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scotts yonder sandhill 2009

Welcome Spring!!

Published on
20 March 2016

scotts yonder sandhill 2009Did you see it? A beautiful sunset on your drive home at 6:30 in the evening.

I smelled it the other day. The scent of rich soil heated by the midday sun.

Surely, you heard it! Red-winged blackbirds, cardinals, even Sandhill cranes! If you listen in the evening, you might even hear some chorus frogs!

Ah, Spring! 

Sunday, March 19 at 11:30 pm was the Vernal Equinox in the Central Daylight Time zone. The Vernal equinox, also called the Spring or March Equinox, is the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north. (The celestial equator is an imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator.)

The day marks the official start of spring in the northern hemisphere (north of the equator) and fall in the southern hemisphere (south of the equator). In the southern hemisphere, the day is called the Fall equinox.

Equinox means “equal night” in Latin. The name leads many to believe that day and night are equal length on the equinox. But that isn’t accurate.

In fact, the date when day and night are each 12 hours long is called the “equilux,” meaning equal light, and it varies depending upon how far north or south of the equator one is. Equilux is closer to the date of the equinox the closer one is to the north or south pole.

In McHenry County, the date of the equilux this year was March 16. Closer to the equator, in Costa Rica, the date is March 7. Further north, nearer to the North Pole in Alaska, the equilux is March 18.

Something interesting happens on the equinox: wherever one is on the Earth, the sun will rise due east and set due west.

This fact makes the equinox the perfect day for finding due east and due west from any location. Just go outside around sunset or sunrise and note the location of the sun on the horizon with respect to landmarks. Even though the location of sunrise and sunset will move along the horizon throughout the year, you will always know exactly which direction is east and which is west.

The coming of spring after a long, dark winter has been a reason to celebrate around the world for millennia. Because they are closely associated with new life, eggs play an important role in many celebrations that welcome Spring’s arrival.

scrambled eggs zenicaFor instance, the town of Zenica, Bosnia has held the Festival of Scrambled Eggs for hundreds of years to celebrate the first day of spring. Thousands of people gather near the town’s river to eat scrambled eggs that are prepared in giant pans.

stand eggs on endIn China, there is an ancient tradition of balancing eggs on end during the equinox to bring good luck and prosperity throughout the year. It is believed by many that the alignment of the Earth and the sun is such on the equinox that it becomes possible to achieve this seemingly impossible feat.

Well, it is true, you can balance an egg on its end on the equinox…and any other day of the year too! It just takes patience and practice.