Spring – Symbols and Symbolism

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Who doesn’t love spring? This is the time nature reclaims its vibrant colors and fragrant scents. It’s time to drop the coats, open all doors, and go meet the sun.

Spring, one of the seasons of the year, comes after winter and before summer. The season comes around from late March to late June in the Northern hemisphere, and between late September to late December in the Southern hemisphere.

During this time of year, the hours of the night and day are equal but as the season progresses, daytime increases while nighttime decreases. The beauty of spring is that the winter cold has dissipated while the summer heat is not yet scorching. It’s generally a very pleasant time of the year. Spring is a highly symbolic time of the year, with many symbols representing the season.

Symbolism of Spring

Spring is the time of new beginnings, characterized by blooming flowers, the awakening of animals from hibernation to nest and reproduce, the migration of birds towards warmer climates, and is the planting season. Because of these reasons, the season of spring overflows with symbolism. Symbolic themes stemming from spring include:

  • Rebirth – Spring is when plants sprout, flowers bloom, birds lay eggs and animals give birth. Basically, spring is the time that nature is reborn. As such, it’s the perfect symbol of rebirth.
  • Renewal – This symbolic meaning is derived from the nature of spring whereby crops that had been rendered dormant by winter sprout afresh, flowers bloom, and nature comes to life. Spring is seen as nature’s way of coaxing us to renew ourselves and initiate new projects and fresh ideas.
  • Love – Winter, the season preceding spring, is a very cold and snowy time that limits interactions. When spring comes, people can get out and interact freely. There is no snow blocking roads or doorways. Festivities come alive during spring, hence the love symbolism. During late winter to spring, animals feel the shift in weather and procreate, another reason for the love symbolism.
  • Youth – The symbolism of youth is derived from the vibrant nature of spring. Everything is fresh and strong. There are also a lot of festivities around this time, which represent youth and freshness.
  • Growth – The growth symbolism of spring is closely related to the rebirth symbolism. Spring is the time to plant crops, plantation sprouts and new animals are born and begin to grow.
  • Spiritual rejuvenation – Because spring brings with it warmth and light, many religions have ceremonies around this time that encourage the adoption of a fresh motivated outlook on faith. “Spiritual springtime” is a term that has been adopted widely. Two examples of such religions are Christianity with the Easter holiday and the Baha’i who term spring as the time for rejuvenation and intense rapture.
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Symbols Representing Spring

Springtime is represented by several symbols and signs all centered around energy, renewal, love, and warmth. The Germanic symbol below, for example, is associated with spring and invokes three other signs associated with spring.

Spring symbol
  • Sprouts – The curlicues emerging above the circle are a representation of new sprouts coming out from the ground or trees, or new buds emerging from flowers.
  • Bunnies – The curlicues also look like bunny ears. Bunnies in themselves are a representation of spring in some cultures and religions.
  • Aries – The symbol generally resembles the horoscopic sign, Aries which is also an indicator of a new astrological year. Aries season is also known as the season for new blooms, positivity, and good vibes.

Other common signs of spring include fresh flowers, eggs, rainbows, pastel colors, baby animals, and in specific animals such as geese, bunnies, groundhogs, robins, and earth warms.

  • Fresh flowers – This is an obvious representation because it’s during springtime that flowers bloom. Usually, a picture of plantation beaming with colorful flowers is a clear indication of springtime.
  • Eggs – Eggs are an indication of new birth hence the symbolism for spring. This symbolism is also derived from the fact that most birds begin to lay eggs in early spring. The use of eggs to symbolize spring is also derived from the ancient Teutonic traditions, whereby Eostre, the goddess of spring and fertility, was celebrated by hiding eggs in her honor during the full moon.
  • Rainbows –This symbolism is derived from the appearance of rainbows in the rain which in turn tends to fall mostly in spring as nature’s way of hydrating new sprouts.
  • Pastel Colors – This symbolism is also derived from the blooming flowers which flourish in plenty during spring. Pastel colors are soft muted hues of bright colors. Some examples of pastel colors are peach, baby blue, lavender, pink, mauve, and periwinkle.
  • Baby Animals – It goes without saying that baby animals will signify spring since a lot of animals reproduce during springtime. They’re also associated with youth, freshness, and new beginnings, all aspects of spring.
  • Geese – Springtime is characterized by the abundance of geese in ponds, lakes, and rivers.     
  • Bunnies – The spring symbolism of bunnies is twofold yet similar. Firstly, bunnies are known to have big families, making them a good reference for springtime birth. Secondly, in ancient Celtic traditions, bunnies were associated with rebirth and springtime.
  • Earthworms – These small, wiggly animals that are found in the soils lack teeth, eyes, and lungs but have ten hearts which they use to give love to soil, and in association, contribute largely to plant growth. Earthworms aerate the soil, a process extremely vital for the growth and flourishing of plants hence its symbolic meaning for spring.
  • Groundhogs – This symbolism is derived from the habits of the groundhog that hibernates for six months starting in October and emerging in March. A fable that originated from Punxsatawney indicates the ability of the groundhog to determine the time spring starts.
  • Robins – The use of robins to symbolize spring is derived from the vibrant presence of these birds that are bright red in color and walk around with a bobbing movement. Robins in themselves are seen as symbols of hope, renewal, and growth.
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Stories and Myths About Spring

In Greek mythology, spring is said to have been created by Demeter, the goddess of fertility, as gratitude for being reunited with her daughter Persephone. Persephone had been abducted by Hades, the god of the underworld, an act that caused Demeter great strife to the point of threatening the earth with famine. When she was finally reunited with Persephone, she was so exuberant that she blessed the land with produce and taught humans the secret behind planting.

The Hopi people of Northern Arizona believe that spring was born of a love triangle between supernatural personifications. In a nutshell, the blue corn maiden, who generously brought corn to the people, was abducted by the winter Katsina, and kept prisoner, thus depriving the people of corn. The maiden one day dug herself out and built a fire that melted the snow and enabled the summer Katsina to come to her aid. This infuriated the winter Katsina but on talking it over with the summer Katsina, it was agreed that the blue corn maiden would stay with the winter Katsina for one half of the year, depriving people of corn, and with the summer Katsina for the other half filling the land with corn. Springtime is the period when the winter Katsina is grudgingly fighting over control of the blue maiden at the end of the agreed time period.

The Egyptians believed that spring was brought forth by the resurrection of the god Osiris. Osiris had been killed by Seth, his rival, who sliced his body into small pieces and scattered them all over Egypt. The goddess Isis, however, collected the pieces, an act that caused the resurrection of Osiris who in turn brought to life vegetation.

The Japanese Buddhists celebrate both the spring and fall equinox by returning to their ancestral homes to pay respect to their ancestors. This festival is known as Higan, a name that means, “From the other shore of the Sanzu River”. The Buddhist believe that crossing the Sanzu, which is a mystical river, means crossing into the afterlife.

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Wrapping Up

There are many myths and stories that seek to explain the changing seasons of the year. Whether you subscribe to one of these cultural stories or prefer to go the scientific way, one thing is clear, spring is the time for renewal and rebirth. This is the time to appreciate nature and initiate new beginnings.