Say your goodbyes to Summer while you can — Friday, Sept. 22 not only marks the first day of fall, but also the date of the Autumnal Equinox. The what, you may ask? Allow me to explain. For the uninitiated, there are two equinoxes each year, one in September marking the Autumn Equinox and one in March marking the Spring or Vernal equinox. The equinox occurs as the sun crosses the celestial equator from North to South, and it's an event that has been celebrated and memorialized for centuries by cultures and religions around the world. There are also some creepy things about equinoxes like the Autumnal Equinox that a lot of people don't know about.
I mean, it makes sense: It's a time of transition after which, in the Northern hemisphere anyways the days will get shorter and the nights will get longer until the winter solstice on Dec. 21, when the pattern will reverse. Times of change like this always attract the spooky!
Of course with any changing of the season there are a number of odd and unusual occurrences happening. Here are just a few of the creepiest things you didn't know about the autumnal equinox.
It's A Good Time To Reproduce
Autumn marks the beginning of harvest season — making the start of the Autumnal Equinox an ideal time to find a mate and reproduce. A lot of this is due to the fact that harvest time is associated with the bounty of food and drink. It is also believed that the levels of testosterone in men and estrogen in women are at their highest in Autumn.
A Snake Of Sunlight Appears In Mexico
The Autumnal Equinox has firm roots in Mayan tradition, and twice a year at the exact moment the Autumnal Equinox strikes and the sun shines directly on the equator, an enormous “snake of sunlight” is said to slither down the stairs of the Mayan pyramid at Chichen Itza in Mexico.
It's A Good Time For Grave Cleaning And Remembering The Dead
During the September and March equinoxes in Japan, the equinoxes have been national holidays dating back to 1868 to 1912. Higan, which means the “other shore” and refers to the spirits of the dead reaching Nirvana, was a time to remember the dead by visiting, cleaning, and decorating their graves.
It's A Good Time To Practice Apple Magic
Pagans have been long time practitioners of the Autumnal Equinox and would celebrate the occasion with a harvest festival known as Mabon. While there are a number of ways to celebrate Mabon, one of the most interesting is practicing apple magic. According to Wiccan and pagans, the apple is associated with immortality and is also considered a food for the dead, which is why it makes an appearance during Mabon. If you want to practice apple magic for yourself tomorrow here's one of the things you can do: Peel an apple, keeping the peel in one long piece. When the peel comes off, drop it on the floor. The letter it forms is the first initial of your true love's name.
Plants Will Begin To Die
Sorry to say it, herbivores, but the Autumnal Equinox marks the time when the sunrise happens later and nighttime falls earlier which means plants which rely on sunlight (which is most if not all plants) will begin to die or go dormant for the winter. (OK, so maybe you knew this one. But it's still creepy!)
Your Life is In Balance
According to astrology, the autumnal equinox marks the time when the sun enters the sign of Libra. Libra, of course, is the sign of balancing scales so really, the autumnal equinox stands as a symbol for life hanging in the balance. Creepy.