The Fall equinox will happen on Wednesday, September 23, 2022, at 1:04 UTC, and this means that it will occur on September 22, 2022, at 9:04 PM EDT and 6:04 PM PDT in the Northern Hemisphere, so if you’re wondering why the date and time change–read on!
The fall equinox, or Mabon, marks the astronomical beginning of the autumn season. When the autumnal equinox occurs in the Northern Hemisphere, the vernal equinox happens at the exact moment in the Southern Hemisphere and marks the astronomical beginning of spring.
Are you confused yet? Not to worry, we answer a few frequently asked questions about the autumn equinox and the meaning of Mabon below. Once you learn the answers to a few questions, scroll down to find 11 fun ways to celebrate the autumn equinox! Finally, if you live in the Southern Hemisphere and celebrate the vernal equinox, have a look at fun ways to celebrate the spring equinox.
Fall Autumnal Equinox FAQ
Before we share a few simple rituals and other fun ways to celebrate the autumn equinox, we thought we’d clear up any confusion you may have by answering a few frequently asked questions about the autumnal equinox.
Related: Fall Bucket List
When Does the Equinox Happen?
There are two equinoxes and solstices every year. One equinox occurs in September, while the other occurs in March. So the season that you welcome, fall or spring, depends on the side of the equator you live on–northern or southern.
Related: Winter Solstice Celebration Ideas
What is the Equinox?
The equinox is the point in time when the sun crosses the celestial equator. It is an astronomical event, or moment in time, that happens simultaneously across the globe but is converted to local time.
At the exact moment of the equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator before continuing its journey south or north–depending on the time of year. This definition explains its name–and is one of the many things that make the equinox special.
What Makes the Equinox Special?
The word equinox is Latin and means “equal night.” Thus, on each equinox, the sun passes over the equator, and the length of day and night are more or less the same.
In other words, equinoxes occur when the northern and southern hemispheres face the sun and a balance between day and night is reached. This fact also explains why the equinox is celebrated as a day of balance–day and night are approximately the same lengths on the equinox.
Related: Best Fall Art Projects
What happens on the September Equinox?
The September equinox is the fall equinox or the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun crosses the celestial equator and continues its southbound declination from the equator 23.5 South.
In other words, the sun sits directly over the equator when the equinox occurs, and balance or equilibrium is reached before the sun continues its journey south.
However, as the fall equinox approaches, you can notice the signs of autumn appearing all around. Check out our Signs of Autumn Scavenger Hunt to learn more.
What Happens After the Equinox?
Once the sun rises and crosses over the earth’s equator in September, it will continue south. As a result, the Northern Hemisphere will begin to experience the cooling temperatures and golden foliage characteristic of the fall.
This is because, after the autumnal equinox, the sun continues to shift in the sky so that each day will get shorter, and each night will get longer until the sun reaches its southernmost declination on the night of the winter solstice–the longest night of the year.
On the March equinox, these are reversed, and the Southern Hemisphere will experience the opposite season. Thus, the September equinox marks the astronomical beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, while the March equinox marks the beginning of spring.
When is the Autumnal Equinox 2022?
In the Northern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox is also known as the fall equinox and typically falls between September 21 – 23. However, on rare occasions, the fall equinox can happen outside those dates.
In 2022, the fall equinox will occur on Wednesday, September 23, at 1:04 UTC, and this means that the autumnal equinox will occur on Thursday, September 22 at 9:04 PM EDT and 6:04 PM PDT in the Northern Hemisphere. (source)
And, if you are curious about when the fall equinox will be next year–find out HERE!
What is Mabon?
Mabon is another name for the autumnal equinox. On Mabon, rituals about the balance between light and dark; and prayers of thanks for a blessed harvest are shared.
The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year’s crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea’n Fo’mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. (source)
Mabon is the second of 3 harvest festivals celebrated by earth-based traditions across the globe. Often, traditional harvest foods are served, known as the mid-harvest festival. This is why some pagans consider Mabon “Pagan Thanksgiving.”
Early earth-based societies understood the importance of feasting with your neighbors to create a village. Without each other, they could not survive, so they dined together to celebrate, build community, and give thanks.
Learn more about pagan Mabon rituals and ceremonies HERE.
Spiritual Meaning of Mabon
On the equinox, day and night, dark and light, inner and outer, masculine and feminine, are all in balance before the night takes over–bringing darkness along with the death of winter.
All things must die before they can be reborn, and all spiritual ascent requires descent first. Because we are a reflection of the universe surrounding us, what takes place outside must also occur within us.
This means that all those who long for the light must first face the darkness within themselves. And it is on the autumnal equinox that this stage of inner preparation for enlightenment can occur so that we can make way for the sun’s return on the winter solstice and its rebirth on the spring vernal equinox.
In other words, for the soul, the autumnal equinox is a time of harvest. Use this time of universal balance to hold gratitude in your heart for the life lessons that have helped you learn and grow, and let go of everything that no longer serves that end.
Celebrate the autumn equinox, or Mabon, by harvesting your inner fruits of awareness and finding gratitude for the seeds that you have both reaped and sown. The good, the bad, and the ugly. All mistakes can become beautiful lessons that guide us toward the next step in our journey when we hold gratitude in our hearts.
May your inner and outer harvest be bountiful!
Autumnal Equinox Celebration Ideas
Below you will find a list of 11 ideas and rituals you can try to celebrate the autumn equinox and prepare for the waning of the light.
If you live in the Southern Hemisphere and are celebrating the vernal equinox, hop over to look at “Fun Ways to Celebrate the Spring Solstice.”
