ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is the Vernal Equinox?

Updated on December 13, 2021
Carolyn M Fields profile image

Carolyn Fields is a lifelong learner, musician, author, world traveler, truth enthusiast, and all-around bon vivant.


When Exactly is the Vernal Equinox?

The Vernal Equinox is the day when the sun appears to cross the horizon at exactly the East in the morning at dawn, and directly in the West at sunset or dusk. The amount of daylight and darkness will be equal on this day. The exact date drifts from March 19th to March 22nd, due to that whole “leap year” business. In 2017, the Vernal Equinox falls on Monday, March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere.

Spring has been getting shorter recently, and summer has been getting longer (we are talking minutes here, not days). It’s somewhat complicated, so I’ll leave it as the topic of another discussion.

There is, of course, one other day during the year when the days are equal. This would be the Autumnal (fall) Equinox in the northern hemisphere. Other than that fact (equal day length), these two events have nothing in common. The Vernal Equinox is about the beginning of Spring and rebirth, as the days are getting progressively longer. The Autumnal Equinox is about preparing for Winter and harvest, as the days are getting progressively shorter.

Renewal and Rebirth

The significance of this day in the Northern hemisphere is the turning away from winter “shorter” days, and moving toward summer “longer” days. It has traditionally been a day for celebration, for as long as human history has been recorded. Presumably we humans like to frolic in the sunshine, and “sow seeds” as it were. This primarily relates to crops, but it applies to other things as well. So if you notice a bunch of birthdays on or around December 21st, it should no longer be a mystery to you.

Many Spring Celebrations

Many celebrations occur in Spring. You are probably aware that Christians celebrate Easter (the name coming from Eostre, a Germanic goddess of spring), which is an observance of rebirth and resurrection. This is only one tradition. Ostara is the celebration of the spring equinox in the Wicca belief system (which is NOT Satanic, regardless of what you may have heard to the contrary). In the Jewish faith, Passover is celebrated. The Achaemenians observed a 13-day festival of Nowruz, or “new day” around the spring equinox, which is a celebration of hope and renewal. The Iranian festival of Chahar-Shanbeh Suri occurs just before Nowruz.

There are many more celebrations around this time of year. There is even a “Burning of the Socks” festival for boatyard employees and sailboat owners. Socks are generally only worn in winter months. Burning these socks marks the beginning of warmer weather and a resurgence of work related to the sea.

No discussion of Spring would be complete without mentioning “Spring Break.” While not an “official” festival per se, it is widely observed by North American schools and elsewhere around the world. Originally associated with Easter, today’s celebrations are about as far from a religious observance as they can get.

Five Elements

In Five Element Theory (part of Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM), Spring is the time for rejuvenation and springtime cleansing. Spring is associated with the element “wood,” and the liver and gallbladder organs. Liver is responsible for smooth flowing Qi (roughly translated as “energy” in the West). When Qi flows smoothly throughout the body, physical and emotional health are maximized. So spring is an excellent time to move your Qi. Get out there and walk, plant a garden, or clean the attic and garage!

TCM Resource

Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine
Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine
I have this book in my personal library. It's a very accessible source of information on TCM.

How Will You Celebrate?

Regardless of your religious beliefs (or lack thereof), you will no doubt be doing things differently because of the increased daylight and warmth. It’s part of the human condition. Now you just have a slightly larger frame of reference for your activities.

Happy Spring everyone!

Spring Break

What is your most significant observance of Spring?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Carolyn Fields


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)