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The Spring Equinox -Some Fun Facts and Spring Traditions

Every year, the Vernal equinox takes place on March 20 or March 21. And its occurrence signals the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The word equinox comes from the Latin “aequus,” meaning equal, and “nox,” meaning night. So, when the Spring Equinox occurs, the amount of daylight and darkness is nearly the same in length. And the Earth, which usually tilts at an angle on its axis, now doesn’t tilt toward or away from the sun. Therefore, someone standing on the equator on an equinox can observe the sun passing directly overhead. Additionally, equinoxes are the only two times a year that the sun rises due east and sets due west.
Another equinox occurs around September 22 or 23, and it marks the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Since the Earth takes about 365.24 days to orbit the sun, equinoxes happen around six hours later from year to year before moving back a day on Leap Years. (https://www.history.com/topics/natural-disasters-and-environment/vernal-spring-equinox).

For centuries, people have celebrated the vernal equinox

In the ancient Maya city in Mexico, at the ruins of Chichen Itza, many people often gather on the spring (and fall) equinox to watch as the afternoon sun creates shadows that resemble a snake moving along the stairs of the 79-foot-tall Pyramid of Kukulkan, also called El Castillo. According to history.com, on the spring equinox, the snake descends the pyramid until it merges with a large serpent head sculpture at the base of the structure. It is unknown whether the Maya specifically designed the pyramid to align with the equinox and create this visual effect.

In Japan, the spring equinox is a national holiday called Shunbun no Hi. Some people commemorate the day by tending to the graves of their ancestors.

And at Stonehenge in England, druids and pagans congregate to watch the sunrise on the equinox and welcome spring. 

The Spring Equinox must have held great meaning to many of those who came before us. But much about our past is still unexplained. While we all still look to the skies like our ancient ancestors, what I do know is that there is so much to wonder about in our great universe. 

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