Cancer, at the summer solstice.

The spring and autumn equinoxes mark the point when hours of night and day are nearly equal right across the globe.

Sun worship was one of the main forms of religious practice among our ancestors, and there are stlll plenty of people who at least acknowledge the “other world” significance of the sun and moon.

Ancient sites such as Glastonbury and Stonehenge in the UK are thronged with sun worshippers, as well as those looking to feel the vibe of these ancient sites at significant times of the sun’s cycle.

Preparing for Persian New Year in Afghanistan. The event is traditionally celebrated on the spring equinox [Muhammad Sadiq/EPA]

Horsemen near Bishtek, Kyrgyzstan celebrate the arrival of spring with a game of Kok-buru or ‘goat dragging’ [Igor Kovalenko/EPA]

Celebrating the spring equinox with a balloon festival over San Juan de Teotihuacun, Mexico [Bernardo Montoya/AFP]

The 5,000-year-old stones of Stonehenge in the southern UK are a gathering point for equinox celebrations [Faccundo Arrizabalaga/EPA]

Stocking up for the New Year in Tehran, Iran [Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA]

The spring equinox marks the start of the ploughing season in Shandong, China [Wu Hong/EPA]

Originally published at