Hot air balloons float past people watching the sunrise at the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico, during a festival for the first day of spring in March 2010.
The vernal equinox of 2012 falls on Tuesday, March 20. The spring equinox is the first day of the solar new year and one of two days each year when the center of the sun passes over the Equator. (Get more spring equinox facts.)
Photograph by Henry Romero, Reuters
Kurdish Spring Festival
Men celebrate the Nauruz spring festival in the Kurdish town of Akra in Iraq's Mosul region on March 20, 2010. Also known as the Persian New Year, Nauruz coincides with the spring equinox.
Photograph by Safin Hamed, AFP/Getty Images
Driving Out the Devils
Residents of Bali, Indonesia, celebrate Nyepi, a yearly feast that marks the spring equinox, in an undated picture.
During the purification ritual, each community drives out its "devils" with magical curses and rioting, which is followed by a day of absolute stillness.
Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic
Horse riders participate in the sport of kok-boru, or goat-dragging, during the Nauruz festival in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on last year's spring equinox. During kok-boru, players try to grab a goat carcass and place it in their opponent's goal.
Photograph by Igor Kovalenko
A traditional dancer performs in front of a pyramid during spring equinox rituals in Teotihuacan, Mexico, on March 21, 2003.
Each year thousands flock to the ancient pyramids to welcome the first day of spring and absorb what many people believe to be the special energy of the site, according to the Getty wire service.
Photograph by Susana Gonzalez, Getty Images
Afghan New Year
Wooden horses hang from a swing during the Nauruz, or Persian New Year, celebrations on March 22, 2010, in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. The festival coincides with the spring equinox.
Photograph by Majid Saeedi, Getty Images
A man prays for his ancestors during the festival of Qing Ming at a monastery in Singapore on April 5, 2010.
Also known as Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day, Qing Ming is a traditional Chinese festival that begins on the 104th day after the winter solstice, or the 15th day after the spring equinox.
Photograph by Stephen Morrison, European Pressphoto Agency
Swaddled in white, artists perform during a Nauruz celebration in Almaty, Kazahkstan, on March 22, 2007. An ancient holiday marking the spring equinox, Nauruz is widely celebrated across Central Asia and in several other regions.
Photograph by Shamil Zhumatov, Reuters
A nomad woman in Baikonur, Kazahkstan, sets a lively table in her tent for Nauruz, the Persian New Year, which is celebrated on the spring equinox and traditionally features visits with family and friends.
Photograph by Yuri Kochetkov
The devastating tsunami of March 2011 added poignancy to the observance of Vernal Equinox Day in Minami Sanriku, a town in northern Japan affected by the disaster, seen above shortly afterward. On the first day of spring, many Buddhist people in Japan visit the graves of their ancestors to clean the stones, offer flowers, and burn incense.
Photograph by Kimimasa Mayama
A Kurdish girl in traditional dress pops up from the sunroof of a car in northern Iraq on the eve of Nauruz, the Persian New Year, in 2004. The ancient Zoroastrian holiday happens during the spring equinox and is kicked off by cleaning house and buying flowers.
Photograph by Ahmed al-Rubaye, AFP/Getty Images
Circle of Life
Clad all in white, members of the Druid Order hold hands on the spring equinox in Tower Hill, London, in 2009.