Yes today, March 20th 2017, from 10.28am GMT, begins the Spring Equinox, marking the first day of Spring in our Northern Hemisphere and in Co. Tipperary.
From today, hopefully we will begin to enjoy earlier sunrises, later sunsets, milder, softer winds and sprouting plant life, while South of the Equator the opposite will be the case; later sunrises, earlier sunset, chillier winds, and falling dead leaves.
To celebrate the arrival of Spring we should be looking ahead to putting our clocks forward on Sunday next March 26th at 1.00am, thus loosing one hour from the comfort of our beds.
Synonymous with our Irish Patron Saint, on St Patrick’s Day (March 17th), many Irish people annually and customarily wear the plant emblem of the Shamrock (Irish meaning – Shamrock, Seamóg or Seamair Óg, is young clover), on their person, thus evoking symbolism relating to our sense of religion, history, celebration and national pride.
According to folk lore, Saint Patrick is said to have used this same, small, three leaved plant to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity, (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), to pagan Irish during the 5th Century. However centuries earlier the Shamrock appears to have been the symbolic plant of this same Spring Equinox and used by other religious leaders, namely the Druids; latter members of the high-ranking professional classes in ancient Celtic culture.
The Druids used the three leaves, shaped like hearts, to associate with the Triple Goddess of Celtic mythology, otherwise known as the “Three Morrígan “, and individually known as ‘Badb’, ‘Macha’ and ‘Anand’. The Morrígan was primarily associated with foretelling fate, especially relating to doom and death. This early mythology suggests a link with the “Banshee”, (Irish meaning – ‘Woman of the fairy mound’ or ‘Fairy woman’), latter a female spirit with long silvery hair, who heralded the death of a family member; usually by shrieking or keening, but also known in parts of Ireland as also the Badh.
Those of you counting down the days until real warmer weather arrives; take note that Summer won’t officially begin until Wednesday, June 21st 2017, before ending on Friday, September 22nd next.