The Countdown To Spring Has Officially Begun

Quick poll: who is ready for winter to be over already? I, for one, have been counting down the days to warmer weather ever since the first hint of chill tainted the air last September. But, for those of you who aren't quite so obsessed with what's going down on your calendar, you might be wondering: when is the first day of spring 2016? According to the Farmer's Almanac, this year the first day of spring is either March 19 or March 20 in North America, depending on which time zone you live in, but if you ask me, that's not soon enough.

If you paid any attention to Punxsutawney Phil earlier this year, you may have been under the assumption that it was only a matter of time before the dull and dreary days of February gave way to an early spring. The celebrated groundhog did not see its shadow, which according to tradition, means that spring is on its way. Of course, spring is on its way no matter what a rodent meteorologist has to say, but sometimes a glimmer of hope is all you need to get pumped up for brighter days ahead.

The vernal equinox has historically always been met with celebration — from the pagan days of old to modern times — so people, mark your calendars. Here's what to know about the first day of spring.

1. The first day of spring varies, depending on where you live

While we'll all get to experience the glorious arrival of spring eventually, some of us get early VIP access, depending on location. According to the Farmer's Almanac, the official spring equinox varies by time zone. It arrives as follows:

  • March 19 at 9:30 p.m. PDT
  • March 19 at 10:30 p.m. MDT
  • March 19 at 11:30 p.m. CDT
  • March 20 at 12:30 a.m. EDT

Generally speaking, the first full day of spring is officially celebrated March 20.

2. What is the vernal equinox, exactly?

Throughout the course of the year, there are two times when the sun is directly above the equator. The vernal equinox happens in March and indicates the first day of spring, while the autumnal equinox takes place in September, marking the first day of fall. Immediately following the vernal equinox, the Earth's northern hemisphere begins to tilt closer to the sun, meaning more hours of daylight.

3. When is the last day of spring?

The northern hemisphere gets to enjoy spring's bounty up until the summer solstice, which happens on June 21. Not only is this the official first day of summer, it is also the day when we experience the most hours of daylight.

4. How long before winter comes back?

The first day of winter 2016 is Dec. 21 — but why worry about that now? Warmer days await, y'all, and it's time we welcome them with open arms.

Images: Fotolia; Giphy