When Is the First Day of Spring?
Let’s start there! So, in case you weren’t aware, the first day of spring falls on March 20 this year. And if you want to get really specific, spring begins exactly at 11:33 AM EDT. This precise moment is the spring equinox. But we will get into that in a moment.
Did spring start on March 20 last year? Yes, in fact, it did. But if you go back to the year before (2020), spring started on March 19. All of this can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. There is a really good reason why the advent of spring changes its date periodically.
Why Does the First Day of Spring Change?
Potentially, spring could begin on either March 19, 20, or 21. This comes from adjustments to the Gregorian Calendar due to our planet’s yearly revolution around the sun. If it took exactly 365 days for a full rotation, we’d be set. Spring could begin on the same day every year: March 21. However, it actually takes 365.25 days (on average) for the earth to revolve around the sun. That extra time adds up. Leap Year compensates for the extra quarter of a day by giving us a full day every 4 years. But you can see how this minor fluctuation could give us a different spring start date.
What Is the Spring Equinox?
Now, if you hear someone talking about the beginning of spring, you might hear the word “equinox” come up. Equinox is a Latin word that means equality of night and day. So, the “spring equinox” is not only the true beginning of spring, but it is the specific moment when the sun is directly above the equator, poised between the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.
What Does Vernal Equinox Mean?
The spring equinox is also sometimes called the March equinox because of when it happens, or the vernal equinox, since the word “vernal” is an adjective used to describe things that are spring like in nature.
Perhaps you have already deduced from the meaning of the word equinox that the first day of spring also coincides with a perfect half-and-half 24 hours: 12 hours of the day and 12 hours of the night. That’s because the earth’s tilt in that moment is exactly zero in relation to the sun. And because our rotation means the sun is currently headed north for us, longer days are on the way. This all culminates, of course, with our first day of summer (or summer solstice) on June 21, also our longest day of the year. Yay for lots of daylight!
Did you discover something interesting about spring you didn’t already know? We certainly did when researching for this article. The good news is, if you’re tired of winter, spring is sooooooo very close, it will be here before you know it. Maybe at the time you’re reading this it already is here! Thanks so much for reading! And may spring 2022 be an awesome time of growth, beauty and renewal for you and your loved ones.Everything You Need to Know About First Day of Spring by The Bradford Exchange