Conference-March 21st: The Cosmic New Year and its Cultural Significance

The 21st of March is often known in the Northern Hemisphere as the first day of Spring, however the Vernal (Spring) Equinox also represents the Cosmic New Year. It is an astronomical phenomenon that is celebrated in many cultures and has even inspired music such as Stravinsky's Symphonic Piece , The Rite of Spring, which conveys pre-catholic traditional musical rituals in Russia. Many other Ancient Civilizations such as the the Mayas and Egyptians have celebrated the astronomical significance of this day and depicted its importance in their monumental structures such as the Chichen Itza Mayan Pyramid. Why was this date so important for so many cultures and why does it continue to have importance in our lives today?

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On March 19th, 2011 in Toronto, Canada, the Dr. David Juan Ferriz Olivares House of Culture had a conference at Accents on Eglinton Bookstore, celebrating the International, multi-cultural and millenary celebration of the Cosmic New Year. Every day the Sun rises in the East and sets on the West. However, when it rises, it does not rise in the exact same place. But on March 21st (sometimes a bit before or after, such as this year on March 20th), the sun rises in what is known as the vernal point (where the celestial equator meets the Sun's trajectory around the Earth) and we have what is known as the Cosmic New Year, the Vernal Equinox, the First day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere or Fall in the Southern Hemisphere. The Sun actually enters the constellation of Aries and begins its trajectory once more around all the zodiac signs. This day marks a new beginning, an impulse, and a new start. Ancient cultures all over the world have celebrated the Spring Equinox with its characteristics manifested in different ways as reflection of each culture. For example the Mayans (who had the most precise calendar of the ancient cultures, as said by Dr. Serge Raynaud de la Ferrière and Dr. David Juan Ferriz Olivares) precicisely marked the Spring Equinox in structures such as Chichen Itza, where we see the snake, Kulkulkan being formed in the "El Castillo" pyramid on the Spring Equninox.

As said by Maester Dr. Serge Raynaud de la Ferrière in regards to Spring and Mexican Mythology,

“All these constructions have a much more profound sense than being the places where a simple “worship” to the Sun was celebrated; it is precise to see in the ceremonies the symbolism of an “elementary” fire, like by the legendary figures with which it relates to. In this way, Macuilxochitl, that sun god of Mexican mythology, is above all the emblem of Spring…”
Psychological Talks, Vol.2, page 167

In contemporary society we see how the Spring Equinox coincides and has effected many interesting things such as: The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Earth Day,  and even music.

Stravinsky's piece, "The Rite of Spring" was then touched upon, with its interesting history of how the crowd was angered, furious and even screaming when they heard this piece in Russia in its ballet premier, but how in the end everyone was calm and actually enjoyed the piece. This is similar during times of change. We see times of great turbulence, but after the waters have died down, the right and most appropriate way prevails.

The speakers of the conference were Pamela Aspilcueta, Ivan Romo and Alice Romo. After the conference a circle was formed, where the speakers got a chance to dialogue with the participants of the conference. The same conference was done in Hamilton, Canada. Participants were left wanting to know more, and the Dr. David Juan Ferriz Olivares House of Culture will be offering more in this coming month of May 2011, with various activities planned out such as conferences and a cine-forum. 

For more information, you can contact the Dr. David Juan Ferriz Olivares House of Culture and the Canadian Delegation of the Magna Fraternitas Universalis at canada@magnanet.org.

Written by: Ivan Andres Romo, Secretary of Information Technology for the Magna Fraternitas Universalis in Canada.