By: Sydnee Petruzzi
The spring equinox marks the end of winter and the start of spring in the northern hemisphere and fall in the southern hemisphere.
Equinox is a Latin word meaning “equality of night and day,” so the spring equinox happens when the sun is vertically above the equator. This makes it day and night across the planet. In Iranian culture, the spring equinox can mark the start of a new year.
The Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees on its axis. This causes some places to get more sunlight as the Earth orbits the sun. The Equinox occurs when the Earth does not tilt toward or away from the sun. If someone were to stand over the equator during an equinox, they would be able to see the sun passing over their head. The sun will also rise from the east and set in the west. After the spring equinox, a second equinox will occur marking the end of summer and the start of fall.
Some cultures celebrate the equinoxes. For instance, in Mexico, people gather at the ruins of the Chichen Itza and watch the afternoon sun create shadows that resemble a snake along the stairs of the El Castillo pyramid. The snake will descend and merge with the serpent head sculpture. It is unknown if the pyramid was designed like this purposefully to align with the equinox because there was no written record as to why or how the pyramid was built. Stonehenge, a monument in England that contains a circle of huge standing stones, druids and pagans will go and watch the sun rise as a way to welcome spring. It is also unknown what this monument was created for because there is no written record. Among the celebrations, a holiday called Nowruz takes place. This is what is known as the Persian New Year. Nowruz happens at the start of the spring equinox. This holiday is celebrated for thirteen days by millions of people all over the world. In Japan, people will tend to the graves of their ancestors.
When asked what they thought of when they thought about the spring equinox, Noxx Lorigan responded with “It makes me think of the radical circle designs that look like flowers.” Noah Wysocki said, “It is the start of spring.”
This year the equinox will take place on March 20.