You should celebrate the vernal equinox and the first day of spring too. In this year, 2020, the first equinox, also known as the spring, March, or vernal Equinox, will happen on Thursday, March 19. It is happening a day earlier, which was not a case in the past century.
Because it is a rare event, it marks the beginning of the spring in the Northern Hemisphere. You are the witnesses of the earliest spring that has happened before one century. If you are a calendar obsessed, then you have probably found something strange about the date of the Equinox.
Yes, this year it is happening earlier for a day or two. This year, the spring on the Northern Hemisphere will begin on Tuesday, March 19. In the past years, the spring started on March 20, or eventually 21. According to the experts, the last time that this had occurred was in 1896, which, if you count is 124 years ago.
Of course, this creates a couple of questions, like will this event ever be on March 21 again? Or, will the date continue to shift?
Fortunately, the Almanac astronomer Bob Berman is the person who gave us the answers to all the questions linked to the equinox queries.
When does the spring begin?
The first March Equinox remarks the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This event can occur on March 19, 20, or 21. On the same date, but in the Southern Hemisphere, it starts the autumn.
The spring in the Southern part of the Earth starts with the September equinox. While on the same date, in the North part of the Earth begins autumn.
What signifies the word ‘equinox’?
It has Latin origin and means ‘equal night’. The word aequus means equal, and the word nox means night.
On the Equinox, the day and the night have an equal length everywhere on Earth.
Once the event happens, then the sunlight hours are getting longer, and we have earlier dawns with later sunsets. Isn’t that marvelous?
What happens on the March Equinox?
During this event, the Sun crosses the celestial equator, starting from the south towards the north. This event is known as the ‘celestial equator.’
The reason for this name is because the sky makes an imaginary axis right above the equator of the Earth. It is an exciting event, and it happens twice a year, so the Sun rises on east, and sets on west, for all the people on Earth.
When the Sun is right above the Earth, the Earth’s tilt has zero relation to the Sun. It means that the axis of the Earth neither shows towards nor away from the Sun. The Earth is always tilted on the imaginary axis by 23.5 degrees.
Right after the March equinox, the Northern Hemisphere tilts towards the Sun, so that we have longer days and shorter nights. Besides the fact that the days are longer, we also have sunnier days.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) about Spring Equinox
Question 1: Does spring begin on March 1 or the Equinox?
Answer: Both can be correct. The main question is the definition of spring. Both dates can be accurate, it depends on your perspective.
From the astronomic perspective, the spring begins with the spring equinox, which can be on March 19,20, or 21. It happens on the same date, at the same time everywhere on the planet, but it signifies a different time zone. For example, as we already said, in the North part, it means the beginning of spring, but for the Southern part of the Earth, it signifies the beginning of autumn.
Something unusual is the fact that in the U.S. during the whole 21 c., we won’t see Spring equinox on March 21. It is expected to happen in the year 2101.
From the Meteorological point of view, the first day of the spring is on March 1. Scientists have divided the year into quarters to make their job easier. With the division, they will compare the seasonal and monthly results/statistics to the next year.
The meteorologists have certain temperatures that are characteristic for specific months. They have their statistics based on individual annual temperature cycles, not on the position of the Earth and the Sun. The Gregorian calendar leads the meteorologists.
If they are using the astronomical equinoxes, their dates will vary every year, so that is unacceptable.
Question 2: Are day and night equal on the Equinox?
Answer: No, they are not entirely equal. But, day and night are on the closest point to be identical. There are two main reasons why the day and the night cannot be equal.
The first reason is that the day begins when any part of the Sun is over the horizon, and it lasts until the last part of the Sun vanishes from it.
The second reason is if we were living on Earth without air, and the Sun were to shrink to a starlike point, then it is possible the day and night to be equal.
Question 3: According to folklore, you can stand a raw egg on its end on the Equinox. Can this be true?
Answer: The egg in Equinox is famous since 1945 when a ‘Life article’ published about the spring adage.
The story has a Chinese origin. The Chinese people created displays of eggs that are standing on end until the beginning of the spring. But, the Chinese celebrated the beginning of the spring, about six weeks earlier.
So, this confirms that it is not only the Equinox itself. The abovementioned information is stated by John Millis, assistant professor at Anderson University.
He continues, that because it is folklore, only part of it is correct. They would balance an egg on its end, but we can all balance an egg every other day.
Maybe it is a Folklore, but it sounds interesting. So, one spring, a couple of minutes before the spring equinox, Almanac editors, tried the trick. During a whole day, seventeen eggs, out of twenty-four, were still standing. After three days, they repeated the process and got similar results. Maybe three days is not enough, and it is too quick.
You can try this trick, and comment below what has happened.
Hack: You will make your job more manageable if you use a rough surface or an egg with a bumpy end.
Question 4: Which is the day with the most sunlight in America?
Answer: June Solstice represents the longest day of the year. It occurs between June 20 and June 22. When we say the longest day, we assume that the day is longest in comparison to the dark (night time).
How do people celebrate the vernal Equinox?
To us, the spring equinox signifies a new beginning and reborn of the nature in the Northern Hemisphere.
Different cultures have different celebrations. Some religions make festivals like Easter and Passover.
You can take a look at the nature around you.
– You can see how the worms and grubs are reappearing.
– Observe the Sun and its path from east to north. You will notice that the birds are moving northward, led by the Sun.
– Notice, the days are longer! The increased sunlight motivates the birds to sing!
– The daffodils are born. Trees, shrubs, and many other flowers are changing with the temperature. In the past, people used this situation and knew that it is the right period for planting.
– The Sun is more energetic, so the temperatures are higher. We are changing our clothes, and we are wearing casual clothes.
– March is the month perfect for gardening and sow seeds in many different regions. There are whole lists which will tell you the ideal dates for planting, and some useful gardening tips.
Ancient Equinox traditions: The snake of sunlight
In the past, people were connected to the Sun, and now we aren’t that much. They observed everything linked to the Sun, the sunrise, sunset, and how the day and the night changed, their length. Also, they were using the Sun and the Moon to detect the clock and the calendar.
The city notorious for the Spring equinox celebrations was located in Mexico, called Chichen Itza.
The people who lived there, the Mayans, have built an enormous pyramid. It was built in A.D. 1000. On the first day of the spring, they light it on. It looks like a snake that is going down the steps.
In the past, they called it ‘The return of the Sun serpent.’