By Kaitlin Gertz
So, what’s the buzz with all the bees (and flowers and pastels and everything spring)? Why are college students migrating to Florida? And what makes people so obsessed with spring that it makes them sick? Spring fever, usually associated with a physical illness, can also describe the intense focus people give to the season. There’s spring cleaning, spring break, and the cheerful alliteration of “spring has sprung!” In all, it seems people just can’t get enough of it.
Traditionally, spring is linked to rebirth and renewal. Youth and fertility are also commonly affiliated with spring; both were extremely prevalent and sought after throughout history. Renewal has heavy ties with religion as well. The Festival of Isis was an ancient Egyptian celebration marking the beginning of spring, as it was held around the Equinox. Romans had a rough equivalent with their Feast of Cybele. Even Christianity plays its part: Easter marks the end of Lent, which means people could then indulge instead of restricting.
The ancient Greeks, however, saw no problem with indulgence, and now lend the custom of spring break to college students. Anthesteria was a three-day festival celebrating Dionysus, god of wine. Everyone, no matter their social status, was allowed to party and get drunk because spring had arrived. Nowadays, we just call it “spring break.” Though the original festival was only three days, it was a chance to relax from the stress of winter and warm up. While winter back then might have meant certain crops couldn’t be grown or business for some would be hard, now it is associated with the pressure of exams and school. Spring break is a chance to forget about your worries and chill — or fly down to Miami and party.
With modern traditions comes seasonal sports like baseball, softball, and the end of basketball. March Madness, the final championship of the NBA, brings in billions of dollars in bets and millions of dollars in revenue (if that’s not enough reason for the managers to love spring, I don’t know what is). Baseball can be a more twofold sport: not only do the major leagues also bring in millions of dollars, but so do the minor leagues. Money doesn’t translate to renewal, but it’s certainly a reason why people are anxious for spring.
So, spring fever could make you excited for the season, or just make you break out in hives when some designer declares florals “groundbreaking.” Whether you’re honoring the Greeks by partying, or the Romans by eating all you can, or even taking some time to relax and smell the roses, getting sick with spring fever might not be all that bad.
Kaitlin Gertz is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram.