Spring Has Arrived!

Facade of Angkor Wat, a drawing by Henri Mouhotcirca 1860

Facade of Angkor Wat, a drawing by Henri Mouhot
circa 1860

Spring has begun! Today, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, is the Spring Equinox. To be more specific, the equinox technically will be at 12:15 PM. The Spring Equinox, or Vernal Equinox, represents the exact moment that the center of the visible sun passes over the equator. There are two equinoxes in the year, occurring around March 20th and September 23rd, and are days when the sun spends about an equal amount of time illuminating all of the earth. In other words, the equinoxes are the days when the amount of daylight is equal anywhere on earth. Equinox literally means “equal night” in Latin.

Historically and scientifically, equinoxes are used to mark the change in seasons. The Vernal Equinox marks the official beginning of spring, while the Autumnal Equinox appropriately marks the beginning of autumn. Ancient civilizations all around the world have used the equinoxes to signal the rotation of crops, as measurement of daylight was possible with simple tools and was reliable. As a result of this agricultural significance, the equinox has had ties to religions for much of human history. Many ancient monuments are constructed to align with the equinox or solstice, such as Stonehenge, Angkor Wat, or, much more recently, the Basilica San Petronio. The Basilica is particularly noteworthy, being a Bolognese Catholic monument erected in the late 1500s, and a monument that led to the creation of our Gregorian calendar.

Whether you’re using the equinox as a hallmark in your religious season, or just using it to mark the transition to short sleeves, take comfort in knowing that spring is officially here!

Source: Jake Depew, Assistant Editor