A vernal or spring equinox occurs when the sun passes overhead at a latitude approximately equal to the equator. “Equinox” means “equal night” in Latin, referring to the fact that the day and night last approximately 12 hours each at the Equinox.
The equinoxes are caused by the tilt of the Earth’s axis, which causes it to be inclined towards the sun at certain times of the year.
The sun’s rays hit the Earth at different angles depending on how high in the sky it is at noon. Those rays hit us directly above our heads in March and September, making days longer than nights.
As a result of this event, the Northern Hemisphere marks the start of astronomical spring, and in the Southern Hemisphere, it signals the beginning of autumn.
What is Vernal/Spring Equinox
The Vernal or Spring Equinox is the moment when the sun passes overhead at about equator latitude, and there is an approximately equal length of day and night.
This occurs around March 20th to 21st in the Northern Hemisphere and September 22nd to 23rd in the Southern Hemisphere.
Vernal/Spring Equinox Date and Time 2023
A new season begins in the Northern Hemisphere with the March equinox, while autumn begins in the Southern Hemisphere. The March equinox will occur at 21:25 UTC on March 20, 2023.
How did people learn about this event
Ancient people learned about this event by tracking the movements of stars in the night sky. They noticed that during this time of year, certain constellations aligned with each other in a way that looked like they were moving toward each other.
They were moving towards each other because of the Earth’s rotation around its axis!
As these ancient civilizations began to understand these patterns, they started using them as markers for important events like planting crops or celebrating religious festivals.
Spring Equinox Celebrations in Different Cultures
Every country celebrates the Spring Equinox differently based on its customs and traditions.
Examples include the “Holi” Festival in India, “Norooz” in Persian culture, and “Shunbun No Hi” in Japan. Although all of these celebrations have vastly different characteristics, they all celebrate the arrival of a new and prosperous season.
The Egyptians celebrated this day with an Ishtar festival dedicated to their goddess of love, war, and fertility.
In Greece, they celebrated the coming of spring with an event called Hilaria, which featured a procession to honor Artemis (goddess of hunting).
The Chinese perception of the Vernal Equinox
The Chinese celebrate this day as the beginning of spring and a time to honor nature’s reawakening. It is a time for renewal, rejuvenation, and growth.
Chinese people believe that the spring equinox is a time to celebrate the transition from winter to spring and evaluate past experiences and make plans for the future.
The ancient Chinese believed that, on this day, all things came into existence and flourished. They believed that all living things were born from the Earth and were sustained by it.
This belief was symbolized by a dragon and a phoenix, symbols of power and greatness in China. The dragon represents yang, or male energy, while the phoenix represents yin or female energy.
Their union produces harmony in all things, including humans, and gives life to new generations.
7 Fun Facts about Spring Equinox
- This astronomical event will surely fill you with a sense of wonder and anticipation for the months ahead, whether you celebrate it at a special ceremony or simply take a moment to appreciate the changing seasons.
- Renewal and rebirth were associated with this event in many ancient cultures. As a time of new beginnings, people still celebrate Vernal Equinox in modern times. Spring is a time for planting gardens, starting new projects, and enjoying the warmer weather.
- On this day, people celebrate the return of light after winter darkness and fertility after the barrenness of winter; in many cultures, it is seen as a good time for marriage.
- Some people believe that you can tell which way the wind blows by watching animal behavior during this time of year. If they’re more active than usual, it means that there’s a storm coming soon.
- Some ancient cultures believed that this day was especially favorable for sowing seeds to ensure a good harvest. Other cultures held rituals to ensure success in hunting game animals.
- People believed it was a time when spirits were allowed to return to Earth and mingle with humans. In some places, people would celebrate this event by performing rituals to honor their dead ancestors or deities.
- On the vernal or spring equinox, day and night are equally long. It means it’s easier to get things done during this time of year because there’s more daylight available.
The Chinese celebrate the vernal equinox as the beginning of spring and a time to honor nature’s reawakening. It is a time for renewal, rejuvenation, and growth. The ancient Chinese believed this day marked the beginning of existence for all things and used the dragon and phoenix as symbols of harmony and life.
Different cultures celebrate the spring equinox in many ways, such as the Holi Festival in India, Norooz in Persian culture, Shunbun No Hi in Japan, the Ishtar festival in Egypt, and the Hilaria celebration in Greece.
Ancient people learned about the equinoxes by tracking the movements of stars in the night sky, observing the alignment of certain constellations, and using these patterns as markers for important events like planting crops or celebrating religious festivals.
James Earl is an expert in equinox and dates. He has helped many people understand the importance of this event. James Earl is a published author and has given many lectures on the subject.