Spring (season)

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Temperate season
XN Fruehjahrswiese 00.jpg
Blooming flowers and trees in spring
Northern temperate zone
Astronomical season21 March – 21 June
Meteorological season1 March – 31 May
Solar (Celtic) season1 February – 30 April
Southern temperate zone
Astronomical season23 September – 22 December
Meteorological season1 September – 30 November
Solar (Celtic) season1 August – 31 October
Spring Seasons.svg Autumn

Spring, also known as springtime, is one of the four temperate seasons, succeeding winter and preceding summer. There are various technical definitions of spring, but local usage of the term varies according to local climate, cultures and customs. When it is spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it is autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. At the spring (or vernal) equinox, days and nights are approximately twelve hours long, with daytime length increasing and nighttime length decreasing as the season progresses until the Summer Solstice in June (Northern Hemisphere) and December (Southern Hemisphere).


Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and also to ideas of rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. Subtropical and tropical areas have climates better described in terms of other seasons, e.g. dry or wet, monsoonal or cyclonic. Cultures may have local names for seasons which have little equivalence to the terms originating in Europe.

Meteorological reckoning

Meteorologists generally define four seasons in many climatic areas: spring, summer, autumn (fall), and winter. These are determined by the values of their average temperatures on a monthly basis, with each season lasting three months. The three warmest months are by definition summer, the three coldest months are winter, and the intervening gaps are spring and autumn. Meteorological spring can therefore, start on different dates in different regions.

In the US and UK, spring months are March, April, and May. [1] [2]

In Australia [3] and New Zealand, [4] [5] spring begins on 22nd or 23rd of September and ends on 21 December.

In Ireland, following the Gaelic calendar, spring is often defined as February, March, and April. [6] [7]

In Sweden, meteorologists define the beginning of spring as the first occasion on which the average 24 hours temperature exceeds zero degrees Celsius for seven consecutive days, thus the date varies with latitude and elevation.

In Brazil, spring months are September, October, November.

Astronomical and solar reckoning

In the Northern Hemisphere (e.g. Germany, the United States, Canada, and the UK), [8] the astronomical vernal equinox (varying between 19 and 21 March) can be taken to mark the first day of spring with the summer solstice (around 21 June) marked as first day of summer. By solar reckoning, Spring is held to begin 1 February until the first day of Summer on May Day, with the summer solstice being marked as Midsummer instead of the beginning of Summer as with astronomical reckoning.

In Persian culture the first day of spring is the first day of the first month (called Farvardin) which begins on 20 or 21 March.

In the traditional Chinese calendar, the "spring" season ( ) consists of the days between Lichun (3–5 February), taking Chunfen (20–22 March) as its midpoint, then ending at Lixia (5–7 May). Similarly, according to the Celtic tradition, which is based solely on daylight and the strength of the noon sun, spring begins in early February (near Imbolc or Candlemas) and continues until early May (Beltane).

The spring season in India is culturally in the months of March and April, with an average temperature of approx 32 °C. [9] Some people in India especially from Karnataka state celebrate their new year in spring, Ugadi.

Ecological reckoning

The beginning of spring is not always determined by fixed calendar dates. The phenological or ecological definition of spring relates to biological indicators, such as the blossoming of a range of plant species, the activities of animals, and the special smell of soil that has reached the temperature for micro flora to flourish. These indicators, along with the beginning of spring, vary according to the local climate and according to the specific weather of a particular year.[ citation needed ] In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the National Trust runs the #BlossomWatch campaign, which encourages people to share images of blossom with one another, as an early indicator of the arrival of the season. [10]

Some ecologists divide the year into six seasons. In addition to spring, ecological reckoning identifies an earlier separate prevernal (early or pre-spring) season between the hibernal (winter) and vernal (spring) seasons. This is a time when only the hardiest flowers like the crocus are in bloom, sometimes while there is still some snowcover on the ground. [11]

Natural events

Hundreds of sour cherry blooming in Extremadura, Spain, during spring Camino entre el bosque de cerezos en flor.jpg
Hundreds of sour cherry blooming in Extremadura, Spain, during spring
Late April in the Alps. At high elevations (or latitudes), spring is often the snowiest period of the year. Chablais.jpg
Late April in the Alps. At high elevations (or latitudes), spring is often the snowiest period of the year.
A willow in Stockholm in April 2016 Spring in Stockholm 2016 (2).jpg
A willow in Stockholm in April 2016
Sowing at spring in Estonia Kevadkulv.jpg
Sowing at spring in Estonia

During early spring, the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt relative to the Sun, and the length of daylight rapidly increases for the relevant hemisphere. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly, causing new plant growth to "spring forth," giving the season its name. [14]

Any snow begins to melt, swelling streams with runoff and any frosts become less severe. In climates that have no snow, and rare frosts, air and ground temperatures increase more rapidly.

