Don’t be foxed by the Spring Equinox!

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Which culture celebrates Nowruz?

Correct! Wrong!

Nowruz is the Iranian and Parsi celebration of the New Year, on the first day of Spring!

Which country celebrates Maslenitsa?

Correct! Wrong!

Maslenitsa is the Russian celebration of the return of light and warmth after the long winter!

Which country celebrates Makr Sankranti?

Correct! Wrong!

Makr Sankranti is one of the spring festivals celebrated in India. It is the kite flying festival!

Spring, the first season of the year, is filled with a burst of  colour and is always associated with new life and celebrations! But how can we tell spring is here? For one, the days start becoming longer. We also experience something called the Spring Equinox. 

Crash course on Geography! You know that the earth rotates or spins around on its axis, and also revolves in a path or orbit around the sun. The earth’s axis (the imaginary line on which it spins round), is tilted. Now as the earth is spinning on its axis and revolving around the sun, the amount of sunlight that different parts of the earth get differs. This is what gives us our seasons!

OK so what happens on an equinox? On an equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are almost equal across the earth. There are two equinoxes in a year. One around the 20th of March (Spring Equinox) and the other around the 22nd of September (Autumn Equinox).

What is super cool is that even 4000 years ago, before we had fancy modern gadgets, or before Galileo looked through the telescope, several ancient cultures worshipped nature. They measured time through the movement of the sun and its relation to other bodes in the sky. The equinox played an important role in these observations.  The ancients even built their temples and buildings to align with these movements!

Photo of Stonehenge, England at the time of the Spring Equinox
Photo Credit: heathersageswimmingpool.co.uk

Structures like Machu Picchu in Peru and the ancient Khmer temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the mysterious Stonehenge in England, were all designed keeping these celestial alignments in mind.

 

 

 

 


Written by: Purnima Thacker, a keen art admirer, nature enthusiast, intellectual property lawyer and mum to a curious 8 year old.

 

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