By Cheryl Ryan
I’m not sure why I’m so intrigued by this. I haven’t thought about it since elementary school. But this year I feel like we should celebrate everything so here you go.
The autumnal equinox falls on Thursday, September 22nd this year. It’s almost always the 22nd or 23rd, unless it’s a leap year. It is the day of the year when day and night each last 12 hours because of the unique annual planetary alignment in North America. It’s obviously not to the minute, and depends on where in North America you live but it still signifies the beginning of fall.
It’s often associated with the large harvest moon which held ancient significance in that it gave farmers more light during their final harvests before the frosts destroyed what was left.
A long long time ago
Ancient cultures like the Mayans and residents of both Machu Picchu and Stonehenge designed temples to keep track of the equinoxes and solstices and had huge celebrations around those milestones.
And I don’t know about you, but fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. Like the beginning of summer which brings visions of swimming, vacations, friends and fun, fall feels like both a new beginning and an end. The new beginning was always around my kids’ excitement for a new school year, teachers and friends. But it always felt a little like an end to me because I would never get that summer with them again.
Of course, food and drink is always in the mix
But those thoughts were quickly overtaken by all of the upcoming holiday events and the beautiful light unique to fall. I think it’s because of this intersection of feelings that it also reminds me of the passage of time like no other seasons do.
Unlike ancient cultures though when farmers were under pressure to harvest and store food for winter, we get to go to the grocery store. We can simply pick up some cool stuff for fall cocktails and make an equinox harvest feast. That’s something to celebrate right there.