Many flowering plants bloom at this time of year, in a long succession, sometimes beginning when snow is still on the ground and continuing into early summer. [15] In normally snowless areas, "spring" may begin as early as February (Northern Hemisphere) or August (Southern Hemisphere), heralded by the blooming of deciduous magnolias, cherries, and quince. [16] Many temperate areas have a dry spring, and wet autumn (fall), which brings about flowering in this season, more consistent with the need for water, as well as warmth. Subarctic areas may not experience "spring" at all until May.

While spring is a result of the warmth caused by the changing orientation of the Earth's axis relative to the Sun, the weather in many parts of the world is affected by other, less predictable events. The rainfall in spring (or any season) follows trends more related to longer cycles—such as the solar cycle—or events created by ocean currents and ocean temperatures—for example, the El Niño effect and the Southern Oscillation Index.

Unstable spring weather may occur more often when warm air begins to invade from lower latitudes, while cold air is still pushing from the Polar regions. Flooding is also most common in and near mountainous areas during this time of year, because of snow-melt which is accelerated by warm rains. In North America, Tornado Alley is most active at this time of year, especially since the Rocky Mountains prevent the surging hot and cold air masses from spreading eastward, and instead force them into direct conflict. Besides tornadoes, supercell thunderstorms can also produce dangerously large hail and very high winds, for which a severe thunderstorm warning or tornado warning is usually issued. Even more so than in winter, the jet streams play an important role in unstable and severe Northern Hemisphere weather in springtime. [17]

In recent decades, season creep has been observed, which means that many phenological signs of spring are occurring earlier in many regions by around two days per decade.[ citation needed ]

Spring in the Southern Hemisphere is different in several significant ways to that of the Northern Hemisphere for several reasons, including:

  1. There is no land bridge between Southern Hemisphere countries and the Antarctic zone capable of bringing in cold air without the temperature-mitigating effects of extensive tracts of water;
  2. The vastly greater amount of ocean in the Southern Hemisphere at most latitudes;
  3. There is a circumpolar flow of air ( the roaring 40s and 50s ) uninterrupted by large land masses;
  4. No equivalent jet streams; and
  5. The peculiarities of the reversing ocean currents in the Pacific. [18]

Cultural associations

Holi in Nepal Holi at Basantapur-0272.jpg
Holi in Nepal


Carnival is practiced by many Christians around the world in the days before Lent (40 days, without Sundays, before Easter). It is the first spring festival of the new year for many. [19]


Easter procession, commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus Traditional Easter Sunday.jpg
Easter procession, commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus

Easter is the most important religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. [20] Christians believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the "third day" [note 1] (two days after his crucifixion), and celebrate this resurrection on Easter Day, two days after Good Friday. Since the Last Supper was a Passover Seder, the date of Easter can be calculated as the first Sunday after the start of Passover. This is usually (see Passover below) the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. The date of Easter varies between 22 March and 25 April (which corresponds to between 4 April and 8 May in the Gregorian Calendar for the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches using the Julian Calendar). In this celebration, the children do an easter egg hunt.

May Day

The First of May is the date of many public holidays. [21] In many countries, May Day is synonymous with International Workers' Day, or Labour Day, which celebrates the social and economic achievements of the labour movement. As a day of celebration, the holiday has ancient origins, and it can relate to many customs that have survived into modern times. Many of these customs are due to May Day being a cross-quarter day, meaning that (in the Northern Hemisphere where it is almost exclusively celebrated) it falls approximately halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. In the Celtic tradition, this date marked the end of spring and the beginning of summer.


The Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, which typically falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar on the night of a full moon after the northern spring equinox. [22] However, due to leap months falling after the vernal equinox, Passover sometimes starts on the second full moon after vernal equinox, as in 2016. Jews celebrate this holiday to commemorate their escape from slavery in Egypt as described in the book of Exodus in the Torah. Foods consumed during Passover seders, such as lamb and barley, are tied to springtime seasonal availability. In this celebration, children recite the Four Questions during the seder and hunt for the afikoman afterwards.


