Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 20-21 2012: Happy Equinox! Happy Nowruz! Happy Mother's Day! HAPPY SPRING!

With a purple sea of freshly-blooming crocus, a lone bee hovers above his early spring choices in Walla Walla, Wash., March 7, 2012. Warmer than average temperatures brought both the beauty of flowers and the beast of bugs out in full force. (Jeff Horner/Walla Walla Union-Bulletin)

This year the March Equinox fell on March 20th at 5:17 (UTC), marking the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and of Fall in the Southern Hemisphere.

Bees converge on a blossom in an orchard along a highway near Selma, CA, March 1, 2012. With spring on the way, the orchards in Fresno County are in full bloom with pink and white blossoms in preparation for bearing fruit such as peaches, cherries and plums and even nuts like almonds. (Eric Paul Zamora/The Fresno Bee)

Iranian women shop for Lingwort (sonbol)flower one of the 7 items that required for Nowruz celebration(Iranian New Year) in Tehran, Iran on March 19, 2012. The seven items that required for Nowruz celebration are: Sabzeh (grass), Samanu (flour and sugar), Sekeh (coins), Senjed (dried fruit from a lotus tree), Seer (garlic), Somaq (Sumac berries), and Serkeh (vinegar). The seven items each symbolize a wish or theme. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian

In Persian, and Persian influenced cultures, the beginning of Spring also marks the New Year, Nowruz, which includes pre-Islamic traditions, yet continues in modern form today, including in Iran, and in Persian influenced countries, like Afghanistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and among Kurds, Shias, and in the diasporas of these groups. Where it is an official pubic holiday often the celebration lasts 4 days (March 20-23), and in Iran the festivities continue for 13 days.

A stylized Haft-Seen table, with the 7 special items (all beginning with the Persian letter "seen") that is a Nowruz tradition

In the Arab world, the Vernal Equinox is also the celebration of Mother's Day, fixed in many countries, including Saudi Arabia, on March 21. The association of (re-)birth with Spring, makes this day a natural one on which to specifically celebrate mothers and motherhood.

In distinction to the West's marking of Mother's Day (March to May), depending where in the globe, the Arabs have carved out their own special day to celebrate mothers. March 21st follows the first day of Spring, the time of re-birth. So Arab mothers, who gave birth to us, are honored along with Mother Nature's awakening from the throes of winter. From: "Arab Mother's Day Ushers in Spring"

As an official celebration in the Arab world, Mother's Day began in Egypt, on the initiative of twin brothers Mustafa and Ali Amin, pioneers of modern Arab journalism. It was celebrated for the first time on March 21, 1956, and became a new tradition despite religious and political opposition.

It is no coincidence that Arab Mother's Day falls on the Spring Equinox. Two Egyptian brothers chose the day to coincide with the first day of Spring, when the world is re-awakening & extolling mother nature. In spite of opposition from religious circles that cited paganism, and that everyday for good Muslims is mother's day, the tradition stuck. From: "Arab Mother's Day Ushers in Spring"

Interestingly, Saudi Arabia's Arab News chose to publish a significant article by  Saudi attorney and columnist, Dr. Khalid Alnowaiser, Saudi women urgently need equal rights, calling on Saudi men to "step up" to fight for women's rights and to support the King in his reform efforts (full article to follow in a separate post, for discussion).

Spring Festival Riyadh, 2012, opened March 20, 2012 (Photo: SPA)

Happy Equinox!
Happy Nowruz!
Happy Mothers' Day!
Happy Spring!

Related Posts:
The Vernal Equinox: Springtime in Saudi and the Equinoctial Day and Night that Join Us All
March Equinox 2011--A Supermoon Bonus!
Mother's Day in France and the Former French Colonies of MENA
Joyeuse fête des Mères 2011!
Mother's Day, May 2010--Some Cross-Cultural Family Observations

See Also:
Signs of Spring: 2012
Video: Nowruz celebrations in Kabul, Afghanistan
Photogallery: Persian New Year celebrations (also in Afghanistan)
Mother's Day: lovely greetings in Arabic and English on the website, My World and More.. , of Saudi blogger Wafa'

Your comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?

Crocuses are covered with raindrops, Feb. 28, 2012 in Dresden, eastern Germany. The first signs of spring bloom across the country. (Matthias Hiekel/AFP/Getty Images)


Dentographer said...

Happy spring Chez,i surely miss reading your blog.

Wendy said...

Welcome back, Chiara! A beautiful post for sure!

Susanne said...

How pretty! Hope you are doing well!

Chiara said...

Dentographer, Wendy, Susanne--thanks for your comments and well wishes. Sorry that my posting has been more sporadic than planned or desired. I hope to even out soon! :) Thanks again!


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