Today, March 20th, 2017, marks the first day of Spring, also known as the spring, or vernal, equinox. All across the world, day and night are exactly the same length of time – 12 hours. This explains the Latin meaning of equinox- ‘equi’ meaning ‘equal’, and ‘nox’ meaning ‘night’.
What exactly happens on an equinox?
The Earth is always tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees in relation to the plane created by the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. On the two equinoxes every year, either the tilt of the Earth’s axis is exactly perpendicular to the Sun’s rays. The equinox takes place at exactly the same time all over the world.
This time of year brings excitement for new beginnings, as well as the celebrations of many festivals and holidays. Easter and Passover are among two of these important holidays. The people of Japan passionately await the arrival of the cherry blossom, giving a beautiful shade of pink to the nation. In India and Nepal, the festival of Holi arrives with the coming equinox. During celebrations, attendees throw brightly colored powders all over each other, signifying the victory of good over evil. Of course, there is also Spring Break, in which U.S. college students enjoy time off from classes and often take notoriously raucous vacations.
No matter where you are, this time of year brings excitement as we mark a change of seasons and prepare for the joyous celebrations to come.