The Western Christian season encompassing the triduum of All Saints' Eve (Halloween), All Saints' Day (All Hallows') and All Souls' Day are observed in the spring in the Southern hemisphere.

See also


  1. This resurrection is commonly said to have occurred "on the third day after resting for the Sabbath (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown), including the day of crucifixion." (e.g. Luke 24:21 KJV)

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Autumn</span> One of Earths four temperate seasons

Autumn, also known as fall in American English and Canadian English, is one of the four temperate seasons on Earth. Outside the tropics, autumn marks the transition from summer to winter, in September or March. Autumn is the season when the duration of daylight becomes noticeably shorter and the temperature cools considerably. Day length decreases and night length increases as the season progresses until the Winter Solstice in December and June. One of its main features in temperate climates is the striking change in colour for the leaves of deciduous trees as they prepare to shed.

A solar equinox is a moment in time when the Sun crosses the Earth's equator, which is to say, appears directly above the equator, rather than north or south of the equator. On the day of the equinox, the Sun appears to rise "due east" and set "due west". This occurs twice each year, around 20 March and 23 September.

A solstice is an event that occurs when the Sun appears to reach its most northerly or southerly excursion relative to the celestial equator on the celestial sphere. Two solstices occur annually, around June 21 and December 21. In many countries, the seasons of the year are determined by the solstices and the equinoxes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Summer</span> Hottest of the four temperate seasons

Summer is the hottest of the four temperate seasons, occurring after spring and before autumn. At or centred on the summer solstice, daylight hours are longest and darkness hours are shortest, with day length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice. The earliest sunrises and latest sunsets also occur near the date of the solstice. The date of the beginning of summer varies according to climate, tradition, and culture. When it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Winter</span> Coldest of the four temperate seasons

Winter is the coldest season of the year in polar and temperate climates. It occurs after autumn and before spring. The tilt of Earth's axis causes seasons; winter occurs when a hemisphere is oriented away from the Sun. Different cultures define different dates as the start of winter, and some use a definition based on weather.

Seasonal lag is the phenomenon whereby the date of maximum average air temperature at a geographical location on a planet is delayed until some time after the date of maximum insolation. This also applies to the minimum temperature being delayed until some time after the date of minimum insolation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Birkat Hachama</span> Jewish blessing, thanking God for creating the sun. Recited once every 28 years.

Birkat Hachama refers to a rare Jewish blessing that is recited to the Creator, thanking God for creating the sun. The blessing is recited when the sun completes its cycle every 28 years on a Tuesday at sundown. Jewish tradition says that when the Sun completes this cycle, it has returned to its position when the world was created. Because the blessing needs to be said when the sun is visible, the blessing is postponed to the following day, on Wednesday morning.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Climate of Chicago</span> Hot-summer humid continental climate

The climate of Chicago is classified as hot-summer humid continental. All four seasons are distinctly represented: Winters are cold and often see snow with below 0 Celsius temperatures and windchills, while summers are warm and humid with temperatures being hotter inland, spring and fall bring bouts of both cool and warm weather and fairly sunny skies. Annual precipitation in Chicago is moderate and relatively evenly distributed, the driest months being January and February and the wettest July and August. Chicago's weather is influenced during all four seasons by the nearby presence of Lake Michigan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">September equinox</span> When sun appears directly over equator

The September equinox is the moment when the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading southward. Because of differences between the calendar year and the tropical year, the September equinox may occur anytime from September 21 to 24.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">March equinox</span> When sun appears directly over equator

The March equinox or northward equinox is the equinox on the Earth when the subsolar point appears to leave the Southern Hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from Earth. The March equinox is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and as the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Summer solstice</span> Astronomical phenomenon

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Lists of holidays by various categorizations.

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The June solstice is the solstice on Earth that occurs annually between 20 and 22 June according to the Gregorian calendar. In the Northern Hemisphere, the June solstice is the summer solstice, while in the Southern Hemisphere it is the winter solstice. It is also known as the northern solstice.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">December solstice</span> Annual solstice on 20–22 December

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">2010–11 North American winter</span>

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Spring equinox or vernal equinox or variations may refer to:


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