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Blog: Stories and Insight

Navigating Grief – Spring Holidays

Grief During Spring Holidays 

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 

Spring Grieving  

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 Holidays/Observances

Spring equinoxMarch 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 

RidvánApril 21 and May 2, a 12-day religious festival observed by the Baha’is

Tools For Grieving During Spring Holidays  

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.  

  • Rabbi Stephanie Dixon offers thoughtful considerations for coping with an empty chair at the Seder table as well as some reflective journaling prompts in connection with “15 steps of the Seder.” 
  • In “Grief and Memory: A Prayer for Passover Yizkor,” Rabbi Jen Gubitz offers a bittersweet poem to honor the loss of a spouse or partner, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, or friend. Her remembrance is laced with Passover imagery. Read: Passover Poem 


Easter arrives on April 9 following the Lenten fasting season.  

  • “What’s your Grief” offers some timely suggestions and activities for grievers about planning and remembrance. Read now: Easter Grief 
  • “Grief in the Easter Season” by Marina Berzins McCoy is a touching tribute and reflection on the loss of her stepfather. Berzins McCoy says about her grief, it’s “been a lot like being on a raft in rushing waters, where there are many ups and downs, twists and turns.” Her faith and the symbolism of the Easter season provide a strong steadying support for her in turbulent times. Read: Grief in the Easter Season
  • Megan Devine, Author of Its Ok That You’re Not Ok: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that Doesn’t Understand, offers a thoughtful reflection on life, love, and loss at Easter, incorporating the Jewish tradition of setting a place for Elijah at the Passover Seder table, reminding us, “The empty chair at the table is both lament and expectation.” Divine’s blog is deeply spiritual and immersed in symbolism while honoring a variety of belief systems. Read: The Connection Between Grief and Easter                                     

Eid al-Fitr 

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.  

  • Here, as the end of Ramadan’s month-long fast culminates with Eid, is a series of reflections and letters expressing grief and honoring the lives of those who died. Read: Eid and Grief  


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.  

Grief is Universal  

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.