The autumnal equinox

Muyao Guan, Reporter

   Sept. 22, 2022, is a Thursday. There’s nothing special about Thursday except that it’s the day before Friday; it’s the daily rush of workday life: commuting, school, work, the like. Just another mundane day in mundane life. What’s there to like?

   People forget that it’s also the autumnal equinox.

   An equinox by nature is when day and night are the same lengths when the sun is directly above the equator. From Sept. 22 onward, the days will become shorter and the nights will stretch onward seemingly for eons. Night owls will jump for joy; morning people not so much.

   Equinoxes occur twice in a calendar year: once in March, and once in September. Assuming that one experiences Sept. 22 in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the fall equinox.

   The autumnal equinox is a holiday, and just not in the U.S. It’s had particular significance, both historical and modern. For example, in East Asia, it has particular significance as a public holiday (aka people get time off) and several festivals that vary based on country. 

   In ancient Greece, the autumn equinox marked the day of Persephone’s return to the Underworld. It marked the beginning of three months of winter, where crops wouldn’t grow.

   Both a historical and contemporary holiday, the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates the bounty of the summer harvest. It occurs in Chinese and Vietnamese communities worldwide on the Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the September equinox.

   Who doesn’t like when the scales are finally balanced, when night and day are equal — if only just for a day?