It’s Doctor Scientific back with more fun facts about our seasons! Today, we look at: SPRING
- Spring is the first season of the year
- During spring, our hemisphere begins to warm significantly causing new plant growth to “spring forth”, hence the name!
- Sporadic weather changes can happen more frequently in spring because of the warm air coming from the lower altitudes the same time that cold air is still coming from the polar regions. Flooding is also most common near the mountains because of the snow melting at a quicker rate caused by warm rains.
- Tornado Alley is most active this time of year. The rocky mountains stop hot and cold air spreading and instead they conflict causing tornado weather.
- Recently, timing of seasons has started to change, a phenomenon called “season creep” which means that a lot of the signs of spring we usually observe are starting to happen earlier, like flowers budding on trees in late winter.
- This is a time of growth and renewal and is used to signify the start to new life and better times.
Many cultures celebrate spring in a special way. Take a look at a few of the celebrations below and plan a spring celebration with your family and friends! Have a mini celebration when it’s cold and hard to remember the warmth of spring.
~ Water festival - This is a New Year’s celebration in Southeast Asia. Westerners call this festival the “Water Festival” because water is either splashed or poured at one another and all old things are thrown away. This is meant to symbolize a cleansing to welcome the new year. It is also a sign of blessing and good wishes.
*Take a family trip to the recreation center and have a water fight in the swimming pool. Afterwards go home and find a way to declutter your space – donate old items that you don’t use that someone else could. Write a blessing and good wish card to a neighbor. Even though it’s not the new year for a while, you can still celebrate new changes and beginnings!
~Qingming festival - This is also known as Tomb Sweeping Day or Ching Ming, Chinese Memorial Day and Ancestors’ Day. It is a traditional Chinese festival observed on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar, making it the 15th day after the Spring Equinox (the 4th or 5th of April). The name mean “Pure Brightness Festival” and it is a time for people to go outside and enjoy spring, but also as a time to honor and tend to family graves. Some people like to eat qing tuan, or green dumplings made with glutinous rice and barley grass.
*Look up a recipe for Qing tuan and learn to make it with your family. Then, while eating the dumplings, take a special moment to talk about your loved ones that have passed. What are your favorite memories? Look at family pictures together and spend an evening eating a special dinner with just your family member. Cherish each person and tell them a special thing you like about them.*
~Homowo festival – This is a festival celebrated by the people of Ghana. It starts in May with the planting of crops before the rainy season, and a thirty-day ban on drumming is put into effect. During the festival they perform a special dance called Kplanlogo, and this festival is celebrated to remember the famine that once happened during precolonial Ghana. The word homowo means to “hoot at hunger” because the famine inspired the Ga people to embark on better food production exercises, which in the end produces a bumper harvest.
*Plan a big breakfast with family. Take your time setting the table and the dishes and putting everything out so it looks nice. This will give you time to feel hunger and to experience a small portion of what it means to go without food. Before eating, take a moment to go around the table and have each person thank each other for the preparation and to say which part of the breakfast they are looking most forward to. As you eat, consider what it might be like to go a meal without food at all, or even a day or week. Imagine a famine where you only had a few bites of food a day to live off of. This is a time to be grateful!
~ GAIA Chamber Music Festival – This festival was founded by the violinist Gwendolyn Masin and has been described as one of the most important festivals in Switzerland. It is hosted in Thun, usually in the month of May. Each year, artists from all over the world spend a week together in Thun and working on music together. Word-renowned performers and teachers coach young instrumentalists.
*Take a family trip to a concert in your area. Ask to talk to some of the musicians after the show. Ask them how long it took to learn the pieces and how often they have to practice. Ask them how long they have been playing the instrument of their choice. Sometimes, musicians will let you try to play their instrument. If not, ask a local music teacher to give you a family lesson.
~ Iga Ueno Ninja Festa - This festival is a five-week ninja-themed even in Iga which is in Japan. It goes from the 1st of April to the 6th of May and thousands of ninja fans travel to Iga for the ninja-inspired performances, competitions and chances to practice their ninja skills. During the festival passengers on the Iga train lines dress up as ninja and are given free rides. The mayor of Iga and the city council even dress up for the Ninja Congress!
*Be a ninja for a day! Have your family sit in various places in the house blindfolded. Then, practice your ninja-skills and try to walk as quietly as you can past them. Whoever can walk through each room unnoticed wins! Take turns playing reflex games, like Red Hands, (play nicely!) to see who has the fastest ninja-like skills. Set a coin in the center of the table, and set two opponents on either side. See who can grab the coin the fastest.