The first day of Spring arrived on Wednesday with the 2013 vernal equinox heralding the end of winter, sort of.

While for many spring has sprung, others are still dealing with winter-like conditions of snow, hail and ice after snowstorm Ukko hit the Northeast and Midwest earlier this week. The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings from Maine to Connecticut after Wisconsin, North Dakota and other parts of the Midwest were hit hard with freezing temperatures, wind and a snow-rain combination.

The vernal equinox, also called the spring equinox, is when the sun moves across the celestial equator. In the Northern Hemisphere, the resulting effects include longer days and shorter nights. By contrast, the Southern Hemisphere during the same equinox marks the beginning of longer nights and shorter days and heralds the beginning of autumn.

This year’s vernal equinox happens on March 20, which is early according to some people; However, last year’s equinox happened on March 20 as well, marking the earliest in more than a century.

The occasion is celebrated in a myriad of ways across the globe, but if you happen to live in an area where spring has sprung, head over to your local Rita’s Italian Ice to receive a free Italian ice in honor of the Vernal Equinox on Wednesday.

View the slideshow to see photos of the first day of Spring 2013 across the northern hemisphere.