In seeking the truth, one aspect I find incredibly interesting is the origins of holidays and celebration. Many are related to Celestial events! It is a story I enjoy telling and it gives me a thirst to learn more.
Starting with the history and background. For the sake of length, I won’t go really indepth but you can always research this yourself. The Earth has two Equinoxes a year. The Equinox signifies that the sun hits the earth in equal parts day and night. One happens in March (Vernal Equinox), the other in September (Autumnal Equinox). We also have two Solstices, one in June (Summer Solstice) and the other in December (Winter Solstice).
To put this in perspective (For the Northern Hemisphere) starting with the Spring (Vernal Equinox- Generally around March 20th) It is a time in which we have equal parts of sun and equal parts of darkness. From that point the amount of sun we receive gets longer each day until we reach Summer Solstice. The day of Summer Solstice (generally around June 20th-22nd) is considered the longest day of the year. By that, the sun is shining down for the longest period of time, the days are longer and the nights are shorter. From that point forward the days start getting shorter and the nights get longer until we reach the Autumnal Equinox (Sept 22nd/23rd), again, we have equal amounts of day and night. Moving forward towards Winter Solstice (Dec 21st-22nd) The days get shorter, the nights get longer. The day of the Winter Solstice is the apex of the shortest day of sunlight) From that point forward, the days start to get longer and the nights get shorter…
From this, we get that the Winter Solstice is the celebration of coming out of darkness into light, that Vernal Equinox is a celebration of renewal or the remergence of life, Summer Solstice is a midsummer festival and Autumnal Equinox was/is a Harvest Festival. Research these terms and you will likely find that many religions used these celestial events as their own Holidays (and Holy Days) but these events pre-dated most religions. It has been said that religions took on these celebrations as an easy path to convert people to their religion. For instance, Easter and Christmas still contain some pagan rituals.
I wrote this blog a week ago in preparation for this weekend but wanted to add some information on the Pagan celebration of Mabon that I learned about today. Mabon is a pagan harvest celebration. It is time to give thanks, reflect and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Think about it, if you have a garden (or farm) what are you doing right now? My garden didn’t fare well this year but in years past I was giving away my extra tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and enjoying my spaghetti and butternut squash.
It also signifies “Balance”, the balance between day and night. Most people who know me, know I often say “Everything in Balance”, Balance the Yin with the Yang, find the middle ground! 🙂 We should do it more often but what would it take to really focus on the balance twice a year, the Vernal Equinox (March 20th) and the Autumnal Equinox (Sept 22-23) or use it as a simple reminder.
Enjoy the Autumnal Equinox this Wednesday!
Improve your life by improving the lives of those around you!
Photo Credit: Horacio Cardozo