Related: Fun Autumn Activities
11 Ways to Celebrate Autumn Equinox in 2022
1. Make a Gratitude List
The autumnal equinox is a time of harvest. Make a list of everything you are thankful for as a way of reaping your inner harvest. Better yet, start a gratitude journal–gratitude brings abundance.
If you don’t know where to begin, start with the food you have to eat and the roof over your head. It will flow naturally from there. Then, use the “I am Grateful Gratitude Journal Printable” to find inspiration. May your inner harvest be bountiful!
You may also like this collection of Gratitude Activities and Crafts for Kids and Gratitude Books That Inspire Thankfulness.
2. Restore Balance in the Home
Because night and day are approximately the same lengths, the equinox is a great day to create equilibrium in the home. Restore balance by doing a deep fall cleaning. Get rid of anything you no longer need to make space for inner abundance.
Next, use the power of rhythm and routines to help you get organized and provide a framework for your day. A daily rhythm can also increase productivity and assist you with time management.
We also like to establish seasonal routines that create a connection to the world we live in and add meaning to our family life. Our need for a sense of rhythm is one of the many reasons that we like to celebrate the fall equinox. Children thrive on regular household rhythms and routines.
3. Make Fall Crafts and Create Autumn Art
Make a fall craft, or try a fall art project fun on the fall equinox or any time this autumn, to celebrate the beautiful warm colors this magical season brings.
- DIY Acorn Marble Necklaces
- Acorn Peg Dolls
- Fall Peg Doll Fairies
- Fall Nature Craft Ideas
- Oak Apple Nature Craft
- Watercolor Fall Leaf Art
- Real Fall Leaf Nature Art Projects
- Best Fall Art Projects
- All Season Hand Print Tree – This seasonal handprint and fingerprint art tree is a great activity to do with your child to introduce the idea of seasonal changes. Feel free to do all four seasons or make a fall handprint art tree with golden autumn fingerprint leaves.
4. Begin Something New to Prepare for an Abundant (Inner & Outer) Harvest
The fall equinox is a great time of year to create goals or start a project. So grab our QuickStart Planning Guide, and follow the steps below to get started!
- Make a list of everything you want to do.
- Pick your top three choices.
- Make a plan to start one and go from there. Start with “How to Set SMART Goals” and then look at “How to Use the Power of Habit.”
- Continue to create a life you LOVE with our Dream Life Tool Kit!
5. Visit a Local Farm or Go to a Harvest Festival
Head to a local farm or your local farmers’ market for traditional Mabon harvest food items to host a family feast. Or, hose your own “Pagan Thanksgiving” to celebrate the arrival of fall.
Invite children on a field trip to a local farm for Mabon or anytime this autumn. Try the fun field trip ideas below–each one includes links to fall art and craft ideas and fun fall activities that the kids will LOVE!
6. Eat a Fall Harvest Meal
Create a meal from local seasonal foods to have your own Mabon Thanksgiving! Traditional autumn harvest foods include; corn, squash, zucchini, apples, pumpkins, etc.
Please spend some time this season educating your children with farm-to-table experiences they will remember for the rest of their lives. The traditional things that we do with our families create the most meaning in our lives.
How about inviting children to join you on a trip to the pumpkin patch, making homemade pumpkin puree and pumpkin cranberry bread or fresh pumpkin pie with it?
Don’t worry; it’s easier to make pumpkin puree than you think!
Children also love to pick apples and make apple pie oatmeal and gluten-free apple crisp–yum! (This links to our gluten-free peach raspberry crisp–sub apples and add cinnamon to the recipe!
Feel free to invite your friends and family over to enjoy a fall harvest feast for Mabon or the Autumnal Equinox.
If you decide to have guests at your fall harvest feast, invite them to join you in a gratitude craft or activity or make a plan to set SMART goals together.
Related: Thanksgiving Traditions
7. Add Fall Decor to Your Home
Autumn decorations are fun to make on or after the fall equinox to add to your DIY home decor. Decorate your home with fall arts and autumn crafts to welcome the season of fall.
One of our favorite ways to decorate for the fall is with a Fall Nature Table. (photo below)
8. Host or Attend a Bonfire
A bonfire is a great way to celebrate the autumnal equinox. Dance, sing, beat drums, play music, and celebrate the fall. Please be safe and follow city or county laws and regulations.
For more information, see 10 Tips for a Safe Bonfire with Kids.
9. Meditate and Practice Yoga
Practice yoga or spend time meditating on the equinox and dive deep into the spiritual meaning of Mabon.
Related: Yoga for Kids: How to Get Started
10. Read books about Autumn and the Fall
Reading books about autumn aloud with your children is a great way to celebrate the fall. Check out a few of our favorites below:
- We Gather Together
- Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
- Leaf Man
- We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt
- Apples and Pumpkins
- Fall Mixed Up
- Hello Fall
- Why Do Leaves Change Color?
- Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf
- It’s Fall
- The Little Yellow Leaf
- Because of an Acorn
- Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn
- In the Middle of Fall
Related: Fall Books for Kids: Autumn Stories Kids LOVE!
11. Get Outside & Connect
Get outside and connect with what matters on the equinox. Start by looking for the first signs of autumn, or try this fun fall scavenger hunt for kids.
Click on the link for more information about the Get Outside & Connect Series. You may also like this fantastic collection of outside learning activities for kids.
Fall Equinox Celebration Ideas
There are many ways to celebrate the autumnal fall equinox. Create something meaningful for you and your family–and you can’t go wrong.
You may also be interested in ways to celebrate the spring vernal equinox, summer solstice, or winter solstice. Click on the links to learn more about the solstices and equinoxes.
Have a question we didn’t answer about the fall equinox? Use the comments below, and we will do our best to get an answer for you!
Don’t forget to check out our autumn booklist and fall bucket list for the best autumn ever!
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
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