The date of the Vernal Equinox this year is March 20th. Spring officially arrived at 4:44 am PST this morning. Now the weather doesn't necessarily turn spring-like as soon as Spring officially arrives but the date does signify other happenings.
The sun has crossed directly over the earth's equator. If you are living in the northern hemisphere it is the Vernal Equinox and if you are living in the southern hemisphere it is the autumnal equinox. The southern hemisphere has their vernal equinox in September. Since I am in the northern hemisphere I shall talk about the vernal equinox today.
Translated "equinox" actually means equal night. This is the day that we have approximately equal hours of daylight and night due to the sun being positioned above the equator.
Did you know the earth's axis is tilted 23.4 degrees and because of that tilt we receive most of the sun's rays during the summer months. In the winter we are tilted away from the sun. If the Earth rotated on an axis perpendicular to the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun, there would be no variation in day lengths or temperatures throughout the year, and we would not have seasons.
I for one am glad we have seasons. Although I would like the cold and rainy one to be a little shorter. Wouldn't we all?
People have recognized the vernal equinox for thousands of years and the Egyptians even built the Sphinx so that it points directly toward the rising sun on the day of the vernal equinox. The first day of Spring also marks the start of the Persian New Year called Nowruz.
As spring approached the birds returned to our backyard feeders en masse. We put out extra feeders and even a few nesting boxes to help our feathered friends. With the birds returning and the trees and shrubs budding out it is my favorite time of year. Soon it will be warm enough to do our plantings and putter in the flower garden. Waiting and being patient for the warm weather is the hardest part. I guess I'll have to pass the time watching the birds. Sigh.
"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." -Anne Dudley Bradstreet