Grief, like the weather, can be ever changing and hard to predict. Spring brings the promise of warmer, longer, days with more hours of light and the blooming of spring flowers. It can be a welcome time following the long, dark winter months.
March and April are months of unpredictable weather as we transition from winter to spring. Some grievers say this is a reminder of life moving forward without their loved one. The absence of presence.
Spring can, however, be a time of renewed hope and meaning making. One lovely story recounts a mourner’s transformative experience. She uses the metaphor of winter transitioning to the spring equinox to express grieving. Read Here: First Day of Spring in the Winter of Grief
Similar to the other seasons, spring is ripe with both religious and secular holidays, and as with other times of year, the ongoing “absence of a presence” can continue to be deeply felt as holidays and other special days come and go.
These days can be daunting for those who are grieving, as special occasions that bear memories of togetherness and celebration can instead feel isolating and leave grievers with anticipatory concern about how to get through spring’s special days.
Grief experts remind us of the universality of loss. We will all experience difficult losses at some time in our life, and while grief can be isolating, it can also raise our level of compassion for others going though similar experiences. Grief and loss remind us of our common humanity, no matter our differences.
This series is an homage to diversity and the universal experiences of grief and loss, and an ongoing reminder that people across the world and across cultures are living with the absence of a presence during spring holidays.
Spring equinox – March 20
Ramadan Begins – March 22
Passover – April 5
Easter – April 9
Wesak, or Buddha day – May 5
Vaisakhi,- April 13, important holy day is celebrated worldwide by the Sikhs community
Ridván –April 21 and May 2, a 12-day religious festival observed by the Baha’is
From a multicultural perspective, here is some timely information that illustrates how those grieving important losses mark their holidays and honor their losses. The holidays and rituals may differ across locations, cultures, and belief systems, but grief resonates for us all.
Passover begins this year on April 5 and ends with the Passover Seder on April 15.
Easter arrives on April 9 following the Lenten fasting season.
This year, Eid al-Fitr, the festival of breaking the fast at the end of Ramadan is observed on or around April 21, depending on the citing of the new crescent moon.
Wesak, also known as Vesak, Visakha Puja, or Buddha Day, is considered the holiest of days on the Buddhist calendar. It is a celebration of the Buddha’s birthday, enlightenment, and death, and an acknowledgment of the life cycle.
At this time of new beginnings, the absence of presence lingers for those who grieve. During the months of March, April, and May the observances of Easter, Ramadan and Eid, Passover, Buddha Day, Ridván, and Vaisakhi touch the lives of millions around the world. They all have themes of self-sacrifice, charitable giving, reflection, and peace resonate across traditions, as well as reflections on the absence of a presence during holiday observance.
Whatever holidays and observances you mark this spring, may you find comfort in your memories, compassion in your heart, and connection to others who grieve across the globe.