The Autumn Equinox occurs every year between September 21 and 24. On the two equinoxes every year the Sun shines directly on the Equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal – but not exactly. Then, our planet tilt away from the Northern Hemisphere.
Today is the day for 2018 that the Sun will cross the celestial equator. That is the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator from north to south. And we in the Northern Hemisphere will enter autumn.
We don’t celebrate the equinox as formally as it was celebrated in ancient times. Most of our ways of marking the day come from our European ancestors. In Britain, they marked autumn on the Sunday closest to the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the Full Moon closest to autumnal equinox. This year that will be the Full Moon on Tuesday the 25th, so be a Brit and celebrate this Sunday.
During the French Revolution, the fall equinox marked the start of a new calendar year.
Japanese Buddhists celebrate Higan during both the Spring and Autumnal Equinox. The tradition came from celebrating the mild weather that usually occurs during the time of the equinoxes.
In China, the celebration also occurs with the Harvest Moon rather than the day of the equinox and the harvest of rice and wheat. Family celebrations also include lanterns and special foods including mooncakes.
Your autumn tradition may include apple picking, a hayride, raking leaves, apple cider donuts and, of course, pumpkin spice everything.