First Day of Spring 2016: Vernal Equinox

The March equinox signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks that special moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator going from south to north. In 2016, this equinox arrives on March 20 at 04:30 UTC, or on March 19 at 9:30 p.m. PDT in Oakley.

Astronomically speaking, the March equinox occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic. In the Northern Hemisphere, the March equinox is known as the vernal, or spring, equinox, and marks the start of the spring season.

Translated literally, equinox means “equal night.” Because the Sun is positioned above the equator, day and night are about equal in length all over the world during the equinoxes.

The vernal equinox is the first day of the year when we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night.

There are two equinoxes every year – vernal and autumnal. Those two days are the only times during the when the sunrise is due east and the sunset is due west.

The date is significant in Christianity because Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. The next full moon is March 23.

China too has an ancient tradition which is celebrated with eggs on the day of the Spring Equinox which are symbols of reproduction. The tradition of egg balancing is celebrated to bring good luck and prosperity. Though eggs can be balanced on their broad ends at any time of the year, a myth surrounds that March equinox is the only day when eggs can be perfectly balanced.

Hurricane season also begins in late spring.

Tornado Alley is most active this time of year.

The first spring flowers are typically daffodils, dandelions, lilies, tulips, iris and lilacs to name a few.

Spring fever is not just a saying. Experts say the body’s makeup changes due to different diets, hormone production and temperature.


About Kevin

Mayor - City of Oakley, Data Center Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction, Commissioner - Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Board Member - Tri Delta Transit and Transplan
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