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Why Do We Call it Spring?

Why Do We call it Spring?

Why do we call it Spring
Why do we call it Spring?


Spring is here (according to our calendar, which uses the vernal equinox – the time that the day and night are about, but not exactly, the same length)!

Other cultures aligned spring around the equinox so that the traditional Chinese calendar considered spring as the time between the beginning of February and the beginning of May, with the equinox roughly in the middle. The Celts thought of spring during the same period based on the strength of the noon sun. Still others define their seasons more closely with the physical changes brought by the seasons, so that subtropical and tropical areas describe their seasons as dry or wet or monsoonal or cyclonical.

Before the 1300’s, this time of year was referred to in England as “Lent” (and the spring term at the University of Cambridge is still referred to as the Lent Term). It was in the 1300’s that people started calling this time of year “springing time” (for the flowers that sprang forth). A century later, the phrase was common enough that it had been shortened to “spring-time” and then in another 100 years, just “spring.”

The college “spring break” tradition traces its roots to 1936 when the swim coach at Colgate brought his team to train in Ft. Lauderdale; two years later, a city-hosted swim meet (brilliant marketing!) drew over 300 swimmers and a tradition spread to non-swimming college students, too.

The college “spring break” tradition traces its roots to 1936 when the swim coach at Colgate brought his team to train in Ft. Lauderdale; two years later, a city-hosted swim meet (brilliant marketing!) drew over 300 swimmers and a tradition spread to non-swimming college students, too.

The term “spring fever” referring to romance is thought to date to 1843; earlier it had been the name of a type of disease or head-cold common in certain locales. That year also saw the first use of “spring cleaning,” which itself may have come from the ancient Persian name for the first month (then March-April), Adukanaisa, which linguists think means “irrigation-canal-cleaning month.”

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