30 Sep /15


Equinox - Word of the Day - EVS Translations
Equinox – Word of the Day – EVS Translations

Whether we like it or not, summer is over and it is time to retire bikini, shorts and sandals until further notice. Nevertheless, bringing back sweaters, scarves and biker-jackets to our wardrobes, adds glamour to the chilly months ahead and makes the new season equally appealing, cosy and snuggle worthy.

Usually the first day of September is considered, by meteorologists, the beginning of fall, but the astronomical autumn starts officially with the autumnal equinox, which this year happened to be on the 23rd of September.

Equinox might sound like a really complex term, but its actual meaning is rather simple and defines as “one of the two periods in the year when the days and nights are equal in length all over the earth, owing to the sun’s crossing the equator.“ The word originates from the 12th century Old French equinoce or directly from the Medieval Latin equinoxium (equality of night and day).

The first known use of our word in English comes from 1588, from the translation of the Catechism of the Dutch Jesuit priest Peter Canisius and relates to the spring, vernal equinox.

As previously reported, twice a year the sun rays shine directly over Earth’s equator and this occurrence is known as vernal equinox in March (20/21) and autumnal equinox on September (22/23). The next written reference in the English language come from 1664, from the Experimental philosophy of Henry Power, where he states that: “It is eight days more from the Vernal to the Autumnal Equinox, then it is from the Autumnal to the Vernal again.”

To explain the equinox, what happens is, that instead of the Earth tilting away from or towards the sun, its axis of rotation becomes perpendicular to the line connecting the centers of the Earth and the sun. The result is the change of the seasons – for example, the autumnal equinox marks the transit of the Northern hemisphere from the carefree warmth of the summer to the chill of winter.

From the autumnal equinox up to the winter solstice, daylight in the Northern hemisphere becomes gradually shorter and the vice versa for the Southern hemisphere.

In Paganism, a spiritual meaning is attributed to the autumnal equinox too – it is time to be grateful for the fruit and the harvest, a time of balance and transformation.