On Sunday March 20th, the day and night will be of almost equal duration. There is something Cosmic about days like this. Something mysterious…something we really like but can’t explain why. Luckily, we don’t need to explain why. As with any great mystery in the world, explanations are often underwhelming and a little disappointing.
So if like us, you also enjoy the mysteries of the Spring Equinox, we thought we’d give you a few facts that you can use to amaze your friends over a pint (preferably here at The Bowgie)
1. It marks the first day of spring.
Well, for astronomers and scientists anyway…meteorologists prefer to use the 1st of March as their official first day of spring.
2. It’s the first Equinox of the year.
We love the word Equinox. We think it would be the perfect name for a child…if that child was born on the 20th March, it would be an even more appropriate name. So if this is the first equinox, the other equinox is on or around the 22nd September.
3. It is also the Autumn Equinox.
It may be The Spring Equinox in this hemisphere, but below the equator today is known as the Autumn Equinox. Crazy.
4. The equinox doesn’t refer to a day, but a specific moment.
This is getting quite deep now so we’ll explain it as simply as we can. The equinox happens at the precise moment the Sun crosses the equator. At this moment, the Earth’s axis isn’t tilted away from OR towards the Sun. Mind blown.
5. Nothing magical happens to eggs.
We know – this makes us sad too but the popular belief that you can only balance an egg on its head at the time of the equinox isn’t true. We know this because balancing eggs is one of our favourite past times and something we do on most days of the year, equinox or not. Try it for yourself! It won’t prove anything about the equinox but you might enjoy it.
6. Equinox dates can vary.
In 2007, the Equinox happened on the 21st of March…it won’t happen on the 21st of March again until the year 2101 so we probably won’t be around to see how that pans out. But you never know, we have been eating more healthily recently.
7. Equinox means ‘equal night’.
Equinox comes from the latin words ‘aequus’ meaning equal and ‘nox’ meaning night.
8. It’s not always equal.
Don’t assume Equal night means 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. It should do, but the universe is a funny thing and something to do with sunrise, sunset and atmospheric refraction of sunlight can mean we get a few minutes more or less of sunlight or darkness. We know you’re not happy about this, so we’ll have a word with the big guy in charge on your behalf.
9. You can feel like Peter Pan and make your shadow disappear.
But only at 12 o’clock midday. Some people say you need to work out exact latitude with a protractor to do this experiment but we disagree. We think if you are standing outside at midday and put a stick in the mud you can wiggle it round until it’s pointing perfectly upwards in relation to the curve of the earth and you’ll see the shadow disappears. So basically it means that today is the only day when the sun is directly, exactly, perfectly overhead.
10. It’s celebrated around the world.
Different cultures around the world celebrate the equinox with feasts and rituals. We do the same. Inside. Sort of. So come along to The Bowgie Inn, Crantock, order a drink and a bite to eat and celebrate the Spring Equinox in your own way.