Spring Equinox: The Days Are Getting Longer (or Shorter)!

Painting-of-Domenicus-van-Wijnen-observing-equinox
A painting by Dutch artist Domenicus van Wijnenof of an  astrologer  observing the the Equinox and the parting of Adonis and Venus. Painted circa 1680, the oil painting is part of the collection at the National Museum in Warsaw, Poland. It is not currently on display.

Festivals + Holidays

Today is the Spring Equinox, a.k.a. the Vernal Equinox, in the Northern Hemisphere and the Autumnal Equinox, a.k.a. the Fall Equinox, in the Southern Hemisphere  That means the day time and night time are roughly the same length.

Today is the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the Autumn Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. That means the days will start getting progressively longer (or shorter), depending on which side of the Equator you reside.

An equinox usually falls on around 20 March or 22 September. Spring Equinox falls on 20 March in 2019. Autumn Equinox falls on 23 September in 2019.

Equal Days and Nights

suns-arc-a-every-hour-during-equinox
The arc of the sun at every hour during the equinox as seen on the celestial dome. Credit: Tauʻolunga

On an equinox, the length of day time and night time is roughly – but not exactly – the same. The date of an equinox also varies a bit by location. While it falls on 20 March this year in the United States, it falls on 21 March in Japan.

The Spring Equinox is also known as the Vernal Equinox; the Autumnal Equinox, the Fall Equinox. The Spring Equinox marks the first day of spring; the Autumnal Equinox, the first day of fall.

Longer Days Ahead

equinox-at-pyramid-in-mexico
The descent of the snake at Chichen Itza during the Spring Equinox. Chicken Itza was a pre-Columian city built by the Mayans in what is now the state of Yucatan in Mexico.

The days get progressively longer after the Spring Equinox until the Summer Solstice, which marks the first day of summer. It is also the longest day of the year.

The days get progressively shorter after the Autumnal Equinox until the Winter Solstice, which marks the first day of winter.

A solstice usually falls on around 21 June and 22 December. It is also the shortest day of the year

As usual, the summer solstice falls on 21 June in 2019. The winter solstice falls on 22 December in 2019.

Many important religious or cultural feasts, festivals, and holidays are celebrated on or near these four dates in various societies around the world.

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