Mother Nature smiled on us this morning by treating us to cooler temperatures on today, the first day of fall.
September 22nd is not only the first day of fall, however. It is the day of the autumnal equinox, which occurs between September 21st and 24th each year. The autumnal equinox is when the sun crosses the imaginary line in the sky that corresponds with the earth’s north-south equator.
Equinox is Latin for “equal night”, but technically, the exact equal day and night won’t occur until September 25th with sunrise at 5:47 a.m. and sunset at 5:47 p.m. CST. At the autumnal equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west (before now, the sun has been rising and setting more to the north). From today until the middle of December, the days will become shorter until the winter solstice in December.
In Greek mythology, this is the day when the goddess Persephone returns to the underworld to be with her husband Hades. In China, this is the time of the Moon Festival, where the abundance of the summer’s harvest is celebrated. On this day, many pagans celebrated Mabon as one of the eight celebrations based on the cycles of the sun. The Christian church replaced many pagan celebrations with Christian observances; the Feast of Michael and All Angels on September 29th replaced the celebration of the autumnal equinox.
What is consistent amongst all the various cultures is that this is considered a good time to initiate rituals of protection and security, to celebrate the harvest and begin preparations for winter, and to respect the shorter, darker days after a summer of sunlight and warmth.
By the way, September 22nd is also the date when I married my beloved. Life has been good: love, laughter, three beautiful daughters, wonderful son-in-laws, an adorable grandson, loyal friends, good health, and fun with Larry – here’s to 37 more years of adventure!