The Spring festival after the end of winter solstice celebrations is a celebration in all the calendars in the world and seems to be one of the oldest celebrations of humanity. In every age, culture and population these celebrations are linked to different legends that explains the meaning within the world of their religious meanings of revelers.
Although the people who celebrate it is very different and often distant in time and space, the festivities always have characteristics, symbols and meanings in common to which are then added, symbols and special rites of the place, the age or religion. Spring festival means all the celebrations associated with spring equinox, the season of awakening of nature and harvest.
Throughout the year there were two equinoxes, one in which the daylight hours decrease gradually until the winter solstice, and one in which the daylight hours increase until the summer solstice. The two equinoxes, together with the two solstices mark the rhythms of nature by dividing the calendar year into four equal parts with the four seasons.
Worldwide, the spring equinox is related to myths of love and rebirth that capture the imagination and the hearts of people as a subtle magic. Spring was a crucial period for early Neolithic societies because it indicated the time of planting. Spring is in fact the mating season because it's conducive to fertility. In some ancient traditions were celebrated mating rituals.
Beltane is an ancient celebration of fertility of spring along with Imbolc and Ostara in regions with Celtic culture that coincided with the most favorable time for sexuality and human fertility, which is now christianized into more genteel Valentine's Day. These are very old traditions whose origin is lost in ancient times. The maypole basically represents a phallic symbol. It was decorated with flowers and garlands. Cutting a large tree, transporting it to the village and erecting it in the center was an important event in the popular life of the Middle Ages.
Care was taken in the choice of the tree and often the towns competed with each other to have the best and largest bark decorated with garlands and colored ribbons. One of their customs was to get up before the sun appeared, after a vigil in the sacred forests, where they had participated in the sexual rites of Beltane, went to some nearby hill to observe the sunrise and to bathe in its vivifying rays.
The ritual was for young men and women to dance around the May tree, getting carried away by the seasonal festival. In the most widespread of these versions the dancers formed a circle around a mast. On certain occasions, each participant dances around the mast having one of the colored ribbons. The ribbons intersect according to the passages of the dancers forming a kind of spider web or interweaving a colored shell of the mast. Then the steps and the rounds are reversed exactly to undo this envelope.
The dew that was collected in the mornings of Beltane was also stored, in order to use it in later rituals. It was a time of celebration, joy, marriages and sexual magic with what it was trying to perpetuate the season. In the middle of a ritual of music and dance, the copulation of the girls with the boys took place. As a feast of fertility and sexual liberation, it was also dedicated to union between couples or marriage.
The newly united couple consummated this union somewhere in the forest, with the approval of the whole tribe, who on several occasions joined their respective partners in the celebration. In some Celtic tribes a few days of sexual freedom were available at this time, in which new couples were formed to test, which lasted until the next Beltane, when the vows were renewed or they ended up separating.
The Celts met in these mass events, which served to foster alliances between tribes and strengthen ties between clans and families. During these celebrations scuffles and arms were prohibited. To this was added the magical component with its ritual liturgies that made Beltane a communion that went beyond the simple party.
A long tradition links India to the festival of Holi celebrating the return of spring, harvest and fertility of the land. The rites of the festival of Holi, provide that the inhibitions are cast aside. Following the ancient tradition, men and women find themselves in unison splashing each other with colored water and powders. Women tears their partner's dresses as a sign of veneration of physical force and submission to his will.
The predominant color is red, because the celebration is a clear evocation of fertility, closely linked to the popular traditions that mark the end of winter and early spring, hoping in fact, in this seasonal transition, a period of prosperity and fertility.
During the Shivaratri festival, boys and girls usually resort to the use of natural stimulants such as mixtures of dried cannabis flowers mostly dissolved in a drink. During the carnival of Holi, as on Shivaratri, many recur as exciting to a mixture of dried cannabis flowers in bhang, mostly consumed dissolved in a beverage.
