When Spring is Starting? First day of Spring 2024

Spring is nearly here; Tuesday, March 19, marks the arrival of the vernal equinox, officially signaling the start of the season in the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of spring 2024.

The spring equinox in 2024 is set to happen precisely at 11:06 p.m. EDT on Tuesday. However, what prompts this day to denote the beginning of spring, and why is it exclusive to the Northern Hemisphere?

What is an equinox?

There exist solely two equinoxes annually: the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. These occurrences coincide with the moment when the sun is directly overhead at noon, resulting in almost identical durations of day and night within a 24-hour cycle. The term “equinox” originates from the Latin words “aequus” and “nox,” signifying “equal night.”

Typically, it occurs on March 19, 20, or 21. A spring equinox happening on March 21 is considered uncommon, as per the Farmer’s Almanac. Throughout the entirety of the 21st century, there hasn’t been a single occurrence of this in the mainland U.S., and the next one won’t be until 2101.

The variation in date is partly due to Earth’s orbit around the sun taking approximately 365.24 days, whereas a calendar year comprises 365 days, as stated by the National Centers for Environmental Information.

When does spring start in the Southern Hemisphere?

In September, spring commences in the Southern Hemisphere as autumn begins in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a beautiful time of year!

During the March equinox, the Southern Hemisphere experiences later sunrises, earlier sunsets, cooler winds, and the shedding of dry leaves. Conversely, in the Northern Hemisphere, this equinox will entail earlier sunrises, later sunsets, gentler winds, and the emergence of budding plants.

Rituals, traditions, and myths 

Although Easter typically falls at the end of March, there exists an egg-related tradition associated with the equinox. As per a post on weather.gov, Chinese tradition suggests that an egg can be balanced on its end precisely at the moment winter transitions to spring. Nevertheless, standing an egg on its end is technically feasible on any day of the year, provided one possesses considerable patience.

Nowruz, the New Year celebrated in Iran or Persia, is linked to the arrival of the spring equinox. The United Nations states that this tradition has been observed for over 3,000 years across various regions including the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and beyond.

When is the next solstice and equinox?

Those eagerly awaiting the arrival of summer must exercise patience until the summer solstice on Thursday, June 20. The onset of fall, marked by the autumnal equinox, is set for Sunday, Sept. 22. This year, the winter solstice falls on Saturday, Dec. 21.

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