First Day of Spring 2014: Vernal Equinox

A Sign of Spring

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When is the vernal equinox?  In 2014, the vernal equinox (which is also called the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere) falls on March 20 at 12:57 P.M. EDT. Enjoy more equinox facts, folklore, and more!

When is the summer solstice?
When is the autumnal equinox?
When is the winter solstice?

The Vernal Equinox

Ah, spring! This season brings increasing daylight, warming temperatures, and the rebirth of flora and fauna.

The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning “equal night.” All over the world, days and nights are approximately equal. Today, the Sun rose exactly in the east and it will set exactly in the west. 

At the equinoxes, the tilt of Earth relative to the Sun is zero, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun. (However, the tilt of Earth relative to its plane of orbit, called the ecliptic plane, is always about 23.5 degrees.)

As this season begins, the length of daylight increases. See your local Sun rise and set times—and how the day length changes!

Equinox Facts

Question: Why doesn’t the vernal equinox (equal night) on March 20 have the same number of hours for day and night?

Answer: Our former astronomer, George Greenstein, had this to say: "There are two reasons. First, light rays from the Sun are bent by the Earth's atmosphere. (This is why the Sun appears squashed when it sets.) They are bent in such a way that we are actually able to see the Sun before it rises and after it sets. The second reason is that daytime begins the moment any part of the Sun is over the horizon, and it is not over until the last part of the Sun has set. If the Sun were to shrink to a starlike point and we lived in a world without air, the spring and fall equinoxes would truly have ‘equal nights.’”

View the reason for the seasons and why the seasons change.

Equinox Folklore

Question: According to folklore, you can stand a raw egg on its end on the equinox. Is this true?

Answer: One spring, a few minutes before the vernal equinox, several Almanac editors tried this trick. For a full workday, 17 out of 24 eggs stood standing. Three days later, we tried this trick again and found similar results. Perhaps 3 days after the equinox was still too near. Try this yourself and let us know what happens!

Spring Folklore and Verse

One swallow does not make a spring.

Bluebirds are a sign of spring; warm weather and gentle south breezes they bring.

In spring, no one thinks of the snow that fell last year.

Don’t say that spring has come until you can put your foot on nine daisies.

Spring-time sweet!
The whole Earth smiles, thy coming to greet.

Signs of Spring

Spring is also the time when worms begin to emerge from the earth, ladybugs land on screen doors, green buds appear, birds chirp, and flowers begin to bloom. The vernal, or spring, equinox signals the beginning of nature’s renewal in the Northern Hemisphere.

You can track when the seasons change by recording animal behaviors and the way that the plants grow. Listen to the new sounds and observe what you hear and see.

How do you know that spring is coming? Share your comment below!

Spring Pictures

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Comments

Years ago I balanced an egg

By sauerkraut on March 21

Years ago I balanced an egg on end during the equinox on my kitchen counter. I decided to leave it sit and see what happened. I left a towel wraped about 6" around it so if it fell over it would not fall on the floor. About 3 weeks later, I was in the living room, heard a noise, and the egg had fallen over. So my therory is, you can probably do it for about 1-3 weeks on either side of the equinox. I have never tested this however. I have tried to balance one at other times, and have never been able to do it except during the equinox.

Unfortunately, the tilt of

By Harrison Reddy on March 22

Unfortunately, the tilt of Earth does not affect gravitational pull, as gravity pulls towards the center of mass, regardless of where on the globe or the relative tilt of the Earth's orbit to the orbital plane.

I live near Memphis, TN and

By Excalibur's Scabbard on March 20

I live near Memphis, TN and personally to me, my seasons are: Spring, Summer, Fall and "Almost Spring" !! I try not to even acknowledge winter (although I really do enjoy the Thanksgiving to Christmas season). Spring to me is the most magical time of the year!! I look forward to getting out and gardening, I love the smells in the air and all the Spring colors in the flowers and trees; everything seems to be alive and reborn. But mostly I look forward to the return of my Purple Martin colony and the blooming of the Cherry tree orchards; it's all just so enchanting!! Happy Spring everyone. :D

Your not the only one out

By Mark E. Brown on March 20

Your not the only one out there and these people are not anything like that but how would I know that I don't I just assume it. But you will know me sooner or later and you will testify about me and what I'm like this whole world will. I guarantee that this day on forth. Haha!!!!

Cool

By Sats on March 20

Cool

Wow... Checked this website

By Devon North on March 20

Wow... Checked this website to see time the vernal equinox occurs... I'm so happy 'spring' has arrived for the northern hemisphere. Reading through these comments makes me think we've all been batted down by this past winter... Lots of owly comments here! Happy spring peeps!

