Spring has finally sprung! The first day of Spring is officially today Monday, March 20th! After this year’s late season cold and snow weather, many of us are ready to enjoy some time outside in the sunshine. As we head into the vernal equinox, here are 10 fun facts about spring (including why it’s called ‘vernal equinox’).
1.The first day of spring is called the vernal equinox. The term vernal is Latin for “spring” and equinox is Latin for “equal night.”
2. The fall and spring equinoxes are the only two times during the year when the sun rises due east and sets due west.
3. On the first day of spring, a person at the North Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, beginning six months of uninterrupted daylight. A person at the South Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, signaling the start of six months of darkness.
4. One long-term study found that, at least in the Colorado Rocky Mountain region, spring begins, on average, about three weeks earlier than it did in the 1970s.
5. For the Japanese, the opening of the cherry blossom, Japan’s national flower, in March or April signals the start of spring.
6. Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.
7. According to Greek myth, the return of spring coincides with the return of Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, who is the goddess of plants and fertility.
8. Every year, allergies constitute over 17 million outpatient office visits, mostly in the spring and fall.
9. Every year on the first day of spring, people in Poland gather to burn an effigy and throw it in the river to bid winter farewell.
10. If Pope Gregory XIII would not have established the Gregorian calendar, which most of the world now observes, in 1582, then every 128 years the vernal equinox would have come a full calendar day earlier, eventually putting Easter in midwinter.