Exploring the equinox

Published 9:39 pm Thursday, March 15, 2018

The first few months of a new year is transitional in many ways. People make resolutions for the new year, winter slowly winds down, spring emerges — and usually before anyone is ready it’s time to start mowing the lawn endlessly until winter comes back.

One such event that marks the beginning of a new year is the equinox. Timeanddate.com provides interesting facts on this annual celestial event.

An equinox is a day with near equal amounts of light as dark in most time zones around the world — depending on their geographical location. There are two equinoxes a year — the vernal (March) and autumnal (September). The vernal equinox is the one that effects the northern hemisphere.

The vernal equinox also marks the first day of spring, which is March 20 this year. The reality of the equinox is that the sun passes, from north to south, what is known as the celestial equator — which is the imaginary line above the earth.

The date of the vernal equinox can shift over time. For years, it was March 21, but that ended in 2007 and it won’t be the case until 2101.

One of the biggest talking points concerning the March equinox is that it is the only day a year during which an egg can be balanced on its end. However, the truth is much less unique than the equinox providing the ability to balance an egg. The real truth is that anyone, on any day of the year, can balance an egg on its end. It just takes some time and practice.

With the March equinox comes various celebratory activities from different cultures around the world. The equinox is a big factor in calculating the Jewish Passover Easter. The egg theme is not just unique to Easter either. The aforementioned myth of balancing an egg on the day of the equinox comes from China. In Chinese culture, the egg is representative of fertility and they balance an egg for luck and prosperity.

In Japan, they celebrate the Higan, which of is Buddhist teaching. It refers to dead spirits who cross over our plain of existence and find nirvana. This equinox celebration is meant to represent the crossover from the world of suffering to the world of enlightenment.