Ha I am surprised to find

By loosegoose on March 20

Ha I am surprised to find myself reading your comments on this beautiful day! Many have shared some insightful facts about the vernal equinox, and others have how do
you say, frankly, or without consideration argued over specific verbage. Thank you however i have one question on my mind... where is the darn plane?!!!

It was abducted by aliens !!

By Excalibur's Scabbard on March 20

It was abducted by aliens !!

This is a bunch of BS, come

By Jetblack on March 20

This is a bunch of BS, come around this area and you'll see it's still snowing and the temperature is still below the freezing mark. These people who talk about global warming, have s--t for brains.

After this winter, with temps

By Kit Janus on March 20

After this winter, with temps averaging 30° below normal since the weekend before thanksgiving, (in Wisconsin) I too made the same comment about global warming. A friend mentioned that the term isn't used much anymore, that our deleterious impact on climate is causing more weather extremes, including tornadoes, draughts, and hurricanes. These extremes are hard to ignore!

I couldn't agree more! I mean

By ISeeDumbPeople on March 20

I couldn't agree more! I mean all these scientists all along have been saying that it's going to cause radical weather changes...and so what if the planet is warmer overall than it's ever been and that Australia just had the hottest summer on record? And really it's a big planet and all, but if it's still snowing where YOU are then that's all that the whole world should be looking at, right? Because YOU are the most important opinion and person we have - true dat! The polar ice caps melting mean nothing if it's still icy in Alabama, right? Right??

I used to feel similarly, but

By sl0j0n on March 21

I used to feel similarly, but time and knowledge changed my mind.
The fact is, so-called "global climate change" is nothing more than a political ploy to eliminate individual freedom via statism.
The best data shows the earth's temps have flatlined for the last 15 years

Wow, how do you explain that

By James moss on March 20

Wow, how do you explain that the C02 levels are at the highest levels since records have been kept? Extreme fluctuation is all part of the big picture. Ice in Alabama has nothing to do with global warming, in reality it gives the argument more validity.

Common mistake out there:

By opinionor2 on March 20

Common mistake out there: confusing weather, which has major short term fluctuations, with climate, which is about long term trends. Climate change is well established, with overwhelming support in the scientific community. A warming climate does not mean that there won't continue to be variability in weather. In fact, a warming atmosphere can be accompanied by greater swings.

The other common mistake is

By Frosty the Snowman on March 20

The other common mistake is attributing climate change, which is a well- documented phenomenon, to man-made causes, which isn't.

Where do you think all the

By opinionor2 on March 21

Where do you think all the CO2 is coming from, Frosty? It's not just the cows.

So you don't believe it's

By Art Masterpiece on March 20

So you don't believe it's Spring because it's snowing? Who said it doesn't snow in the Spring? It snows in the Autumn, too. We had almost no snow here in PA for the last two years and then got hit hard. It's called "The Law of Averages".

We stood a broom up @8:00PST

By 95209 on March 20

We stood a broom up @8:00PST last night, and it is still standing thru the night -- 11hrs later. Kinda freaky!

Ok this broom thing is

By loosegoose on March 20

Ok this broom thing is hilarious (it would make a great snl skit). So what does this have to do with the earth's axis? And since you tried this bewildering magic trick before the equinox began, doesn't it mean it has nothing to do with the equinox? Trying to understand... While i chuckle over this, i honestly am tempted to try this! Lol.

But how do we know the exact

By LeAnn Richard on March 20

But how do we know the exact time of 11:57 ct?

.The vernal equinox is the

By AWESOME on March 20

.The vernal equinox is the begining of spring it is celebrated March 20th in the northern hemisphere but September 22 in the southern hemisphere

Spring Equinox is Persian /

By Paymaan on March 20

Spring Equinox is Persian / Iranian news year.
It marks the official new year celebrations in Iran.
All of Iranian peoples (Kurds, Georgians, Armenians, Croats, Persians etc.)celebrate this day.
This celebration has at least been celebrated for more than 4500 years. Its is a Pre-Islamic tradition of Iranian nations an Indo-European (Aryan) tradition relating to Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism.. (pre-islamic religion of Iran before the savage invasion of Arabs and forcing the Iranians to accept islam by the sword...)
This tradition is everything that's is the Opposite of Islam and Arab culture.. Thus Iranian people have celebrated it as a mark of Iranian Ethnic, cultural identity. The Spring Equinox or Newruz celebration as the Persians call it meaning the New Day, goes on for two weeks and on the thirteenth day all families go out to picnic (this is April fool’s day..)
They grow wheat as mark of regrowth and colour eggs etc. This tradition also belongs to Nordic European people as well (Celtic, Saxon..), but the Persian/ Iranian nation is the only nation which has saved and kept this old
Indo-European tradition.

