by David Roberts || Photo Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
“Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place, and I can picture it after all these days”
– Taylor Swift, All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)
So the season of pumpkin spice lattes and crunched golden leaves is fast approaching, huh? Although we live in the tropics, that should not stop us from enjoying the beauty of the autumnal aesthetic. With this year’s fall equinox fast approaching, here are a few facts and folklore concerning this phenomenon.
The fall equinox takes place on September 23rd, marking the official start of autumn. However, that is only applicable in the Northern Hemisphere. For the Southern Hemisphere, it actually occurs in March. During the autumnal equinox, the sun shines directly above the equator from the North Pole, causing the hours of day and night to be equal in length. The word “equinox,” like solstice, is derived from the Latin roots “aequus” meaning “equal,” and “nox” meaning “night.”
This equinox also denotes the point at which nights begin to outnumber the days in the Northern Hemisphere, indicating less sunlight and a much colder temperature. No more beach days and tans, as scarves and thick coats will be your best friends. Moreover, the autumn season lasts until the winter solstice—the world’s shortest day.
With the autumnal equinox being such a complex and fascinating phenomenon, there are several cultures that come with it.
For starters, it has a connection to the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. According to Janet Green, a physicist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, geomagnetic storm disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field are strongest around the equinoxes. This causes the lights to put on a spectacular show. If you want to check out the magnificent green lights and nature’s own sky show, the autumn equinox may be a good time to do so. Don’t forget to prepare your cameras!
The first bright blood-colored full moon, now referred to as the Harvest Moon, is closest to the autumn equinox and is well-known as the first full moon of the season. The tilt of the moon’s orbit relative to the Earth’s horizon is at its smallest, causing the full moon to emerge above the horizon much faster than usual for the couple of nights the Harvest Moon is present. This gives farmers more time to harvest summer-grown crops beneath the bright gleam of the Harvest Moon’s dark red glow.
The fall season is quickly approaching, as are the numerous cultural and recreational opportunities that come along with it. With this in mind, hopefully everyone will be able to appreciate the fall as the beautiful season that it is, despite being in a tropical country.