And time marches on…
This weekend is the autumn solstice or as it’s commonly known the (autumnal) Equinox. I adore fall myself. I can’t say I adore the quick marching of time…
But there is something about the solstice that always makes me want to bring change into my world. Whether it’s fall or spring, it’s always about shifting gears and making change happen. I thought it might be fun to discuss some fun facts on this special time of year.
Here we go:
- The two equinoxes are the only two times in a given when the sun rises due east and sets due west.
- The sun shines directly on the equator on these two days.
- The length of the day and the night is ‘almost’ equal on the equinox. It will off slightly (by a few minutes) depending on your location and this is due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis. Day and night would each be exactly 12 hours long on a spring or fall equinox only if the sun was a single point of light and Earth had no atmosphere.
- The September equinox occurs at the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator. This is the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from north to south.
- On the Northern Hemisphere’s autumnal equinox, a person at the North Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, signaling the start of six months of darkness.
- On the same day, a person at the South Pole would also see the sun skim the horizon, beginning six months of uninterrupted daylight.The autumnal equinox is one of the Sabbats of Wicca. Called Mabon, it is a harvest celebration.
- The autumnal equinox is one of the Sabbats of Wicca. Called Mabon, it is a harvest celebration.
- In Japan, the days before and after the fall and spring equinox mark higan, a Buddhist memorial service when people visit family graves, cleaning the tombstone, offering flowers and food, burning incense sticks, and praying.
- The Christian celebration of Michaelmas, in honor of Michael the Archangel, also has some of its roots in pagan harvest festivals around the time of the fall equinox.
- The Polish Feast of Greenery involves bringing bouquets and foods for blessing by a priest, then using them for medicine or keeping them until the following years harvest.
- The Roman celebration of the Fall Equinox was dedicated to Pomona, goddess of fruits and growing things.
- Aboriginal Australians have, for a long time, had a good knowledge of the seasons. Events like the September equinox, which is during the spring in Australia, played a major role in oral traditions in Indigenous Australian culture.
- In China the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is celebrated around the time of the September equinox. It celebrates the abundance of the summer’s harvest and one of the main foods is the mooncake filled with lotus, sesame seeds, a duck egg or dried fruit.
- In Greek mythology fall is associated with when the goddess Persephone returns to the underworld to be with her husband Hades. It was supposedly a good time to enact rituals for protection and security as well as reflect on successes or failures from the previous months.
I’m not sure how I will honor the solstice, but it is the time of harvest at my house and I’m sure I’ll be working in the garden and enjoying the fruits of my summer work. Add in a cold beer, a hot BBQ, and good friends and a loving family – I’m sure I’ll enjoy the march of time just fine. How about you? Do you do anything to celebrate this time of year?