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March 23, 2009

Signs of Spring

The Northern Hemisphere is once more beginning its lean towards the Sun, with the spring equinox taking place last Friday, March 20th. People all over are welcoming the spring sunshine and new growth in many ways - from Stonehenge and Mayan pyramids to Dutch meadows and Texan beaches. Here is a collection that shows some of the signs of spring as we shake off the last bits of winter. (29 photos total)

A girl enjoys the warm weather in St James's Park on March 16, 2009 in London, England. Temperatures reached 17 degrees celsius (63F) that day. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A robin sits on a snow-covered tree feeding on berries in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, British Columbia March 9, 2009. Vancouver had been covered in an unseasonal blanket of snow the previous night. (REUTERS/Andy Clark) #

Elderly Russian men and women sunbathe near the wall of the Peter Paul fortress in St. Petersburg on March 16, 2009, enjoying some sunshine at the end of a long harsh winter. (ELENA PALM/AFP/Getty Images) #

A duck pecks at shiny coins frozen in the ice of the Neva river in St. Petersburg on March 16, 2009. (ELENA PALM/AFP/Getty Images) #

The sun sets behind the London eye at the end of a warm day on March 16, 2009 in London, England. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) #

A young woman relaxes between thousands of crocuses near the river Rhine in Dusseldorf, Germany, Wednesday, March 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) #

Effigies burn during the finale of the Fallas festival, which welcomes spring and honours Saint Joseph's Day, in Valencia in the early hours of March 20, 2009. Fallas are elaborate giant sculptures and effigies made of wood and plastic which are burned at the end of the week-long spectacle of processions, fireworks, music and dancing. (REUTERS/Heino Kalis) #

The sun rises over Stonehenge as druids celebrate the Spring Equinox at Stonehenge on March 20 2009 near Amesbury, Wiltshire, England. Several hundred druids and pagans were granted special access to the ancient monument to mark the date in the calender when the length of the day and the night are equal. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images) #

An Afghan girl plays as others gather to celebrate the Afghan New Year in Kabul March 21, 2009. Afghanistan uses the Persian calendar which runs from the vernal equinox. The calendar takes as its start date the time when the Prophet Mohammad moved from Mecca to Medina in 621 AD. The current Persian year is 1388. (REUTERS/Omar Sobhani) #

Cherry blossoms in full bloom are seen inside a garden on a spring day in Srinagar, Kashmir on March 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli) #

Outside the biological farm Den Hartig in Abcoude, The Netherlands, cows jump around in their meadow, on March 20, 2009. On that day the cows were allowed to go outside for the first time since last autumn. (VALERIE KUYPERS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Iraqi Kurds carry torches up a rocky hill as they celebrate Nowruz in the Kurdish town of Akra, 500km north of Baghdad on March 20, 2009. Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21. (SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images) #

Girls dance on stage at a Spring Break dance contest at the Coca-Cola Beach at the Radisson hotel on South Padre Island, Texas Wednesday March 11, 2009. (AP Photo/The San Antonio Express-News, Delcia Lopez) #

People stand on top the Pyramid of the Sun at sunrise during the spring equinox in Teotihuacan, Mexico, Saturday, March 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #

A woman crouches amongst the daffodils in London's St James' Park to take a photograph, as the capital enjoyed spring sunshine on March 20, 2009. (ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Masked dancers wear their traditional ritual masks during a festival in the village of Kalipetrovo, north-east of the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, Saturday, March, 21, 2009. Ritual mask dances are popular in rural Bulgaria with participants dressed in sheepskin garments and wearing scary masks with the intention to drive away the evil spirits or ghosts for the beginning of the spring season. (AP Photo/Petar Petrov) #

People attend the spring equinox in front of the Kukulkan Pyramid (or "El Castillo") in Chichen Itza, Mexico, Saturday, March 21, 2009. This Mayan pyramid was built so that the shadows of a corner of the pyramid would fall on a stairway and create the image of an illuminated serpent (visible on the left side). (AP Photo/Israel Leal) #

A young skier begins to sink as she tries to skim across a pond during a spring skiing ritual at Pat's Peak ski area in Henniker, New hampshire, Saturday, March 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) #

A dancer in a national costume performs during festivities marking the holiday of Navruz in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Saturday, March 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Anvar Ilyasov) #

Strollers walk through a sea of crocusses in the park of the castle in Husum, northern Germany, as temperatures reached nine degrees Celsius (48.2 Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, March 17, 2009. According to a legend, monks in the 15th century planted the first crocusses here, and today some 4.5 million of them blossom here. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper) #

Dancers perform next to the Pyramid of the Sun during spring equinox in Teotihuacan, Mexico, Saturday, March 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #

A U.S. Marine patrols with an opium poppy flower on his helmet on March 19, 2009 near Baqwa in Farah province of southwest Afghanistan. The Marines based at the remote village are battling a Taliban insurgency funded in large part from the multi-billion dollar drug export trade thriving in the south of the country. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

A Kazakh woman shows her nomad's tent decorated and furnished for the traditional Nowruz festival, which marks the Kurdish and Iranian New Year, in Baikonur on March 22, 2009. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A flock of snow geese fly over Wolf Lodge Bay Wednesday, March 18, 2009 on the east side of Lake Coeur d'Alene near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The birds migrate from their winter area of the western Gulf Coast to their summer range of northern Alaska and arctic Canada for breeding. (AP Photo/Coeur d'Alene Press, Jerome A. Pollos) #

The lights shine on Ed Smith Stadium as the Cincinnati Reds play the Boston Red Sox in a spring training baseball game in Sarasota, Fla., Thursday, March 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) #

A squirrel looks around while climbing a tree in a park in central Minsk, Belarus on March 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko) #

New Yorkers are covered in colored powder and dye during Holi, also known as Phagwah, celebrations March 15, 2009 in the Queens borough of New York City. Holi is originally an Indian festival marking the arrival of spring and is also called the Festival of Colors. Many of the New York participants are of Indo-Caribbean descent from Guyana and Trinidad where the festival is known as Phagwah. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #

A dog stands behind crocuses in full bloom on March 22, 2009 at the Olympic parc in Munich, southern Germany. (JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images) #

Sofia Noyes, age 3 1/2, plays ball with her father, Erik Noyes, in Cambridge, Massachusetts on a blustery early spring day, Sunday, March 22, 2009. (Dina Rudick/Globe Staff) #