Thank you Paymaan, for your

By daisyrothschild on March 21

Thank you Paymaan, for your elucidating post! I had forgotten the Persian new year, and I should know better; I had some lovely friends and coworkers, a couple of whom were Zoroastrian, and were kind enough to school me in the traditions you mentioned. (Incredibly intelligent computer geeks, I liked working with them.:) I didn't know that colouring eggs was part of the traditions though, that is great to know. Truly part of the great cradle of civilization. My boss said it had traditionally been not Patriarchy, but more of a Matrilineal and Goddess based religion originally. Do you know if that is true? Many thanks, and happy Newruz!

When you say Croats do tou

By Rosemary T. Barnwell on March 20

When you say Croats do tou refer to people of Croatia? These folks are not Iranian, as I understand it. Please clarify.

A beautiful tradition. I have

By Nelson nemeth on March 20

A beautiful tradition. I have met several people from Iran and all are very proud of their Persian heritage. I hope to someday visit your country.
Happy spring/new year.

Happy spring to you..

By Paymaan on March 20

Happy spring to you..

I have not tried the egg

By Jan Thurston on March 19

I have not tried the egg yet,but I do know that a broom will stand up straight by itself. Try It!

Brooms WILL stand by itself.

By peep on March 20

Brooms WILL stand by itself. A couple years ago I was working in a grocery store the night of the equinox. I walked down the aisle, took 6 brooms down and stood them up through the middle of the aisle. I have a picture here someplace. It worked for 2 more nights, then on the 3rd night they wouldn't stand anymore. you should have seen the look on the guy's face that was running the floor buffer when he rounded the corner.

HOW does a broom stand up by

By cari castaneda on March 20

HOW does a broom stand up by itself?????

Geeze....don't you women have

By Ellen12345 on March 20

Geeze....don't you women have anything better to do but take each other down ? Obviously rich and .......

Funny how everyone is so up

By Melody Locke on March 19

Funny how everyone is so up in arms over such a point. My daughter and family live in New Zealand and the first day of winter is officially December 1st. I do understand the explanation of the equinox and solstice are referring to the Northern Hemisphere, however, as we all can see, the rites of the passage of each season coincides on a calendar and in MOST of our minds as on or around the 21st of March, June, September and December. NZ was founded as NZ rather than the Maori Aotearoa with the settlers and explorers that were Dutch & British and many of their current customs coincide with the UK. Strange to me to see this difference.

Well, the difference you cite

By A.Friend on March 20

Well, the difference you cite is the difference between Astronomical reckoning and Meteorological reckoning.

Astronomical reckoning is based on the tilt of the earth relative to the sun: Spring and Autumn start as the earth's tilt has the sun striking directly onto the Equator, Winter and Summer start as the earth's tilt has the sun striking directly onto the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. (And, yes, all seasons are reversed in Southern Hemisphere vs. Northern Hemisphere.)

Meteorological reckoning is based on the (full) months when temperatures *normally* most reflect the season. Thus (in Northern Hemisphere) "Meteorological Summer" is June/July/August, "Meteorological Winter" is Dec/Jan/Feb, and spring and fall filling appropriately.

So, regionally, some cultures may be more inclined to refer/default to Astronomical reckoning and other regions/cultures refer/default to Meteorological reckoning.

Thank you! A great, complete

By Melody Locke on March 20

Thank you! A great, complete and intelligent response! I appreciate any opportunity to learn and you have taught me something new today. A. Friend, indeed.

Strictly, most of the things

By Laurie Silverman on March 20

Strictly, most of the things we associate with Spring are neither astronomical nor meteorological, but biological - more specifically botanical (such as flowers appearing) and zoological (such as birds nesting). Of course, these are influenced by the weather but they are not determined by it in any short time period. When the weather doesn't correspond to our ordinary understand of a season we say the season is early or late or didn't happen at all that year. That is how humans, as against robots, think about the world around them.

Of course, that is to say

By Melody Locke on March 19

Of course, that is to say December 1st is their first day of SUMMER, when we are going into winter, to clarify.

How sad that a beautiful

By Moonhunter13 on March 19

How sad that a beautiful thought like the beginning of Spring causes all these ridiculous arguments. The question the article posed was a discussion of the changing patterns we are noticing this time of year. I can appreciate the positives and negatives that come with each distinct season being from northern Canada.
I have been hearing a new bird song...tweee/tweee...tweee/tweee.... that I haven't heard all winter, just started to hear it this week and I thought it was quite beautiful and uplifting.

Thanks for your comment, I

By Sonja Franklin on March 19

Thanks for your comment, I too am loving the birds returning here in Montana, it has been such a long winter it was a relief to see a Robin running in my yard,,,,have a great spring!

