Flowers. Baby animals. The presence of greenery as far as the eye can see. The sun bathing you in its rays. Renewal. New life.
As winter is drawing to an end and March 21 is rapidly approaching, people are eagerly anticipating the arrival of spring.
The very prospect of rebirth, however, is merely one of the many things exciting Concordia students about the time of year.
“It’s my favorite season probably for the same reason I like Friday best,” says Matthew Paradis, a 21-year-old psychology student.
“It’s the anticipation of the summer coming, just like the anticipation of a weekend coming. I think that’s what makes spring so special. The smells of spring remind me that school is almost over, just like the smells of Friday remind me that the week is almost over,” he adds.
Naomy Nostrome agrees. “It’s like everything is new; the sun is out more. When you see the sun coming out, you’re awake all of a sudden,” says the 21-year-old business student.
Having motivation to be active is just one of the many psychological affects of spring, points out Louise Carline, a nurse at Concordia’s Health Services. Due to more sunlight and longer days, people generally appear to be in more joyful spirits.
“In the spring, you want to exercise. People are happier and lighter,” Carline says. “I think people feel less tired [and] are able to concentrate more. It’s so dreary in winter. I really think that the weather has an affect on people.”
Vivian Szabo, a 21-year-old education student, can personally testify to this feeling of excitement and need to be active.
“I can’t wait to get outdoors away from this stuffy, closed environment [and] out into the open space where you’re liberated,” she says. “Everything’s changing. If you’re going to be hiking, you’ll see the snow melting and the grass beginning to grow, and you expect tulips. Just the thought of tulips makes me energized.
“I’m the kind of person that can’t be in one place, and I have to move. I get restless and this is a way for me to get rid of all this stuffed up energy.”
What is often forgotten, however, is that the solar festival known as Ostara or the celebration of the Vernal (spring) equinox also falls on March 21.
One of the eight major holidays of the pagan year, Ostara marks the transition from the dark to the light half of the year when day and night are equal in length, with the light eventually outlasting the darkness. It is the time for planting crops and celebrating the first signs of fertility and rebirth.
Ostara is the name of the German goddess associated with fertility and spring with her Anglo-Saxon equivalent being Eostre.
The goddess is also called Lady Day, which signified the time when she returned from sleeping underground to meet and marry the young sun god. Ostara is said to have given birth to the new sun nine months later.
Eostre is a lunar goddess with her fertility symbols including the egg and rabbit. The egg is representative of the Cosmic Egg of Creation and is central to the pagan celebration of spring in Northern Europe, particularly in Germanic and Slavic countries.
The dyeing or painting of eggs is an Ostara ritual which Christians adopted in their celebration of Easter.
The rabbit symbolizes the moon because of a past belief in which one could see a hare’s image in the full moon.
Spring is also symbolic for allergy season. From late February through October, those with allergies have ample time to suffer.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, ways to alleviate related symptoms are to keep your windows closed at night in order to prevent pollens from drifting into your home and instead use air-conditioning to clean and cool the air.
Other methods in which to deal with an allergy is by minimizing activities and staying indoors during peak pollen hours which are usually between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Taking a shower after spending time outside is also recommended.
Still, allergies cannot dampen the spirits of someone who anticipates the possibility of romance. Nostrome believes there is a possible correlation between spring and love. “They’ve always said that spring’s the season of love,” she says.
Romance or no romance, spring is an exciting new season of change and possibility.
“Winter is so dark and when spring comes, you can expect the new birds to be born and the new trees. You can expect new life; a new beginning,” says Szabo.