Spring text illustrationIn honor of today being the spring equinox, I thought I’d do a little research to find out a little bit more about it, since we’re ‘celebrating’ the first day of spring with a rainstorm here in Chicago. Here’s what I learned:

  • The equinox is moment when the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, which happens twice a year (this year on March 20 at 23:21 UTC and September 23 09:04 UTC).
  • An equinox is a specific moment in time, so it’s common interpretation of “equal day and night,” is not truly accurate; instead the two days of the year where the time from sunrise to sunset is 12 hours apart are called the “equiluxes”.
  • The Latin descriptors “vernal” and “autumnal” for each of the equinoxes are becoming more commonly replaced with “March” and “September” since the Latin names imply a bias towards the Northern Hemisphere bias (today being the first day of fall for those in South America, Australia and the like).
  • Some yogis celebrate the changing of the seasons by performing 108 repetitions of the surya namaskar A (sun salutation) sequence; 108 being a sacred number in yogic  (as well as Hindu) traditions.
  • Apparently there is a belief about the vernal equinox that it is the only day you can stand a raw egg on its end. While I suppose trying this out is one way to occupy your time, I suggest using that egg to try some of the recipes here instead since this myth isn’t true. Standing an egg on its end just requires patience, not a special alignment of the planet.
  • In astrology, the spring equinox marks the start of a new astrological year as it is when the sun enters Aries, the first sign of the zodiac.