Although it is easy to carry

By Jerry Rubin

Although it is easy to carry phases from one generation to many others...."THE SUN DOES NOT RISE, NOR DOES IT SET". Get over it.

Sunrise and sunset are

By Laurie Silverman on March 18

Sunrise and sunset are phenomenological, not astronomical, events. We see these events as surely as we see eclipses and more than we *see* Moon landings. You can even look up the times when they happen in almanacs.The obsession with astronomical definitions of common human experiences is as pagan as astrology.

Isn't that the definition of

By rlj on March 20

Isn't that the definition of astronomical - to do with celestial objects such as the sun, moon and stars?

I'm not sure how you can

By KR on March 18

I'm not sure how you can suggest the apparent rising and setting of the sun is NOT an astronomical event. All motions of the sky are 100% astronomical. Just because humans experience it does not mean that science doesn't drive it. In fact, the entire universe, and all that occurs in it is scientific phenomena. And of course you can look up the times the sun sets and rises in an almanac.....they have been mathematically calculated by............. uh, lets see.....who are they again? Oh yeah, ASTRONOMERS! I'm not sure what the ramblings about eclipses and moon landings had to do with any of this, but yes I agree we do see them. There is no obsession with astronomical definitions, and suggesting it is pagan really explains all of this. Its just another example of individuals being unable to grasp the explanations of the world around them, while still holding onto their faith. They do not need to be separated, in fact for many of us one only strengthens the other. The bottom line is that everything you see in the sky, and everything associated with seasons can be explained by science. Do not limit your creator to magic. My creator created everything, including science. He/she gave me a logical, problem solving mind, yet has not asked that I forego its use. My creator is most likely the first, and greatest scientist ever! People need to get over being hung up on language, and just enjoy the "inconceivable nature, of nature." I stole that quote from Richard Feynman.

In your original post you

By Laurie Silverman on March 18

In your original post you said, quote: "THE SUN DOES NOT RISE, NOR DOES IT SET." In you latest you speak of the "apparent" rising and setting of the sun. Apparent means what appears (to us), and that is what is meant by phenomenological. You then talk about "scientific phenomena". Phenomena are by definition phenomenological. In fact, there are no "scientific phenomena". Phenomena are just that - what we perceive. Scientist try to explain and predict phenomena (and much that does not appear besides), and they often do so successfully. But that does not make the phenomena themselves "scientific", any more than it makes the Creator a scientist. Science (like Math) is a human creation. Feynman never made or supported these kinds of conceptual errors.
I do not believe in magic, but some scientists appear to do so.

Your all lost. Astronomy

By KR

Your all lost. Astronomy absolutely defines trhe seasons, and always has. You are too hung up on high sun and low sun and what beginnings and ends mean. This is why an understanding of our place in the universe is so darn important. Just beacause it doesn't jive with your definition does not make it incorrect. The equinoxes and soltices are absolutely the beginnings of seasons. Our ancestors knew this, and so we should try to be as understanding of nature as they were. By the way, to suggest that the astronomical dates do not change is just plain silly and uneducated. Simply google "The precession of the equinoxes" to see that the dates do change. Do not be so hung up on when birdies lay and hatch eggs, and when flowers bloom. The flowers in my front yard may begin sprouting next week, however my neighbor's may not start for two weeks after that. It surely is not spring just on my side of the street! The real explanation? Differing species of flowers. I think too many of you may be too vain to believe that YOUR definition os seasons does not match that of the cosmos. Incidentally, there is winter, spring, summer, and fall on Mars. But no life blooming and fading. Just position of the celectial equator and ecliptic. You know, the TRUE definition of seasons!

I rather think it's you who

By Laurie Silverman on March 18

I rather think it's you who are hung up on astronomy. The seasons are defined by common human experiences on Earth, not by star-gazing. Spring *means* the season when flowers and leaves (re)appear, birds nest, lambs are born, etc. By age-old convention, the months of Spring are March, April and May, although that may vary over time and place (and in the Southern hemisphere it is Autumn/Fall). Fall is the opposite of Spring - the season in which leaves fall. That is why it is called Fall. "Vernal" is the Latin for "of Spring". The vernal equinox occurs "during" Spring. It is not its beginning, except for the astronomically obsessed.

