Autumnal Equinox Garden Ideas: How To Celebrate The Fall Equinox
The first day of fall is cause for celebration – a successful growing season, cooler days, and beautiful foliage. The autumnal equinox plays a role in ancient pagan religions but can also be the center of a modern celebration in your home and garden.
Celebrating the Equinox – An Ancient Tradition
The autumnal equinox marks the end of summer and the coming of darker nights and winter. Like the vernal equinox, which marks spring and new beginnings, the fall equinox marks the passing of the sun across the equator.
In European pagan tradition, the autumnal equinox is called Mabon. Traditionally celebrated as a second harvest and to welcome the darkening days, it also served as preparation for the bigger holiday of Samhain, the first day of winter. Celebrations included harvesting fall foods, like apples, and sharing a feast together.
In Japan, the equinox is used as a time to visit ancestors at their graves and to spend time with family. In China, the Moon Festival falls near the autumnal equinox and is celebrated with a food known as a moon cake.
How to Celebrate the Fall Equinox in Your Garden
Celebrating the equinox can take any form you choose, but why not draw from ancient traditions? This is a great time to celebrate food and harvest, the fruits of your gardening labors, and to share with family and friends.
One great idea is to host a fall equinox party. Invite friends and family to share anything they grew over the summer, or make dishes to share. This is a time to feast and welcome the coming winter. Enjoy the last warmth of the season by eating outdoors, in your garden.
The equinox is symbolic of the coming of winter, so it’s also a good time to start garden preparations for the colder months. Instead of feeling glum about the end of summer, celebrate changing seasons by using the day to clean up the garden and do fall chores.
In North America, there are plenty of modern fall traditions that make a great start to the season as an equinox celebration: going to the cider mill, getting a pumpkin to carve, attending a fall festival, picking apples, and making pies.
Use the fall equinox as the first day of fall decorating. Put up your autumn decorations or throw a small get together for fall crafting. Have guests bring ideas and supplies, and everyone will have a chance to make something new for their home.
Perhaps the best way of all to celebrate the fall equinox is simply to be outside. The days will be getting shorter and colder, so enjoy time in your yard and garden on this special day.
15 Fall Equinox Traditions To Start With Your Family
The "Fall Equinox" goes by many names, depending on your familyвЂ™s culture and lifestyle. ThereвЂ™s the Autumnal Equinox, the First Day of Fall, and if youвЂ™re Pagan, itвЂ™s Mabon. Regardless of what you call it, itвЂ™s fun to come up with Fall Equinox traditions to start with your family. IвЂ™ll take any excuse to do fun themed activities and enjoy special food and drink to be honest, and the Fall Equinox is definitely a good time to partake.
In 2020, the Fall Equinox falls on September 22, according to The Old FarmerвЂ™s Almanac website. This is the official start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, and вЂњit occurs at the same moment worldwide,вЂќ per the Almanac. ItвЂ™s called an вЂњEquinoxвЂќ from Latin meaning вЂњequalвЂќ and вЂњnoxвЂќ meaning вЂњnight,вЂќ and the length of daylight and length of darkness at night are equal on this day.
The Old FarmerвЂ™s Almanac website noted, вЂњDuring the equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the 'celestial equator' вЂ” an imaginary extension of EarthвЂ™s equator line into space. The equinox occurs precisely when the SunвЂ™s center passes through this line. When the Sun crosses the equator from north to south, this marks the autumnal equinox when it crosses from south to north, this marks the vernal equinox.вЂќ
Starting on this day, the sun will begin to rise later in the day, and darkness comes sooner, that is until the Winter Solstice, when the opposite occurs вЂ” which you can also celebrate as the return to light.
And if youвЂ™re Pagan, the lore surrounding this special day is to treat it almost like the holiday Thanksgiving, according to learnreligions.com. вЂњFor many Pagan and Wiccan traditions, itвЂ™s a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether itвЂ™s having abundant crops or other blessings,вЂќ the website notes. вЂњItвЂ™s a time of plenty, of gratitude, and of sharing our abundance with those less fortunate.вЂќ
No matter how you celebrate, there are a lot of fun activities and traditions you can start with your family.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN “EQUINOX”, REALLY?
The word equinox comes from the Latin word for “equal night” —aquus (equal) nox (night).
In the equinox, the length of day and night is almost equal in all parts of the earth.
With the equinox, enjoy the rising sun for hours, early dawn, and later sunset.
