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Vernal Equinox: 5 Things To Know About The First Day Of Spring

20 March 2018

I can certainly understand how defining seasons in this way makes it a lot easier for record keeping, but I still prefer the traditional astronomical start to spring, the Vernal Equinox.

Equinoxes and solstices are key dates in the calendar.

First let's do the science stuff.

Spring Equinox 2018
Met Office Spring Equinox 2018 What does Vernal Equinox mean

March's equinox marks the moment the sun passes over the celestial equator and the Earth begins its tilt in the direction of the sun, bringing the Northern Hemisphere into spring and then summer, and the Southern Hemisphere into autumn and then winter.

Equinox occur twice a year, once around the 20th of March which is the spring equinox and again around September the 22nd, known as the autumn equinox.

During the equinox, both day and night are balanced to almost 12 hours each all over the world.

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There are two reasons to Vernal Equinox Phenomenon and all four astronomical seasons: firstly, because of Earth's rotation on its orbit around sun and secondly, Earth's axis tilting over its orbit plane by 23.5 degrees.

The end of winter was a big deal long ago when growing local food was critical to survival, and so the beginning of the growing season was celebrated all over the world.

One of the most famous ancient Spring equinox celebrations was the Mayan sacrificial ritual by the main pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico. The Hindu consider the equinox as a victory of good over evil, and they celebrate it with the "festival of colors", where participants toss bright colored powders over each other while dancing about.

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How does the spring equinox work?

Recognizing the spring equinox goes way back. "The days will now become longer at the higher latitudes because it takes the sun longer to rise and set".

It is at this time that the Northern Hemisphere marks the first day of astronomical spring. This is year Easter is Sunday, April 1. That calendar had January 1 as the first day of the year.

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Vernal Equinox: 5 Things To Know About The First Day Of Spring