Yes, I suppose you would say

By KR on March 18

Yes, I suppose you would say that I, an astronomer, am hung up on astronomy. But certainly understand that what humans have come to call winter, spring, summer, and fall has been occurring for billions of years before humans roamed this rock, and certainly before the words to describe the weather changes that occur after that position in space has been reached. Remember that it takes time for Earth to absorob the more direct sunlight, so the weather patterns, bloomings, and animal behaviors take some time to occur as well. It is simply silly and childish to suggest that "spring" occurs at a different moment for every individual organism, and for each individual region. Clearly the flowers have not stopped blooming in Florida, so when does spring start for them? And yes, I am absolutely hung up on astronomy. It is the most enriching, and beautiful field of study that can be taken on. I certainly hope for all of you that you can look up into the night sky, and appreciate the majestic beauty, vastness, and immensity of it.

The seasons are concepts and

By Laurie Silverman on March 18

The seasons are concepts and require beings capable of conceptualizing to exist as such - ie "come to be called" what they are by humans. The natural occurrences that are referenced by the concepts were certainly there before they were conceptualized as Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. But to say they existed as such before they were conceived is certainly silly.
Just get used to the fact that human beings rely on their senses (as, ultimately, do scientists) to determine what season they are in. And, yes, their onset varies. Astronomical events occur in seasons that had long been and still are defined without reference to them. The summer solstice is an astronomical event that occurs in Summer as commonly understood. Likewise the vernal equinox in Spring. "Vernal" means "in Spring". The seasons do not take their names or meanings from those astronomical events. The astronomical events take their names (though not their meaning) from the seasons.

I completely agree with your

By KR on March 18

I completely agree with your last line. Of course the events take the names from what humans have experienced (as do all things we have given names to). But certainly the seasons would still happen if there were no beings here to experience them, or give them names. Obviously we rely on our senses for everything we do or think, however this is way off point. Earlier posts suggested that the sun cannot be highest in the sky on the first day of summer, that it has to be the middle of the summer. I would think you would assign the mid point to warmest average temperatures. Your argument is true if you are imagining the season to be a bell curve of solar angle. The season can start with the sun having its highest angle above the horizon, just as a marathon starts with the greatest distance left to be run. As stated earlier, it takes time for the earth to absorb the direct radiation and warm, or conversely to lose heat as the radiation becomes more indirect. I suppose it is best to agree that we do not agree with the semantics. At the end of the day, neither one of our lives will be worse for our personal definition of the seasons. I will continue to hold to the scientific definition, the right one :) and you will continue to hold to your definition. As is often said, "the great thing about science is it's true, whether you believe it or not."

Do you really imagine that I

By Laurie Silverman on March 19

Do you really imagine that I doubt the science of the equinoxes and solstices? Boy, have you got me wrong! The point is that you can not logically make these the definitive basis for how we understand the seasons. Seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter - are human constructs that reference all manner of natural phenomena, of which the equinoxes and solstices are but a small part. That is a fact that real scientists perfectly well understand. It is true, whether you believe it or not.

Thanks, Celtblood. I used the

By D_Graf

Thanks, Celtblood. I used the weather example to reinforce my point, which just confused it.I'll try to explain my thoughts on it.
On Mar.20st the days and nights are equal and continue to get longer until June. In my opinion, all else aside, June marks the end of the season because the days begin to become shorter, the beginning of Autumn. In Sept, again, days are equal and continue until the end of Winter in December. In Dec the days begin getting longer, at last, the start of Spring, in March which of course will lead to Summer. I'm sure that most have a differing opinions. But just because everyone calls it Spring doesn't change the logic. Have a great Summer. Peace

Indeed it is so; just as when

By daisyrothschild on March 18

Indeed it is so; just as when in June the news commentators wax poetically upon the start of Summer, I pine; technically it is the beginning of Winter, as the days start getting shorter from the Solstice on. Then again, at the Winter Solstice, when everyone is grey and downtrodden, I rejoice as the days creep longer toward Summer!

Oh spring, where are you?

By Debbie53

Oh spring, where are you? The calendar says only eight more days, but with three feet of snow on the ground and more falling, I think you won't get here until June.

The idea that the vernal

By Laurie Silverman

The idea that the vernal equinox is the first day of Spring is nonsense. If it were so, common expressions like 'Spring has come early' and 'it's a late Spring this year' would have no meaning since the equinox does not move about. The concept of Spring has nothing to do with the vernal equinox or any other astrological events. It is the opposite of Fall. It is when flowers spring forth and leaves open after Winter - ' For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land', Song of Solomon, 2:11-12.
In the Norther Hemisphere, the conventional period of Spring is the Months of March, April and May, after which comes Summer.

Vernal Equinox is the first

By celtblood

Vernal Equinox is the first day of Spring based on astronomical data. The same applies to other astronomical seasons, it may not feel at all like Spring, but the position of the Sun and the Earth dictate the astronomical time frame, not the weather conditions in a particular area. If we went by how the temperatures feel and what the weather conditions are, there would be no rhyme nor reason to calculating the seasons. It might be Spring in one state and Winter in the next, while further South it might already be Summer.

