First Day of Spring: The Vernal Equinox

Today is the first day of Spring, following the Vernal Equinox. Also called Ostara in neopaganism, the Vernal Equinox is celebrated as the beginning of spring and the sprouting of new life. It is hence associated with regeneration, regrowth, and rebirth, a crucial time in the Wheel of the Year. The first day of Spring, is of course, a perfect time to plant intentions that you wish to grow into bloom in the coming months.

National Geographic reports:

In the Northern Hemisphere spring officially began at 7:21 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 20, 2011—the vernal equinox, or spring equinox (see spring equinox pictures). But don’t be fooled by the old rumor that on the spring equinox the length of day is exactly equal to the length of night. The true days of day-night equality always fall before the spring equinox and after the autumnal, or fall, equinox, according to Geoff Chester, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

“Exactly when it happens depends on where you are located on the surface of the Earth,” he said.

By the time the center of the sun passes over the Equator—the official definition of equinox—the day will be slightly longer than the night everywhere on Earth. The difference is a matter of geometry, atmosphere, and language… If the sun were just a tiny point of light and Earth had no atmosphere, then day and night would each be exactly 12 hours long on a spring equinox day. But to begin with, as seen from Earth, the sun is nearly as large as a little fingertip held at arm’s length, or half a degree wide.

What do you have prepare for the first day of Spring—do you celebrate it in any way? Are you planning on seeding any wishes?

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