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The First Day of Spring

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Yesterday was the vernal equinox, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, despite continued wintry conditions in a few places. As the sunlight becomes more prevalent, people, plants, and animals are beginning to emerge from their winter modes to step outside, bloom, and otherwise welcome the sunshine. These photos show glimpses of the new season from around the world, as we shake off the winter and greet the spring. [26 photos]

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A Palestinian man and his daughter pick wild mustard flowers, which grow in open fields across the Gaza Strip, on March 20, 2014, as the official start of spring was marked by the by the Vernal Equinox. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian man and his daughter pick wild mustard flowers, which grow in open fields across the Gaza Strip, on March 20, 2014, as the official start of spring was marked by the by the Vernal Equinox. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
A hiker takes a rest in the sunshine, in an armchair near the Hochbichl alpine hut near Ofterschwang, Germany, on March 21, 2014. (Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/AFP/Getty Images) #
Workers set off explosives during ice breaking operations on the Rideau River in Ottawa, Ontario. on March 9, 2014. Every year, the city of Ottawa breaks up and clears ice along the Rideau River to alleviate possible spring flooding. (Reuters/Chris Wattie) #
A slackline walker enjoys the sunny and warm weather in a park on the banks of the Rhine River in Duesseldorf, Germany, on March 20, 2014. The official start of spring came with temperatures over 20 degrees Celsius (68F) in Germany. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) #
People crowd onto a bridge during the annual Caiqiaohui event in Mianyang, Sichuan province, China, on March 18, 2014. People believe that stepping onto the bridge during the three-day spring event can help them escape tribulations and illnesses. (Reuters/Stringer) #
A swan swims on lake Weissensee with the Alps in the background during sunset near Fuessen, Germany, on March 17, 2014. (AP Photo/dpa, Karl-Josef Hildenbrand) #
A blooming magnolia tree, at sunset on March 12, 2014 in Strasbourg, France. (Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images) #
Sap buckets hang from maple trees in Loudon, New Hampshire, on March 19, 2014. Despite a late start to the maple sugaring season because of cold temperatures, sap has started flowing as warmer weather arrives. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) #
Kathy Gallagher makes sure sap doesn't boil over in the evaporator at the Turtle Lane Maple sugar house in North Andover, Massachusetts, on March 13, 2014. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to yield one gallon of syrup. Maple syrup season is finally under way in Massachusetts after getting off to a slow start because of unusually cold weather. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) #
Paul Boulanger pours boiled maple syrup into molds to make candy at the Turtle Lane Maple sugar house in North Andover, Massachusetts, on March 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) #
Nella Walters of Ocean Park, Maine, stands in the surf on the first day of spring, March 20, 2014, in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Walters, who suffers from arthritis, said the cold water rushing around her waterproof boots eases the pain in her feet. "It's the first day of spring," she said. "After the winter we've had I just had to get out and walk." (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) #
A woman rests among spring daffodils in the sun as the weather warms in London on March 9, 2014. (Reuters/Luke MacGregor) #
Iraqi Kurdish people carry fire torches up a mountain where a giant flag of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region is laid, as they celebrate Nowruz, a festival marking their spring and new year, near Dahuk, on March 20, 2014. (Reuters/Azad Lashkari) #
An Iranian woman jumps over a lit firework during a celebration, known as "Chaharshanbe Souri," or Wednesday Feast, marking the eve of the last Wednesday of the solar Persian year, in Pardisan park, Tehran, Iran, on March 18, 2014. The festival has been frowned upon by hard-liners since the 1979 Islamic revolution because they consider it a symbol of Zoroastrianism, one of Iran's ancient religions. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) #
Young Asian small-clawed otters explore their compound at the animal park in in Neumuenster, Germany, on March 5, 2015. Six otter cubs were born at the animal park on December 7, 2013. (AP Photo/dpa, Maja Hitij) #
A woman is thrown in the air as revelers take part in Holi celebrations organized by members of South Korea's Indian community at Haeundae beach in the southeastern city of Busan on March 16, 2014. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images) #
Flowering cherries stand in full bloom in Muenster, Germany, on March 12, 2014. (Rolf Vennenbernd/AFP/Getty Images) #
The Eiffel tower, during sunset, as warm and sunny weather continued in France, on March 14, 2014. (Reuters/Charles Platiau) #
Businessmen enjoy the good weather at lunch time under the Arche de la Defense, in the financial and business district west of Paris, France, as warm and sunny weather continued on March 13, 2014. (Reuters/Charles Platiau) #
People enjoy the good weather at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in Paris, on March 16, 2014. (Reuters/Charles Platiau) #
People sit by a water fountain as they enjoy the warm weather in Paris on March 9, 2014. (Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images) #
A bee hovers towards a pussy willow on March 12, 2014 in Potsdam, Germany. (Ralf Hirschberger/AFP/Getty Images) #
Norwegian Ralph Johannessen's team races down a neighborhood street during the official restart of the Iditarod dog sled race in Willow, Alaska, on March 2, 2014. (Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder) #
Fifteen-month-old Amelia Tompkins plays in the Pollinator Garden at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, California, on March 20, 2014. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson) #
Dew glistens on a daffodil in the spring sunshine at Sefton Park in Liverpool on March 3, 2014. (Reuters/Phil Noble) #
One of two 14-week-old polar bear cubs rests on her mother Giovanna during their first presentation to the media on a warm day at the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Germany, on March 19, 2014. The male and female twins were born on December 9, 2013 in the zoo. (Alexandra Beier/Getty Images) #

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