The March Equinox is an annual celebration that occurs on March 20. In the Northern Hemisphere, the March Equinox is referred to as the vernal equinox. It marks the start of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the autumn season in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks the Sun’s crossing above the Earth’s equator, moving from south to north. Like all equinoxes, the March equinox is distinctive in that it has almost exactly the equal amount of daylight and nights across many latitudes of Earth.
History of March Equinox
Wherever you may be on Earth, the equinox brings us several seasonal effects which have been noticeable to nature lovers around the globe for years. The word ‘equinox’ originates from two Latin words: ‘aequus’ meaning equal and ‘nox’ meaning night. The literal meaning is ‘equal night.’ Our ancestors, who had far less precise timekeeping than we do, believed that night and day were equal. But today we know this is not true.
People have been celebrating the March Equinox for centuries and since it is associated with spring the festivals tend to celebrate fertility and agriculture. The Romans used this day to celebrate their goddess Cybele who has driven around in a chariot drawn by lions. Ancient Persia in roughly 550 B.C., celebrated the vernal equinox as Nowruz, their New Year. Modern Iranians still celebrate this time as their New Year. During the era of the Shang Dynasty, which ruled China from 1600 to 1046 B.C., it was believed that the spring equinox marked a mythic beginning, a type of ‘start of their line.’ Jews in the 12th Century believed that the spring equinox marked the day in the year in which the Biblical plague that turned Egypt’s water into blood occurred.
The festival of ‘Holi’ is the March equinox festival in India. This is celebrated in honor of various Hindu deities and legends. It signals the triumph of Good vs Evil, the most notable being the legend of Krishna and Rhada. Ancient cultures had great awareness of nature, the seasons, and the movement of the celestial bodies. Many built sites that had a glaringly obvious use: that of a calendar. These were often aligned to display shafts of sunlight during solstices and equinoxes. Examples of these are Chichen Itza in Mexico, Mnajdra Temples in Malta, and Stonehenge in England.
March Equinox timeline
The sun lines up with Aries on the spring equinox but in 2567 the sun will line up with the constellation Aquarius.
Sham el-Nessim is an ancient Egyptian holiday that can be traced back to 2700 B.C.
The Gregorian calendar is created and is based on the March equinox, falling from March 11 to March 21, the date it occurred in 325 CE.
In Japan, those who practiced Shintoism used the March equinox to honor their ancestors.
March Equinox FAQs
What happens during the March equinox?
During this time the Sun will cross the celestial equator from the south to the north.
What is the spiritual meaning?
Tradition states that this is the time to cleanse out old energy at home and with oneself.
Why is equinox important?
Equinox is important because it points to changing seasons.
March Equinox Activities
The March equinox is the perfect time to give your house an overhaul. Start by decluttering your house.
Do some gardening
Growth symbolizes triumph over death and being reborn therefore it has become a tradition to plant seeds at this time of the year. Add some colorful flowers to your garden to celebrate spring.
Visit ancient sites
Various ancient sites are linked to March equinox celebrations and traditions. Pack a bag, call a friend or two and set out on an adventure.
5 Facts About The March Equinox
The sun rises and sets the fastest
The fastest sunsets and sunrises occur during this time of the year.
Spring occurs on two different days
There are two different calendars: the astronomical and the meteorological calendar. If we go by the astronomical calendar, spring will fall on March 20 but if we go by the other, spring will occur on March 1.
It’s Mother's day
In Arab countries, Mother's Day is often observed on the March equinox.
It marks the middle of Spring
In East Asian countries the March equinox marks the halfway point of spring.
It signals the start of a festival
Boatyard employees and sailboat owners in the U.S hold the Burning of the Socks festival where socks are burnt to celebrate the warmer weather.
Why We Love March Equinox
It is celebrated around the world
The March equinox is celebrated by many cultures around the world. We love that it has a unifying factor.
It signals new beginnings
The March equinox symbolizes growth and new beginnings. It is a clear marker of the change from winter to spring.
Days are longer
Along with longer days, the weather starts to warm up as well. Nature reflects this change with the blooming of new flowers and plants.
March Equinox dates