I can only repeat that the

By Laurie Silverman

I can only repeat that the idea of Spring and when it begins has nothing to do with the Vernal Equinox but has to do with the renewal of life on Earth for both flora and fauna, The *Vernal* Equinox takes its name from Spring in the commonly accepted sense, not the reverse. ('Vernal' means Spring.) It happens *in" the Spring, not at its beginning. The same is true of the Summer Solstice, which is on 'Mid-Summer Day' - ie in the midst of Summer, not its beginning. And, of course, Summer in the Northern hemisphere is Winter in the Southern, whatever name is given to the solstice. This obsession with astronomical definitions of the seasons is a modern dogma. I would rather call it *astrological* because of its connections with supposedly ancient rituals like those at Stonehenge (and even more in Celtic lands), most of which originated in the Nineteenth Century as part of the Romantic Movement in literature, art and music. There is certainly no science in it, only scientism, which we should be better off without.

You are exactly correct

By celtblood

You are exactly correct regarding the Summer Solstice, and are apparently one of the few who really "gets" that it falls in the middle of Summer, and is not by any means when Summer "starts". (Even this site has yet to get it right, and they should be the ones to show all the other almanacs what is right, all things considered.)

As in the case of the Vernal Equinox, and considering the fact that those of us in the 21st century have, to a very large degree, completely lost touch with our agrarian roots and often misunderstand or misinterpret the seasonal cycles, many tend to confuse the Solstices with the start of the seasons. Actually, the Solstices mark the middle or high point (Summer) and low point (Winter) of light and darkness. WS is the shortest point of daylight hours in the year and SS is the point of longest light, the apex of the Summer season, which actually begins on the first of May, just as Winter begins on the first of November.

As in the case of the Vernal Equinox, these are dates are based on the astronomical movements of the Earth and planets, so the weather may not seem in accordance with the true beginning of the season. I agree with you in that the Vernal Equinox may yet be cold and snowy, or even icy, and that it may not feel like Spring until up in April.

The astronomical model offers us a well regulated system by which to mark the seasonal changes, while the local weather patterns bring the seasons home at different times for different places.

I'm really not sure about where you get the notion that astronomy is not scientific, or that the ancients did not observe the astronomical Solstice (if you read up on it, Stonehenge serves as a calendar of sorts, and is amazingly accurate at marking the Summer Solstice due to its' design).

Alas, everyone has an opinion, and you are more than welcome to follow your own.

We may have lost touch with

By Laurie Silverman

We may have lost touch with our agrarian roots but I don't think we have stopped noticing when flowers and leaves start appearing, birds start nesting, and many other signs of the beginning of Spring in the normal human sense. And we still talk about Spring being early or late, so we can't be thinking about the Vernal Equinox when we say it.
I did not say that Astronomy was not a science, which it plainly is. But Astrology is certainly not a science (even if some think it is), and as you may see from other posts (including some of your own), the cycle of the seasons is commonly associated with astrological interpretations of astronomical events. That is not science, it is scientism - the pretense of a scientific basis for such interpretations.

Actually, that was my point,

By celtblood

Actually, that was my point, in that one can only look to the astronomical designations for these seasonal cycles, since the blooming of leaves and flowers and the nesting of birds occurs at so many different times, in so many different places. To clarify, I understand your point regarding the observable manifestation of the seasons, I was just saying the astronomical points remain the accurate measure of those seasons.

The same applies to the modern tendency to think of the Summer Solstice as the "beginning" of the Summer season. Most modern calendars, and even most TV meteorologists, will say 21 June, for example, is when Summer starts. As we have both stated, this is dead wrong. The Summer cannot start when the Sun and the seasonal tides begin to wane, it's a contradiction. We'd may as well say Christmas starts on Christmas night and not on Christmas morning. At least on that point, it seems we are both in absolute agreement.

I would also have to argue that astrology does indeed have its' scientific elements, especially considering the fact that our modern astronomy developed from the old science of astrology, same as our modern pharmacology developed from the old practises of herbal healing, and metallurgy developed from alchemy. There was a time when these practises went hand in hand, and were one in the same. Since astrology is based on the astronomical positions of the planets and their movements, I would call that a scientific element, even if it's only based on the observation of the movements. The interpretation of those movements and their alleged effect on us are, admittedly, debatable and not reliable science in the modern sense, but charting horoscopes by calculating the correct positions of the stars and planets, I would think, is indeed an effort founded in science.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I really don't mean to be argumentative.

You miss the point entirely.

