20 March 2008

Countdown ends and here's the big surprise....




Houston we have lift-off. Happy autumnal/autumn equinox to my readers in the southern hemisphere, from which I'm writing this post, and happy vernal/spring equinox to my readers (especially to my family) in the northern hemisphere. Okay, okay so the big countdown wasn't that big of a surprises but many of you know as well as I do just how bloody hard it can be to find something to post. For those of you that have prolific minds when it comes to post writing you have my envy and respect. As for those of you who made guesses as to what the surprise was, I say well done to those of you who either picked it spot on or came close. It was never my intention to make this a guessing game but it was an added bonus that I suppose was inevitable as people can be curious.

Anyway, lets get back to the topic. As your days start to get longer and your nights shorter my days are now getting just the opposite. It took me a long time to get used to this reversal, but have now come to think of it as quite normal for where I am. I still enjoy what autumn means to me with the fall colours and cool nights and warmish days. Here in Australia I've not seen a lot of decorations with Indian corn and pumpkins, gourds or both. I believe the reason autumn is not a major focus here as it is in the northern hemisphere is simply because there is very little change in many places in Australia. Albeit everyone knows summer is over and winter is on it's way, winter is not something that fully felt unless you live here in Tasmania or in the Snowy mountains. but then again it's all purely relative. because if you live in Darwin and the weather goes down to say 15 degrees (59F) compared to 35 degrees (95F) you think it's cold. Sydney-siders get all rugged up (coats, scarves and gloves) this time of year on days of 13-15 degrees (55-59F) The display windows in the shops here are usually filled with colourful fall leaves and for me that is enough. On top of that Christmas in July is not far away. In the states it may mean a sale at the local mall here it literally means Christmas in July because it's winter and in some places there is snow and the holiday can be celebrated in full northern hemisphere fashion. However hearing Frosty the Snowman in the middle of July can still be a bit off-putting for me but I'm working on it.

I used to think of this time as a time of new beginnings and special moments. This was a time that as a child I went back to school and holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas were right around the corner. It was also a time that my birthday came around so you see there was a lot going around for me as a child. Now when autumn comes around for me I still get that feeling but there are no holidays to follow let alone birthdays, or at least not within the next few months. Even still I feel the same as I did back then, to me autumn was and is something much more, for me it was a time of refueling. A time when my mind clears with the crisp clean air and my mind awakens to artistic thoughts as the leaves perform their changing of the colour guard so to speak. Autumn has always been for me that way and it always will.

So as I sit here and enjoy this very special time of the year. I hope that you will also be enjoying it, whether it is with cool crisp nights, warm fluffy doonas (comforters for my friends in the north) and leaves changing colours or be it warming spring nights, daffodils blooming and promises of sunny summer days not far away. Either way it seems to be a time of renewal. Some of us see the flowers blooming in spring and feel reborn but for me it will always be the changing in the leaves that brings the birth of my inner self. To each of you I say, Enjoy...

( I hope you weren't too disappointed in the big surprise. I at least got your attention and now that I've got it out of the way I've got lots to tell you, but that will have to wait until tomorrow)

As an added bonus here are a few interesting factoids about the equinox:

In the list below the terms March and September equinoxes are used when the celebration is fixed in time, while the terms spring and autumn equinoxes refer to those which are different in the two hemispheres.

* Sham El Nessim was an ancient Egyptian holiday which can be traced back as far as 2700 B.C. It is still one of the public holidays in Egypt. It occurs on Monday and coincided with the vernal equinox.

* The calculation of Easter in the Christian church (first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox), uses its own definition for the equinox — it always falls on March 21. The earliest possible Easter date in any year is therefore March 22.

* The March Equinox marks the first day of various calendars including the Iranian calendar and the Bahá'í calendar. The Persian (Iranian) festival of Nowruz is celebrated then. According to the ancient Persian mythology Jamshid, the mythological king of Persia, ascended to the throne on this day and each year this is commemorated with festivities for two weeks. These festivities recall the story of creation and the ancient cosmology of Iranian and Persian people. It is also a holiday for Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, India, Turkey, Zanzibar, Albania, and various countries of Central Asia, as well as among the Kurds. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday, it is also a holy day for adherents of the Bahá'í Faith, and the Nizari Ismaili Muslims, commonly known as the Aga Khanis.

* The September Equinox marks the first day of Mehr or Libra in the Iranian calendar. It is one of the Iranian festivals called Jashne Mihragan, or the festival of sharing or love in Zoroastrianism.

* The spring equinox marks the Wiccan Sabbat of Ostara (or Eostar), while at the autumn equinox the Wiccan Sabbat of Mabon is celebrated.

* In Japan, (March) Vernal Equinox Day (春分の日 Shunbun no hi) is an official national holiday, and is spent visiting family graves and holding family reunions. Similarly, in September, there is an Autumnal Equinox Day (秋分の日 Shūbun no hi).

* Tamil and Bengali New Years follow the Hindu zodiac and are celebrated according to the sidereal vernal equinox (14 April). The former is celebrated in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and the latter in Bangladesh and the East Indian state of West Bengal.

* Earth Day was initially celebrated on March 21, 1970, the equinox day. It is currently celebrated in various countries on April 22.

* In many Arab countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on the March equinox.

* The September equinox was "New Year's Day" in the French Republican Calendar, which was in use from 1793 to 1805. The French First Republic was proclaimed and the French monarchy was abolished on September 21, 1792, making the following day the equinox day that year, the first day of the "Republican Era" in France. The start of every year was to be determined by astronomical calculation, (that is: following the real Sun and not the mean Sun as all other calendars).

* The harvest festival in the United Kingdom is celebrated on the Sunday of the full moon closest to the September equinox.

* The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, and is an official holiday in many East Asian countries. As the lunar calendar is not synchronous with the Gregorian calendar, this date could be anywhere from mid-September to early October.

* World Storytelling Day is a global celebration of the art of oral storytelling, celebrated every year on the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the first day of autumn equinox in the southern.

Factoids source: Wikipedia


Lewis said...

In spite of being a little confused, and a little disappointed, in the "surprise," I have definitely learned a bit of something about the equinox. I love trivia!

CJ said...

It's a beautiful Spring day here and makes one/me have renewed determination to get my head out of my a*&. :) But I dread a long hot summer.:(
One thing for sure you and I and all your readers will never live to see an Easter this early again.
I always enjoy your posts and ofcourse your smile.

Nathan said...

You can have your autumn sweetums :) It's been long, cold, dark, and wet for us here on the other side. We'll gladly take spring, and you guys can have your autumn. hehe

jps246 said...

Nifty equinox info!

I'm so looking forward to spring up here in the northern hemisphere.

Ur-spo said...

that was fun though

happy autumn to you -

here in Michigan it snowed ~ 4 inches and it looks like christmas.
so much for spring here!

Moys said...

Excuse me. What "tomorrow" did you mean? Waiting, waiting, tap, tap, tap......