Summer has slipped away. Hope you enjoyed the season. This year’s fall equinox arrives in the Northern Hemisphere on September 22.
What does the fall equinox mean?
Astronomically it’s the day when the sun crosses the celestial equator heading south. Thus, the fall (and spring) equinoxes provide Earth with roughly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. Oh, and after another blazing hot summer, the first day of fall signals cooler weather.
From the time of the Druids, the fall equinox signaled the end of the harvest. Then, winter preparations began. Families celebrated with parties and other social gatherings. Autumn lasts until the winter solstice.
Today, city dwellers often head to the countryside — for example, rural New England, to take in the changing colors of the leaves. Symbolically, the fall equinox reminds us to be grateful for the “harvests” in our own lives over the course of the year. This fall equinox, take time to reflect on the bounty of nature and the possibilities for abundance in every part of your amazing life.
Does the fall equinox have a spiritual meaning?
That all depends on what you believe. The equinox brings an end to spring’s rebirth — signaling a period of darkness and decline. What does that mean to you?
Fall equinox: Northern Hemisphere vs. Southern Hemisphere
Things are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere where September’s equinox marks the beginning of spring. Fall arrives in March below the equator.
Where are the best fall colors?
Nature puts on quite a show in autumn. The rotating colors of leaves — from green to red to rust to bright gold — signals the inevitable changing of the seasons. Here are six of the top places to watch:
1. Kyoto, Japan
Check out Tofukuji, a large 13th-century Zen temple in southeastern Kyoto, famous for spectacular autumn colors. Don’t miss the Tsutenkyo Bridge, which spans a valley of lush maple trees. Fall colors peak in mid November.
Average November 15 high temperature (Kyoto): 62F
2. New England
The fun begins in late September with a burst of color throughout Maine and New Hampshire. Things move south by late October — where you’ll find the best autumn views (and hues) in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
Average October 15 high temperature (Bartlett, NH): 58F
Aim for September and October when prices tend to drop. Get set for gorgeous autumn colors, the first snow, and even the Northern Lights!
Average October 10 high temperature (Reykjavik): 42F
Joy Morton envisioned a “great outdoor museum” of trees when he established The Morton Arboretum in 1922. It’s a 1,700-acre autumn paradise just 30 miles west of downtown.
Average November 1 high temperature (Chicago): 56F
Colorful Canada! Red maple, yellow poplar, and white birch make Ontario’s landscape a must-see autumn affair. Try an aerial or rail tour for even more spectacular views.
Average November 1 high temperature (Ottawa): 50F
6. Bavaria (Germany)
Catch autumn fairs and festivals throughout the season. Experts recommend one of the many “pilgrim paths” that run through Bavaria. The King Ludwig trail is a highlight.
Average November 1 high temperature (Nuremberg): 49F
And finally — Might we see snow before Halloween? Grab a coat — it could happen. The Old Farmer’s Almanac calls for a trace of October snow in the Northeast, Appalachians, Lower Lakes, Upper Midwest, High Plains, and Alaska. Expect flurries in Atlantic Canada, western Ontario, and the Canadian Prairies as well.
When is Fall Equinox 2024?
The fall equinox occurs in the Northern Hemisphere on Monday, September 22, 2020. The actual time changes each year. This is the latest start to the fall equinox since 2015.
Fall Equinox Customs
The ancient pagan cultures held the solstices and equinoxes in high regard. The Druids and the Celts honored traditions and performed rituals based on these special celestial days. One especially important part of the fall equinox involved taking time to reflect on the good and the bad aspects of the first three-quarters of the year, based on the equal amounts of light and dark reflected during the equinox.
Concoct your own pumpkin-spiced treat
Got a recipe that crushes it at every party? Kick up the flavor of brownies, cakes, pies, cocktails and even savory pork and beef dishes with the tanginess of pumpkin spice. Invite your friends over and see what good stuff you cook up together.
You finally beat the summer’s heat so take advantage of these early, crisp days of fall. Whether it’s just a simple walk around your neighborhood or a hike in the woods; enjoy the crunch of the leaves on the ground as you stroll. Head outdoors, inhale the fresh air and notice nature's changes all around you.
We Have Fallen For These 5 Fall Equinox Facts
It has a special moon
The full moon nearest the fall equinox is referred to as the harvest moon, due to the fact that farmers have extra time to bring in the harvest thanks to the longer night. The 2019 harvest moon happened on Friday, September 13.
A diet dilemma
Low vitamin D is linked to fat storage, which is one reason people gain weight in fall!
The beautiful colored lights of the aurora borealis are the result of more frequent geomagnetic storms and a great time to see this natural phenomenon, according to NASA.
Party at Stonehenge
Actually, the celebration of the fall equinox at England's Stonehenge isn't a party at all, but rather a ritual gathering of Druids honoring the coming of fall.
Life in balance
Amateur and professional astrologers alike note the fall equinox as the period of the sun entering the sign of Libra.
Fall Equinox Traditions
Pumpkin this and pumpkin that
It started innocently enough. A simple, sweet coffee drink that went well with the falling temperatures. But now, the Pumpkin-Spiced Latte has spawned a cottage industry of pumpkin-spiced foods, from beers and breads to cocktails and savory meals. Its arrival is arguably even more awaited than the equinox itself, and for many, the combo of pumpkins and spice reminds us that fall has arrived.
It kicks off the holiday season
From Jack O'Lanterns, Halloween and decorative gourds to Sunday afternoon football and Thanksgiving; the holiday season officially starts with the coming of fall. Once those first Halloween decorations go up, your house probably won’t look the same until after the New Year. Get used to it.
After a long summer of travel and adventures, sometimes there's nothing better than chilling inside on the couch all day. A dreary autumn day is the perfect time to catch up on the latest Netflix shows and to doze with one eye open while watching your favorite gridiron team on Sundays. These are perfect fall days.
Fall Equinox dates