By Laurie Silverman

You miss the point entirely. Spring is *defined* as the season when flowers and leaves (re)appear, birds nest, etc. That is what Spring means. And, yes, it starts at different times in different places and in different years. For that reason the start of Spring can not be fixed by any astronomical event such as the vernal equinox, which will occur *at some time* in Spring, just as the Summer Solstice occurs at some time in Summer. That is how human beings relate to the world around them. Most know nothing about equinoxes or solstices, though no doubt they pick up references to them in their diaries, newspapers and other media and regard them in much the same way as their "star signs" and other astrological nonsense.

It seems to me that you have

By celtblood on March 18

It seems to me that you have some rather extreme anger issues when it comes to astrology, and even astronomy. That is your choice, and you are welcome to it.

Let us, then, simply agree to disagree and leave it at that. I think we've danced long enough, and there really isn't much left to add. So you go ahead and consider the first day of Spring to be whenever the weather suits and the flowers happen to bloom in your particular area, and I'll continue to use the equinox as the sign post that serves as the harbinger of Spring in my part of the world.

I am curious about one other point. If, as so often happens here in the lower Midwest, the flowers happen to bloom one week, with the leaves coming on and the birds singing, then the next week we get hit with, say, three inches of snow and some ice, does that mean it's suddenly Winter again? Do the seasons just switch back and forth in your part of the world, sort of like an Ed Wood movie, where within an hour it can be day time, then switch to night, and then suddenly switch back to day time again?

I agree that there is no

By Laurie Silverman on March 19

I agree that there is no point in continuing with this discourse. But contrary to what you think about my position, far from being in any way against astronomy or science generally, my concern is to defend Science - real SCience - against those who abuse it by trying to scientise common everyday human experience. That is scientism.
Your own post should have made it clear to you that the beginning of Spring can not be precisely defined, even in one place, let alone across the globe, and it is absurd to pretend that it can. The precision of the date of the vernal equinox apparently gives you the false impression that it can. Is that because you can't stomach the imprecision and general messiness of real life and find deceptive refuge in the precision of Science?

All I can say is that, in my

By celtblood on March 19

All I can say is that, in my humble opinion, the astronomical points mark the seasons, even though the seasonal time frames may indeed have variable weather patterns in different areas and regions. The position of the Sun and the seasonal positions of the Earth are, to my thinking, the true markers of the seasonal tides. The weather in our particular region may not fit the season precisely (and may indeed vary greatly), but the seasonal changes are there, none the less. I think you're attempting to redefine science in a very unscientific way, by focusing on the immediate climatic conditions outside your door while virtually ignoring the astronomical cycles which bring the seasonal changes in the first place.

Again, that is your right, if that's how you choose to see it all. It just seems mighty illogical to prefer such an imbalanced and inconsistent way of measuring the seasons.

Again, I ask-- if you're going to mark the seasons based on the weather you see outside and in your immediate area, do they alternate back and forth, as in from Spring back to Winter, then back to Spring? What if we hit Summer in May and get a sudden surge of Arctic air which results in snow? Are those areas which receive snow suddenly back to Winter, while the others are still in early Summer, or if it got cooler but they didn't get snow, do they go back to Spring until it gets warmer? I am sincerely curious about your views on this.

I would say the beginning of Spring can, indeed, be precisely defined by astronomical calculations, though (obviously) the local weather conditions remain variable from one region to another, and even from one area to another within each region. You may call it scientism and say it isn't truly scientific, but it seems pretty scientific to me.

I take issue with saying this

By D_Graf

I take issue with saying this is the beginning of Spring. I'm in central Calif and in June and the end of the season, the temperature can be in the triple digits and the days are getting longer. As I see it, if the temperature now is mild, not freezing, and getting hotter, then Spring is past. When Spring starts and Winter ends,the temperature is usually at it's coldest and starts getting warmer and longer. In June, the FIRST DAY OF AUTUMN, the days start getting shorter and cooler.
I don't know if this explains my logic and I'm sure most people won't agree, including the goverment. Have a great FIRST FEW DAYS OF SUMMER!

I love this website. Feel

By bluebird girl

I love this website. Feel like I have stumbled onto a treasure. I'm out the door for my broom right now. My son and I did the egg in Atlanta years ago. Fun.

I live in New York State and

By JTlove

I live in New York State and I feed the blue jays and northern cardinals that live around here year round. When it becomes very cold and snowy in the winter they do not sing except for an occasional call note. They eat but they do not sing! When Spring is about to begin the blue jays and cardinals will begin to sing and sing and sing. I adore them. Also, the beautiful crocus will begin blooming because crocus is an early bloomer and surely to me another sign of Spring. The scent in the air in the woods near my home changes from a scent in the winter which to me smells like snow all the time to a lighter, scent of renewed greenery. The summer scent seems rather heavy when bogged down by too much humidity and the autumn smells like the colorful leaves that accumulate on the ground from maples and oaks and give off a musky but pleasant odor. I love all the seasons and I feel fortunate to live in a region that has the ever changing beauty of all four seasons. I don't think I could live happily in a place that has but one long season such as always hot.