The best power is flower power,
Another easy way to celebrate the equinox? With flowers, of course! Head to your local flower shop, Trader Joe’s (which usually has great deals on bouquets and bunches), or the like, and pick some that speak to you! Another way to pick your flowers is to think of what you want to bring into your life, or manifest, in the coming months.
Want more love? Grab some roses! Want a more peaceful and loving environment? Pick up some lavender! Want luck? Pick daisies! You can find lists of magical correspondences for flowers online, or you can just use your gut.
Once you’ve picked some flowers, you can keep them in a vase, dry them and hang them up, or press them and then arrange them in a picture frame as some art! You can also decorate them, paint them, and take photographs of them. The sky is the limit!
How The World Celebrates The First Day Of Spring
This week has given us a lot to celebrate вЂ” St. PatrickвЂ™s Day (best holiday ever), the Season 1 finale of Empire , and, of course, the first day of spring. It has been a long winter, but the spring equinox has always been a time for celebrating the mildest of seasons. From ancient Greece to modern day Iran, the world is so ready to party down on the vernal equinox on Friday.
The spring equinox, also known as the March equinox, is when the sun crosses the celestial equator. Fun fact: itвЂ™s the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and the autumn equinox in the Southern Hemisphere (what up, Australia). For thousands of years, cultures have viewed the turning of the seasons from winter to spring as a time for revelry. Can you imagine what winter was like for ancient peoples before indoor heating and Netflix? Of course they wanted to celebrate the end of winter! And boy, did they celebrate. The first day of spring meant ringing in a new year with drama, fertility, and wine festivals, and by honoring the Earth.
So whether youвЂ™re recreating a pagan offering or just having some pre-Easter fun, here are a few ways the world has welcomed the first day of spring.
1. Ancient Greece
In ancient Greece (and later ancient Rome), Dionysus was celebrated as the god of fertility, wine, flowering plants, and rebirth вЂ” which makes him an obvious choice to be associated with spring. The Dionysian Festival was held in Athens every March to showcase the best theatrical poets, but you can skip the drama and host a wine-filled celebration of your own on the spring equinox.
2. Middle East and Asia
Another way to celebrate the spring equinox that has been carried over from ancient times is the observance of Nowruz, or Persian New Year. People in Iran, Kosovo, Turkey, and many other nations across the Middle East and Asia celebrate the New Year on or around March 20 every year.
In Japan, the spring equinox, or Shunbun no Hi, is celebrated by visiting ancestral graves and having family reunions. Shunbun no Hi is actually celebrated for seven days, but on the actual day of the equinox, families spend a good part of the day cleaning and leaving flowers on the graves and visiting with other family members.
The Mayans celebrated the Return of the Sun Serpent during the vernal equinox, and a celebration now takes place at the El Castillo pyramid in the center of the Chichen Itza archeological site. During the spring and autumn equinox, the late afternoon sun casts a shadow over the pyramid, creating the illusion that a snake is moving down the pyramid.
5. China and the United States
The art of egg balancing actually began in China and was done around the lunar New Year, but has since found popularity in the U.S. as something to attempt during the spring equinox. You probably learned that it has something to do with the gravitational pull of the moon or sun (it doesn't), but it does make for a cool party trick.
6. Middle East and Africa
While North America doesn't celebrate Mother's Day until May, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and others celebrate MotherвЂ™s Day on the the vernal equinox. Though not an official Muslim holiday, Egypt began celebrating Mother's Day in 1956 and other countries followed suit.
New Age practitioners with connections to the druids, pagans, and Wiccans can take a sunrise tour of world famous Stonehenge on the morning of the spring equinox. More than 100 people gather before dawn to make the trek to Stonehenge to watch the sunrise in silence. Many come in traditional garb for a pagan good time.
8. Northern Hemisphere
The vernal equinox also marks World Storytelling Day. Considering how important stories are in almost every culture past and present, this is a great holiday to celebrate!
Images: Abby Lanes/Flickr Getty (7) Giphy
Welcome the Gods of the Vine
Grapes are everywhere, so it's no surprise that the Mabon season is a popular time to celebrate winemaking, and deities connected to the growth of the vine. Whether you see him as Bacchus, Dionysus, the Green Man, or some other vegetative god, the god of the vine is a key archetype in harvest celebrations. Take a tour of a local winery and see what it is they do this time of year. Better yet, try your hand at making your own wine! If you're not into wine, that's okay you can still enjoy the bounty of grapes, and use their leaves and vines for recipes and craft projects. However you celebrate these deities of vine and vegetation, you may want to leave a small offering of thanks as you reap the benefits of the grape harvest.