Spring Equinox – A Time for Change, Growth and Renewal

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Treaty 2 Territory -The equinoxes mark the changing of Earth’s orientation and are significant to our yearly calendar – along with the moons, days, and solstices. The equinoxes occur when the earth reaches a position where the sun crosses the equator. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the March equinox means marks warmer weather and longer days – and the first official day of Spring (March 20th this year). In the Southern Hemisphere, March equinox marks the beginning of fall.

The equinoxes are recognized by many First Nations peoples for the purposes of cultural activities, feasts, gatherings, and ceremony. Equinoxes traditionally helped mark migration periods when tribes moved north or south, where herds of animals for hunting might be, and what plants might be dormant. Knowing what the seasons represented and how they impacted lands at any given time was essential to the survival of nomadic tribes. 

The start of the Anishinaabe New Year takes place with the March full moon on March 18th. It is known as Ziizibaakwad Giizas, Sugar Moon. As the maple sap begins to run, we learn of one of the medicines given to the Anishinaabe which balances our blood and heals us. During this time, we are encouraged to balance our lives as we would our blood sugar levels. This moon also teaches us that this is the time of year when the sap is running for maple sugar harvest. The maple tree gives our people many gifts.  Syrup, taffy, and maple sugar are traditionally tapped during Sugar Moon, and this is when the strength of family and relationships is emphasized. We also embrace the power of medicine and the cleansing of the physical body.

Our Nations understand that this is the time to gather, to meet with one another and to make decisions that affect the members of their community/nation. For our ancestors, these gatherings decided who got to go where, how adversarial tribes were to be handled, and what new resources were available.

Spring represents a time of rebirth, where warmth returns, flowers bloom and animals come out of hibernation to greet a new year. It is a time to honour our gifts, to start making rattles and medicine bags for upcoming ceremonies. Even today, we are reminded that spring marks renewal and we look forward to the good tidings ahead.

Submitted by Renée McGurry, Earth Lodge Development Helper