The Vernal Equinox – What It Means For Some Countries


As the Earth revolves around the sun, there seems to be two seasons annually when the Sun positioned itself above the equator, thus making day and night nearly equal in length throughout the world. These times of the year is known as equinoxes, which is expected to occur around March 20 or 21 and September 22 or 23, 2016. This date marks the Northern Hemisphere’s vernal (spring) equinox and the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.

Translated literally, equinox means “equal nights”. Vernal equinox is known the world all over as the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The September equinox also known as autumnal equinox marks the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. The equinox which takes place in March, also known as vernal equinox, is that time of the year when the Northern Hemisphere lean towards the sun, thus making the days longer and sunnier, and autumnal equinox is that time of the year when the Southern Hemisphere starts tilting away from the sun.

Earth revolve. Illumination of the earth during various seasons. The Earth's movement around the Sun. Top position: vernal equinox. Bottom: autumnal equinox. Left: summer solstice. Right: winter solstice.
Earth revolve. Illumination of the earth during various seasons. The Earth’s movement around the Sun. Top position: vernal equinox. Bottom: autumnal equinox. Left: summer solstice. Right: winter solstice.

Myths about equinox

A lot of people in different parts of the world have been celebrating the vernal equinox dating back centuries. For ancient cultures, the vernal equinox is perceived by many as the time of the year which brings substantial hope that food supplies will return any moment. The Great Sphinx which was constructed by the early Egyptians to point directly towards the rising Sun during vernal equinox. Vernal equinox also plays a significant role in Christianity, because the first Sunday after the display of the first full moon that the vernal equinox took place usually falls on Easter. Even some group of person also believe that something magical happens when vernal equinox takes place. Legends have it that you can easily balance eggs on end during vernal equinox.

Things to know about equinox

Equinox, which marks the start of the astronomical seasons occurs twice every year, as it ushers in spring season in the Northern hemisphere. This is a time of the when the sun is shining directly on the Earth’s equator, offering the same amount of sunshine and darkness the world all over at this time. Some of the interesting things to know about vernal equinox include:

  • The vernal equinox is sometimes referred as spring equinox or March equinox, which occurs in the Northern hemisphere and signals the beginning of spring;
  • The autumnal equinox sometimes referred to as fall equinox occurs in the southern hemisphere and signals the beginning of autumn season;
  • It is believed that you can easily balance eggs on ends or possibly make a broomstick stand upright all by itself during this time;
  • Equinox was formed by the combination of two Latin words “Equi” meaning “equal” and “nox” literally meaning “night”;
  • Precisely on 22nd day of September, the autumnal equinox will take place in the southern hemisphere;
  • The spring equinox signals the celebration of several religious holidays including Easter and Passover.

Celebrating the beginning of new season

The vernal equinox is widely celebrated among people from different parts of the world and considered a time of rebirth in the Northern Hemisphere.

Cherry blossom in Japan

As spring season draws closers, locals in Japan anticipates the arrival of cherry blossom, locally known as Sakura. There is a televised Cherry Blossom Forecast in the country offering detailed analysis of the blooms, as they move from the southern region to the northern region of the archipelago.

Holi festival

One of the widely celebrated festivals during the vernal equinox is the colorful Holi festival. This is one of the greatest religious festivals that has gained much popularity among people the world all over. This impressive Hindu festival is mainly celebrated in India and Nepal as well as some parts in the United Kingdom. The Holi festival is an indication that good came out victorious over evil. The celebration is opened with a bon fire where fun lovers engage in several entertaining activities such as singing and dancing. The next day of the events involves participants throwing colored balloons at each other. It is most definitely an event not to miss out on especially for revelers.

One of the most remarkable days that most of us see as symbolic of changing seasons is March 20, 2016. Equinox signals the beginning of major changes in the astronomical cycle of the earth. The vernal equinox happens at exactly the same time the world all over.