Spring Equinox 2018
Posted on 5th March 2018 at 09:57
So we’ve endured a long, cold Winter so far.
Dark mornings, dark evenings, and short daylight hours.
It’s safe to say we’re all waiting with baited breath for Spring to arrive!
And while the first meteorological day of Spring was 1st of March, the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox ‘feels’ more like the new season has arrived, and this year occurs on 20th March.
Stargazing astronomers regard the Equinox (Latin for ‘equal night’) as the first day of Spring, when the Sun is directly overhead at the Earth’s equator.
The sun then gradually moves towards the Northern Hemisphere - and therefore Whitby - as our Summer approaches. Yay!
Day and night are approximately of the same length at the Equinox and the sun becomes stronger and gets higher and higher in the sky thereafter.
The Spring season lasts just over 92 days, until the Summer Solstice, or Longest Day, in June.
The Equinox also marks a change of season in the Southern Hemisphere. As our Spring arrives, Autumn approaches those nations south of the equator.
Astronomers often use the Spring equinox to measure a tropical year – the mean time it takes the earth to complete a single orbit around the sun. This is also known as a solar year and lasts just over 365 days.
So, as well as shouting from the rooftops that Spring has arrived, what can you do to celebrate the change of season?
Well, here are some different ways to celebrate! ...
Balance an egg: it is thought is some cultures that an egg can stand on its end during the Equinox, due to equal gravitational pulls between the North and South Poles. While this may not be true, why not give it a try, just in case …
Celebrate the Festival of Colours: the Hindu festival of Holi takes place around the time of the Equinox. Here in the UK, this popular tradition includes throwing colour powders at sports events etc. If you can’t face the clearing up, then you could create colourful pictures to celebrate the arrival of Spring. The brighter the better!
Find a shamrock: While symbolic of St Patrick’s Day (17th March), the three-leaved shamrock is supposed to bring good luck and represents the regenerative powers of nature.
Plant seeds: in some cultures, it’s traditional to plant seeds at the Equinox.
Visit an ancient monument: Stonehenge comes to mind, but most ancient buildings will have some connection to the Equinox. Whitby Abbey is a good place to start!
Rise at sunrise and rest a sunset: with the sunrise and sunset taking place 12 hours apart, the Equinox can be marked by rising at the moment the sun appears over the horizon, and then resting when the sun disappears. This gives a real sense of the occasion.
So you can see we’re excited about the arrival of Spring. Truth be told, we can’t wait for the warmer weather, longer daylight hours and sunshine to arrive. Roll on summer!
Tagged as: Spring Equinox 2018
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