Happy Vernal Equinox, Spring, whatever you call this festive annual holiday! Today marks the transition out of the dark days of Winter, and my transition back into a human being after hibernating like a bear for the last three months. Anybody else excited about longer days? I’m seeing a lot of raised hands in my head. I really need to be able to walk my dog again so I can start shedding this extra layer of bear belly.
Although “equinox” means equal in Latin, some folks on the globe actually get a few extra minutes of daylight today. This is due to the Sun being a disk, not a fixed point, and atmospheric refraction – which is exactly what it sounds like, the refraction of light caused by the Earth’s atmosphere. This is the result of light rays bending as they pass through the various atmospheric layers, which possess different optical densities.
Fun Fact: Saturn also experiences equinoxes! However, they occur about every fifteen years due to Saturn’s sluggish orbit around the Sun.
As some may know, the Vernal Equinox determines the date for the holiday called Easter. It’s said that in the year 325 (which looks so freakin’ strange to me as I write 2020 now), the Council of Nicaea made the decision that Easter would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon phase occurring on or after the Vernal Equinox. However, if the full moon falls on Sunday, Easter gets pushed a week so that Passover can have its rightful time. Oh, the rules of religion.
In Spanish Cantabrian mythology, today is a magical day for the Anjana, stunning six-inch fairies who care for the forests. It’s believed that they can communicate with water, help animals who have become injured, and guide those who have gotten lost in the woods. Apparently, they party all night, scattering roses as they boogie about. If you happen to find a rose with purple, green, blue or golden petals, a lifetime of happiness is in your fairy tarot.
Here’s to hoping I find one of those flowers – and you do, too! Because happiness looks good on us.