The summer is slowly fading away, and people in the Northern Hemisphere are getting ready for the season’s switch. Somewhere between September 21st to September 24th each year, there will be a moment when the day and the night will last approximately the same. This annual occurrence is called the Fall Equinox, and it has been celebrated throughout the world for centuries. For years, people have perceived it as a symbol of absolute balance and represents a reminder of the eternal cycle of life. It is the time of the year when seasons change, and it heralds the fall harvest, cooler days, and beautiful, colorful autumn leaves rustling under the feet.
History of Fall Equinox
Many ancient civilizations were very familiar with the significance of this phenomenon. Throughout history, numerous nations celebrated the Fall Equinox and paid special respect to the gods they associated with it. As a result, they did particular rituals to maintain the perfect natural harmony. A variety of associations could be linked with it, such as the harvest season, thanksgiving, cleansing of the spirit and the mind, and preparing for the darker days that were about to come.
Druids, for instance, called it Mabon, and it represented the time of the year to celebrate the harvest before the winter came and to give thanks to nature. Ancient Egyptians coincided the equinox with Nile’s flooding, which meant fertility and new beginnings. Native Americans also associated it with the time of harvests, and by doing so, they incorporated praying rain rituals so that they prepare for the next season. Very similar to them, the ancient Greeks honored the goddess of the harvest, Demeter, by performing rituals and initiations.
Numerous historical sites are silent reminders of the exceptionally advanced nature of those civilizations. They reveal how the ancient people were able to know exactly when the equinox was taking place. Take, for instance, Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Even their construction is designed to align with the sun’s position during the equinoxes. Even the Mayans’ temple at Chichen Itza casts a serpent-shaped shadow that creates an illusion of a giant serpent falling down the staircase when the sun sets on the equinox. It is a very popular attraction up to date.
How to Celebrate the Fall Equinox
The understanding of the Fall Equinox has evolved, and with it, the way people perceive and celebrate it. Although this has led to a whole new idea of the significance of the day, the essence of celebrating nature’s balance remains. Here are some interesting ways to celebrate this event:
Walk in Nature
We’ve done it thousands of times, and it still feels good. Find a perfect location where leaves range from light yellow to dark green, from light orange to dark red, or even brown. Embrace the autumn in its colors, feel the leaves underfoot, and enjoy the transformation.
A feast with apples, seasonal vegetables, pumpkins, squash, chestnuts, and whatever there is seems to be a perfect fall setup. Invite friends and family and indulge in the plethora of autumn tastes.
Attend a Festival or Fair
It’s no surprise that many festivals and fairs are held in September, around the equinox. Most of them promote seasonal products, followed by lots of music, local crafts, and dance. Join one and become immersed in the spirit of the season.
Organize a Bonfire Storytelling Night
There’s nothing better than sitting around a bonfire with some good friends, watching the stars, and enjoying some good food. On the equinox night, spice up the atmosphere by telling some harvest myths, tales of gratitude, or even ghost stories. The magic of storytelling around the warmth of the fire can be so captivating and unforgettable.
Decorate the Home
Home decoration is perfect for aligning with the autumn spirit. Get some new decorations and ornaments with autumnal colors and motifs. Don’t forget to include some acorns, dried corn, pumpkins, and chestnuts.
Visit a Farmer’s Market
Visiting a local farmer’s market can be a delight for the senses. It is the place that puts together the scents and the colors of the autumn. So, why not support some of the local farms and treat yourself to the freshest products you can get?
Fall Equinox FAQs
What is the significance of the Autumn Equinox?
The Autumn Equinox, or the September Equinox, represents the time in the year when the position of the sun is directly above the equator. As a result, the day and the night last roughly the same time, i.e., twelve hours each. In the Northern Hemisphere, it represents the beginning of autumn, while in the Southern Hemisphere, it marks the beginning of spring.
When does the Autumn Equinox happen?
Due to the differences between the calendar year and the tropical year, there’s no exact date of the Autumn Equinox. It means it can fall on or around September 22nd or 23rd in the Northern Hemisphere. The actual date and time depend on the Earth’s orbit around the sun and its axial tilt. The absolute equinox happens only for a few seconds, not a whole day.
Does the Autumn Equinox hold any spiritual meaning?
It is often associated with balance and duality, harvest and gratitude, renewal and rebirth.