THE SEASON AHEAD
“Young leaves clothe early hedgerow trees; Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits, Swollen with sap put forth their shoots; Curled-headed ferns sprout in the lane; Birds sing and pair again.”
In the early Roman calendar, March was the first month of the calendar year, bringing with it the first day of spring and a sense of agency – named after the Roman god, Mars, March is filled with action, starting with the festivities of Mardi Gras, the final feasting day before the beginning of Lent, on 1 March; followed by events like International Women’s Day on 8 March; and framed by one of the biggest celebrations in nature, the Spring Equinox.
The word itself comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night). Indeed, on Sunday 20 March, as the sun crosses the celestial equator, day and night become nearly equal in length. The Northern Hemisphere then begins to tilt towards the sun, resulting in longer days and warmer temperatures, bird song and bursts of flowers. The clocks spring forward in countries like the UK and United States around 27 March. Animals emerge from hibernation, shed their winter coats. These themes of awakening and rebirth are marked in myriad ways – from Holi, the Hindu festival of colour and harvest on 18 March; to Easter, the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus, on 17 April.
In keeping with Spring’s fresh mood, we’ll be filling our home with friends and flowers, like narcissus to symbolise new beginnings. For dinner, we’ll serve spring recipes – including fava beans and salted fish (foods believed to have been offered to the gods in ancient times), and candied fruits adorned with sugar flowers for dessert – inspired by chef and artist Laila Gohar’s modern take on a traditional Sham el-Nessim dinner, the Egyptian celebration of spring, which is marked around 25 April and which name comes from the Arabic words for garden meadows.
Nothing sings of Spring more than the fragrance of flora. This season we’ll be burning our Meadow Rising and Field Of Dreams candles from our newly launched collection. Inspired by the energy of nature and call of the wild, and infused with scents of the wood and meadow, each one is hand poured in Greece in ceramic re-usable jars.
It has become tradition to gift the spring flower mimosa for International Women’s Day which falls on March 8th. Both our Meadow Reverie and Two Roads flower designs feature this bright and energising bloom. Order online now to celebrate the strong women in your life.
This season, chocolate Easter-egg hunts will take place in meadows across the UK. While this custom is believed to have begun in the 19th century, eggs have long been associated with spring rituals dating back to Ancient Roman and Chinese mythology. The Anglo-Saxons also worshipped Eostre (or Ostara), the moon goddess of spring and fertility, who is often portrayed as standing among spring flowers and holding an egg in her hand.
Jakob Grimm called Eostre ‘the goddess of the growing light of spring’. The season’s brighter days certainly signal the green light for growers: so much can be planted now, from yellow mustard flower seeds, to brassicas like kale and root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips. According to grower, forager and cook Poppy Okotcha, any space will do – even a windowsill. ‘We all deserve to belong to the Land,’ she explains. ‘To have our feet on soil that will care for us and we will care for in return.’
This is also the motivation behind the Wellcome Collection’s exhibition, ‘Rooted Beings’. Through new artist commissions from Patricia Domínguez and Eduardo Navarro among others, it explores the role of plants in nurturing our ecosystems and our imagination, encouraging us to embrace wildness in our lives, landscapes and hearts (open until 29 August 2022).
When the soil warms in spring, earthworms appear, as if inviting the birds that prey on them to return – this is thought to be why the full moon on 18 March is called the Worm Moon. It calls on us to embrace and honour the cycles, the seasons, and signals a time of pure potential and enthusiasm.
The skies offer another rare opportunity this month: catch the planet Mercury above the western horizon not long after sunset on 10 April, where it will be visible until the end of the month. It’s elusive, so be quick. As the saying goes: the early bird catches the worm.