There’s a chill in the air and the nights are getting longer, meaning that the start of fall is right around the corner. Find out when the season starts and some important facts about the Autumnal equinox.
Fall officially begins on September 22. If the new school year, the colder temperatures and sudden rash of Pumpkin Spice products didn’t clue us in, summer is practically over. In fact, the season of fun and sun will be official over on Friday, Sept. 22, as that’s the first day of autumn. Yep, it’s time to pack away the beachwear and bust out the sweaters. Some fall fanatics have been counting down the days until they can go “leaf peeping” at all colors of the season’s foliage. Others are also thrilled because Sept. 22 is the Autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere.
The autumnal equinox arrives at 4:02 PM ET. While there won’t be a giant countdown like New Year’s Eve — what would that entail? A pumpkin being lowered into a giant pool of apple cider? — some people will anticipate the exact moment of the Autumnal Equinox. Mark your calendar because 4:02 PM ET is when the Sun crosses over the celestial equator, making the time when daytime and nighttime periods are pretty much the same length, according to Time And Date.com. Equinoxes don’t usually have exactly 12 hours of daylight, but it’s close enough. Also — for those in the southern hemisphere, the September equinox kicks off the first day of spring.
A lot of cultures celebrate the September Equinox. For many, the first day of fall means longer nights and Pumpkin-flavored everything. However, this transition from summer to autumn has been a significant event for many ancient cultures and it’s still held in high regard today. The Romans held a festival dedicated to Pomona, the goddess of fruits and growing things (aka the harvest) during this time, according to Time And Date. Plus, ancient Greek mythology links fall to the story of Persephone’s descent to the underworld to become the wife of Hades. Persephone’s mother, Demeter, managed to strike a deal with Hades that saw her daughter return to the surface world – but for only nine months. So, whenever Persephone returns to Hades, the world experiences winter.
The Mayans were so into the Autumnal equinox that they designed one of their pyramids around it. When the Sun shines directly on the equator during the equinox, a “snake of sunlight” slithers down the stairs of the pyramid at Chichen Itza in Mexico. On the other side of the world, China hold a Moon Festival, celebrating the summer’s harvest. For Neopagans, the equinox signifies the relatively modern celebration of Mabon In the UK, Wiccans, druids and pagans gather at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise on the day of the equinox.
Are you excited for the first day of fall, HollywoodLifers? What are you planning to do to celebrate?