The fall autumnal equinox marks the official beginning of fall in the northern hemisphere. The autumn equinox and the vernal equinox happen at the same moment all over the world but are converted to local time. The season you welcome depends on the side of the equator that you live on. In 2018 the September equinox will occur at 0154 UTC on September 23. This means that the fall equinox will occur on Saturday, September 22, 2018, at 9:54 EDT, or 6:54 PM PDT in the northern hemisphere.
In the southern hemisphere, the vernal equinox occurs on the same day that the autumnal equinox occurs. It marks the official beginning of spring. If you live in the southern hemisphere and are celebrating the vernal equinox check out fun ways to celebrate the spring solstice.
Are you confused yet? Don’t worry… we answer all your questions about the equinox below!
Related: Winter Solstice Celebration Ideas
What is the Equinox?
What is the fall equinox, autumn equinox, autumnal equinox, spring equinox and the vernal equinox? The short answer is that they are all the same thing–sort of. They all occur on the same day at the same time. The difference lies in the season that you welcome.
On both the fall autumnal equinox and spring vernal equinox day and night are equal. Thus, the equinoxes are said to be a day of balance because the day and night are approximately the same lengths.
The word equinox is derived from Latin, meaning “equal night.” On each equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are said to be equal. See diagram below.
When Does the Equinox Happen?
One equinox occurs in March and the other occurs in September. The season you welcome, fall or spring, depends on the side of the equator that you live on.
How Many Equinoxes Are There?
As mentioned above, there are two equinoxes every year. One in September and one in March.
The northern hemisphere welcomes the fall on the September equinox and the spring on the March equinox, while the southern hemisphere welcomes the spring on the September equinox and the fall on the March equinox.
This means that in September the northern hemisphere welcomes the shorter days and cooler temperatures characteristic of the fall, while the southern hemisphere welcomes the longer days and warmer temperatures characteristic of the spring.
In March these are reversed. The northern hemisphere welcomes the spring while the southern hemisphere welcomes the fall.
The Fall Autumnal Equinox
Before the fall equinox, you will begin to notice signs that autumn has arrived. As the arc of the sun begins to shift toward the south day by day the birds and butterflies will also begin to migrate southward.
Related: Signs of Autumn Scavenger Hunt
Fall Equinox Celebration Ideas
Below you will find a list of 11 things you can do to celebrate the fall autumn equinox. If you live in the southern hemisphere and are celebrating the vernal equinox check out fun ways to celebrate the spring solstice. Create something meaningful for you and your family and you can’t go wrong.
11 Ways to Celebrate the Autumn Equinox
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. May your inner harvest be bountiful!
2. Restore Balance in the Home
Restore balance in the home by doing a fall deep cleaning. Get rid of anything that you no longer need to make space for the new season. For chemical-free cleaning tips see getting started with essential oils for a healthy home.
Want to get things done this season? 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 your ability to stay focused and get things done.
3. Make Fall Nature Crafts and Create Fall Art
Making fall crafts with your children is a great way to welcome in the season. A few fun and easy ideas can be found below:
- Acorn Peg Dolls – These cute little peg dolls are quick and easy to make.
- Fall Peg Doll Fairies – These whimsical little cuties are also a lot easier to make than they look.
- Top 10 Fall Nature Crafts – Lot’s of fun fall nature crafts to choose from.
- DIY Acorn Marble Necklaces – These make beautiful gifts.
- Oak Apple Nature Craft
- Fall Leaf Art Projects
- The Best Fall Art Projects
- All Season Hand Print Tree – This all season hand and fingerprint tree is a great activity to do with your child to introduce the idea of seasonal changes. Feel free to do all seasons or just a fall tree.
4. Begin Something New
Solstices and equinoxes are a great time to let go of the old and begin anew. As the temperatures begin to cool and people begin to spend more time indoors it is a great time to begin a new project.
- Make a list of everything you’ve been wanting to do.
- Pick your top three choices.
- Make a plan to start one and go from there. Don’t know where to start? Check out planning your daily routine or rhythm and how to use the power of habit to change your life to get started.
5. Visit a local Farm or Orchard
Head to a local farm to harvest items for a meal to celebrate the arrival of fall.
Pop over to have a look at our tips in the following articles:
6. Eat a Fall Harvest Meal
Create a meal from local seasonal foods. Cooking a farm to table dish is always a great learning experience for kids.
Feel free to invite your friends and family over to enjoy the fall harvest. If you decide to have guests at your harvest feast, invite them to join you in creating a gratitude and/or project list!
7. Add Fall Decor to Your Home
- Decorate your home with fall decor and/or fall crafts to welcome the season. Lots of fall art and craft ideas can be found above in #3.
- Create a Fall Nature Table (photo below) – Click on the link for more information.
8. Meditate and/or Practice Yoga
On the equinox, day and night, dark and light become balanced. Meditate and/or practice yoga to create inner balance.
Related: Kids Yoga: Tips for Getting Started
9. Have or Attend a Bonfire
A bonfire is a great way to celebrate the 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.
10. Read books about Autumn and the Fall.
Reading books about the autumn aloud with your children is a great way to celebrate the fall season. 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
11. Get Outside & Connect
Get outside and connect with what matters on the equinox. For more information about the Get Outside & Connect Series click on the link.
There are many ways to celebrate the fall autumnal equinox. Create something meaningful for you and your family and you can’t go wrong.
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!
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
More fall equinox celebration ideas:
- How to Celebrate the Fall Equinox by Rain or Shine Mama
The One Essential Tool You Need To Keep You and the Kids Happy!
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