Newroz or Nawroz is the name given to the celebration of the traditional Iranian New Year. For the Newroz festival people make trips outside the city, to celebrate the arrival of spring, and dances with folk songs. Overnight fires are lit, and parties continued until late hour. Scandinavians called the feast sigrblót.
The dísablót was a blot held in honor of the spirits or goddesses called Disir including Norn and the Valkyries, from prehistoric times until the Christianization of Scandinavia. The purpose was to improve crop yields. History suggests that the ritual was operated by women.
Bacchanalia was an orgiastic feast became at a later time (or perhaps returning to the origins) propitiation of the gods during the sowing and harvesting of crops. More populations often involved bacchanal of a territory who gathered for several days in a symbolic place, where even animal sacrifices were practiced, definitely, sexual practices that took place there were also aimed at the propitiation.
Shemu, which means renewal of life is celebrated in Egypt and marks the beginning of spring. In pharaonic times it was a recurrence linked to agriculture. The name seems to derive from the word indicating the ancient Egyptian harvest season. The starting date of the festival was never fixed, but it was announced every year, on the evening before the start, at the foot of the Great Pyramid. According to the annals of Plutarch, during this festival the entire Pantheon was honored and the ancient Egyptians used to offer salted fish, lettuce and onions to their deities.
Even today, the holiday is celebrated according to the ancient symbolism. Egyptian cities are filled with people, blankets and colors. Egyptians go to picnic in the open air to breathe the spring breeze. Tradition has it, in fact, that the breeze will reinvigorate those who breathe. The foods eaten on this day to follow symbols and principles quoted by Plutarch, in detail are Feseekh, salted fish, whose artisanal preparation is passed down from generation to generation, boiled and colored eggs, termis (lupine seeds), green onions and lettuce. Each food is backed by a different myth.
The seafood offerings to the gods were designed to ensure a good harvest. The salted fish symbolized fertility and well-being. The fish were abundant when the waters receded from the Nile flood, leaving them trapped in natural pools, and were easily caught. The eggs are the universal symbol of rebirth and the Cosmos. In fact, the custom of hanging eggs painted in temples dates back, in Egypt, in the magnificent era of the pyramids. Richly painted eggs are hung in temples as a symbol of the regeneration of Life and the Universe. In ancient times eggs symbolized the mythical bird Phoenix, which was put down and at the same time the cosmic egg.
The green onions are, surprisingly, the most complex of the symbols. There were found mummies with padded eyes of onions and often, on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs, frescoes made of onions.Today the Coptic population sees them as an amulet against the evil eye and envy, perhaps due to an ancient legend recorded on an ancient papyrus regarding Old Memphis. Finally, the lettuce is the feeling of hope with the beginning of spring.
The Babylonian feast was celebrated by the Greeks and Romans. The latter called it bacchanalia and celebrated it with the beginning of spring. They were parties in which people drank without measure and gave free rein to carnal pleasures.
Ostara was celebrated at the time of the spring equinox, which represents the beginning of the spring. But from now on the day will always be longer than the night. The light has triumphed, and it is the time to celebrate the return of the sun, the return of life and the sprouting of the first flowers. The rebirth of nature is celebrated from the death-sleep of winter, the awakening of life-giving powers, and the new power and fertility which the nature of the world now presents.
The ice and the snow are melted, the animals awaken from their winter sleep. Newborn animals come out to explore the world. The wind is no wind, and the foliage is too softly drained. After the long, restful sleep of winter, the earth awakens to new life and dresses in fresh green. Now spring is clearly visible. Flowers are everywhere, and also in man himself physical and sexual forces and energies are awakened.
In the Middle Ages Pentecost was a joyful feast still tied to the pagan festivals of Spring, full of ancient mythical meanings of the cult of the trees and celebrations of May. In many places, the most beautiful maiden European country was dressed in leaves of birch and maple and carry it around the village or a birch dressed as a woman was brought from house to house. In England a sweep around the village closed in a basket of Pentecost, covered with ivy, holly, and wreaths. in Hungary is elected the Queen of Pentecost.