Sunday, March 20, 2011

Celebrating the seasonal holiday of Ostara / Happy Vernal Equinox!

The winter of 2010/2011 will be remembered as one of the more icy, snowy, brutal winters that we have experienced here in the northeast in the last several years.  While I generally DO like to experience each of the seasons as the wheel of the year turns, I know that I am not alone when I say that this past winter certainly stretched my patience.  As I type this, I am listening to the muted chirp of the returning birds through my closed windows.  Believe it or not, it was 70+ degrees just a few days ago, and tonight we are expecting an 'icy/wintry' mix. 

So in the spirit of looking forward to Spring, and to celebrate the brave daffodils, hyacinths and tulips that have poked their heads above ground in my yard in an overt challenge to bid winter adieu, I wanted to share the roots of this seasonal earth holiday.

The name Vernal Equinox celebrates the point in the earth's rotation when the daytime and nighttime are of equal length.  Vernal meaning 'spring' and equinox meaning 'equal night'.  Since the Winter Solstice in December, daylight has been increasing by mere minutes a day until today, when the day and night are equal.  The Equinox occurs twice a year exactly six months apart.  In the Fall, it is called Autumnal Equinox representing again when the daytime and nighttime are of equal length - only this time it is because the daylight has been diminishing by mere minutes a day since the Summer Solstice in June.