Marching along in the interval around the equinox

Published 12:38 pm Thursday, March 10, 2022

The astrological first day of spring is marked by the spring equinox, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. This falls on March 19, 20 or 21 every year. It happens worldwide at the same moment even though our clock times have a different time zone.

Due to these time zone differences, there is not a March 21 equinox in mainland U.S. during the 21st century and we’ve seen our last one until 2101.

People assume that day and night are equal on the equinox. They are not exactly equal for two reasons: daytime begins the moment any portion of the sun appears above the horizon and is not finished until the last part of the sun disappears below the horizon.

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According to egg folklore, you can stand a raw egg on its end on the equinox. This practice had its beginning in ancient Chinese displays of eggs standing on end on the first day of spring.

This is only partly true. You can balance an egg on its end on the equinox, but you can do so on other days, too. Try doing so if you would like to amuse yourself (you might have an easier time of balancing if you try it on a rough surface or use an egg that has a bumpy end).

Some other interesting things about happenings on and around the spring equinox include:

Saint Patrick’s Day (17th), which started celebrating with the color blue in Ireland, now fashions green for two main reasons. The three-leaf shamrock became associated with the saint as he used the leaves to teach about the Trinity in his ministry.

March 17 has become the traditional day to plant green English peas.

Cabbage seeds are sometimes planted on this day, too. A few old-time farmers believed that to make them grow quickly and well they had to be planted while you were wearing your night clothes.

The March Full Moon appears around the 17th to 20th of the month and is referred to as the Worm Moon. This is the time that worms and grubs reappear.

Trees, shrubs and flowers are sensitive to temperature changes and day length. Old-time farmers watched for changes in them. When the crocuses bloomed it was time to plant radishes, parsnips and spinach.

As the arc of the Sun across the sky shifts more and more to the north you will see larger avian flocks of migratory birds going northward along with the path of the sun.

One other thing you will notice as the days get longer. All the increasing sunlight inspires birds to sing. That’s not so strange. Just look at how each of us comes out of winter doldrums as we march along to the new spring cadence.