Spring Equinox 2023: The first official day of spring arrives

Editor’s note: (monthly ticket is one of CNN Travel’s series that spotlights some of the travel world’s hottest topics. In March, we’re heading to the great outdoors.)

(CNN) Thomas Nashe, the 16th-century British poet and dramatist, certainly looks forward to spring in his colorful lyrical style:

Fields breathe sweetly, Daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives sit,
On every street, our ears welcome these melodies:
Cuckoo, pitcher, pu-we, witta-woo!
Spring, sweet spring!

Sweet spring indeed – a time to observe the growing light, listen to the birds, smell the flowers and feel the growing warmth from the sun.

They are all signs of the arrival of the vernal equinox of 2023. This official first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere is a sign of rebirth, a time of tradition and harmonious balance between day and night.

When exactly will the vernal equinox happen?

Some people like things scheduled to the moment.

The vernal equinox will arrive exactly at 21:24 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) on March 20, According to EarthSky. Here’s how that breaks down at different points around the world (all times adjusted for daylight saving time):

• Honolulu (Hawaii): 11:24 a.m
San Francisco (California) and Victoria (Canada): 2:24 p.m
Santa Fe (New Mexico) and Guadalajara (Mexico): 3:24 p.m
Minneapolis (Minnesota) and Kingston (Jamaica): 4:24 p.m
Montreal (Canada) and Charleston (South Carolina): 5:24 p.m
Halifax (Canada): 6:24 p.m

When crossing the Atlantic, here are some other places:

Dublin (Ireland) and Accra (Ghana): 9:24 p.m
Paris (France) f aljeria (Algeria): 10:24 p.m
Helsinki (Finland) and Alexandria (Egypt): 11:24 p.m

Seagulls take flight as Galata Tower is visible behind them during a sunny day in Istanbul on March 20, 2019.

For time zones east of the above, the equinox actually falls on Tuesday, March 21st. Some other places:

Istanbul (Turkey) f Addis Ababa (Ethiopia): 12:24 a.m
Dubai (United Arab Emirates): 1:24 am
Mumbai (India): 2:54 AM
Bangkok (Thailand) f Hanoi (Vietnam): 4:24 AM
Singapore: 5:24 a.m
flood (South Korea) and Osaka (Japan): 6:24 a.m

You can Click here to see a list of major cities. or Click here to search The exact moment of the vernal equinox where you live.

For some, falling through the air

An aerial view of the Tokara Wine Estate below the Drakenstein Mountains in the Western Cape, South Africa. This equinox actually heralds the beginning of fall in Southern Hemisphere locations such as South Africa.

People in the Northern Hemisphere look forward to longer days, flowers, and a rush of greenery. But for people who live south of the equator, this equinox means they’re heading for fall.

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So for Chileans, South Africans, and Australians, among others, this is the time to look forward to cooler autumn weather.

For people who live near the equator (in places like Quito, Ecuador, or Singapore), none of this is really a big deal. They get approximately 12 hours of daylight and nighttime year-round.

The vernal equinox has another name

If you’ve ever heard anyone say “vernal equinox,” it means the same thing.

The term equinox comes from the Latin word “equinoxium” which means “equality of day and night”. The word vernal also comes from the Latin and means “spring”.

Why does the vernal equinox happen?

The Earth rotates along an imaginary line that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole. It’s called the axis, and this rotation is what gives us day and night.

However, the axis is tilted at 23.5 degrees, As NASA explains. This causes one hemisphere to receive more sunlight than the other half of the year around the sun. This discrepancy in sunlight is what triggers the seasons.

Forcing is at its peak in late June and late December. These are the solstices, and they have the extreme differences between day and night, especially near the poles. (This is why it stays dark for so long every day during the winter in places like Scandinavia and Alaska.)

But since the winter solstice three months ago in December, you may have noticed that our days are getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere and our nights shorter. And here we are now at the vernal equinox!

From now on, the northern hemisphere will be more exposed to the sun than the southern hemisphere. This is why it gets warmer as we approach the summer solstice in June.

The equinoxes are not completely equal

Birds begin roosting on the West Pier in Brighton, England, during the spring equinox.

It turns out that you actually get a little more daylight than darkness on the equinox — and how much depends on where you are on the planet.

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How does that happen when it’s supposed to be 12 hours in the day and 12 hours in the night?

like The US National Weather Service explainsThe “nearly” equal hours of day and night are due to the complex way in which sunrise is measured and sunlight refracted in our atmosphere.

This bending of the rays of light “makes the sun appear above the horizon when the sun’s actual position is below the horizon.” The day is slightly longer at higher latitudes than at the equator because it takes longer for the sun to rise east and move closer to the poles.

We get this equal division of day and night just a few days before the official vernal equinox. this called equilibrium.

Be directed

If you are a sky watcher, then EarthSky.com He points out that the equinoxes—spring or fall—are a great time to orient yourself. The equinoxes are the only times when the sun rises in the east and sets in the west for every person on the planet.

EarthSky says the equinox is “a good day for finding east and west from your patio or other favorite sky-viewing location. Just go outside at sunset or sunrise and note the sun’s position on the horizon in relation to familiar landmarks.”

Another fun fact: the sun sets faster during the equinoxes than during the solstices—and this is true for both hemispheres. the reason? Sunset hits the horizon at the maximum possible angle EarthSky says.

The sun sets more slowly during the solstices, when the Earth’s tilt is more intense. The effect is more dramatic the farther you get from the equator. This is why the sun never sets in the Arctic Circle during the summer solstice.

Special sites and modern ceremonies

People surround the Kukulcan Pyramid at the Mayan archaeological site of Chichen Itza in Mexico during the celebration of the 2022 vernal equinox.

In England, the mysterious stone structure of Stonehenge was a popular gathering place on the solstices and equinoxes. English Heritage He organizes events, and if you’re not fond of big crowds, the… Equinoxes attract fewer people Usually inversions.

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In Mexico, the Mayan site Chichen Itza He has his own moderation relationships. At the site, the impressive pyramid known as El Castillo is aligned so that a shadow defining the shape of the serpent of light (Kukulcán) descends on the steps of the equinoxes.

And it’s not just well-known ancient sites that traditionally get in on the action.

Pike Place Market in Seattle will celebrate it Annual Daffodil Day. When shoppers visit the market, they will receive a free bundle of daffodils while supplies last.

The city of Zenica, northwest of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is held annually sembrigada or “Scrambled Egg Festival” On the first days of spring.

cultural influences

In Tehran, Iranians jump over a bonfire during the ancient festival of fire, or Chaharshanbeh Suri, held annually on the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz.

Cultures around the world celebrate moderation. Here are a few:

Nowruz is the Persian New Year. Also known as Nauryz, Navruz or Nowrouz, it means “new day”.

It is no coincidence that it falls on the first day of spring. The Iranian calendar is a solar calendar, which means that the time is determined, through astronomical observations, by the movement of the earth around the sun. Therefore, the first day of the year always begins with the vernal equinox.

It is a celebration of new beginnings: wishing for prosperity and welcoming the future while letting go of the past. This is why families are using this time to deep clean their homes and closets and buy new clothes.

In China, trying to stand on an egg upright is a popular game during the spring equinox. According to VisitBeijing.com. This custom is believed to be thousands of years old, and it is believed that if people can get hold of an egg to stand, they will have good luck. And people all over China eat the local spring vegetables.

in Japan, The vernal equinox day is a public holiday (Tuesday, March 21 this year). Japan has comprehensively modernized, but its people still adhere to ancient traditions such as visiting family tombs and holding family reunions to celebrate the vernal equinox.

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