Anything that has multiple

By Rob van Hemert

Anything that has multiple points of contact with a hard surface should be able to be balanced and be freestanding. A broom with hard bristles should be easier to balance than one with soft pliable bristles. Also, the juxtaposition of the handle to the bristles can make a difference but should be able to be overcome. I fail to see the sun's affect on this issue except if its done outdoors and the heat of the sun softens the bristles. You also have to factor in air movement and direction in order to overcome the effect this may have on the freestanding broom. The story of the broom levitation is remarkable, if true, but I also wonder what he was smoking at the time.

On the first day of Spring, a

By billschnier

On the first day of Spring, a male bluebird kept repeatedly coming to my sliding glass patio door and pecking at it. I hope he was the "bluebird of happiness."

Indeed it is,a sign from

By Erarius Publicum

Indeed it is,a sign from Heaven....it means that you and me are blessed chosen creatures of angels above,who take this appearance of peacefull birds for the bestowed ones that receive such honorable visitors,I have one too,cames every morning for seed birds I place at my window...but beware of black birds crowling that crah,crah crah sound...they mean disgrace,defeat,pestilences and perils aproaching....a good prayer to saint Anselm will scary these menaces away,back to darknesses...

Nay, the dark birds are as

By daisyrothschild on March 18

Nay, the dark birds are as beautiful as canaries. They signal nothing evil nor ominous nor pestilential... that is Hollywood and rumor. Ravens and Crows in particular are very intelligent birds, Corvids, who are clever, can imitate many other sounds, and solve puzzles. The day that several arrived on my apple tree, got my attention by caw caw! then said as plain as day, "hello?!" was to me the same blessing as pretty birds are to some. They come back and are very gentle, they eat hard boiled eggs, peanuts, and cooked chicken, and dunk them in the birdbath. One made an eggdrop soup out of it (I had to put boiling water, it was 15 below, it didn't stay hot long!) They hold an intelligence to the level of roughly a 3 year old child. And... they chase off the hawks that will prey upon your songbirds at feeders. So be kind to the dark beauties, they have a place here for us in their hearts too.

I got up this morning, I

By WillyAK

I got up this morning, I believe I dusted my broom

How silly,willy....I dust my

By Erarius Publicum

How silly,willy....I dust my broom at my wife every day,except on her birthday....it´s a way to sending strong message to remember the fragile sex where they belong: to the Master and to the kitchen...I do not know why I castigate her,but she surely does.....

Willy, you may not be aware

By Gene Nagy

Willy, you may not be aware of the origin of "dusting my broom". The blues song actually goes: I got up this morning and I believe I'll dust my broom." It is my understanding that "DUSTING ONE'S BROOM' has a sinister connotation in that it may mean a disciplinary action by a man hitting a woman with a broom for being unfaithful. I wonder how true this is... Have to look in the blues history books.

No Wonder I feel so good. Its

By Drew2075

No Wonder I feel so good. Its My Birthday and Ill cry if I want to. Have lots of Spring in my Step this morning. Good morning To All.... Have a Wonderful Day!

Happy Birthday, Drew!

By celtblood

Happy Birthday, Drew!

I could never balance my

By Mr. Logical

I could never balance my checkbook until today (vernal equinox 2013) and I was standing in my kitchen when I did it! It must all be true. ;)

Diamonds really sparkle today

By Harvard Grad

Diamonds really sparkle today but the egg trick next to the broom after morning but this was just silly as we sat and waited for the turn but it never happened so we just went back to the broom and there it was and Stacy said she saw it. Too weird...

Explain that Rick??? LOL...good luck Sean

My friend *Anna* stands

By Gainesville Gator

My friend *Anna* stands brooms up all the time and leaves them at the store in the middle of the aisle that way. The looks on peoples faces is awesome. So funny..

Witches can do

By Erarius Publicum

Witches can do that,pronouncing spells of malevolence and dreadfull scary augurs....your friend must be an Anna Konda,a terrible serpent which encarneted Satan when tempting Eve in the garden of Eden....

All your broom are belong to

By CATS

All your broom are belong to us!

Somebody set us up the egg!

By Astroboy

Somebody set us up the egg!

THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF

By VIOLETVISIONS

THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF SPRING: "Imbolc or Imbolg (pronounced i-MOLK or i-MOLG ), also called (Saint) Brighid’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Bríde, Scottish Gaelic: Là Fhèill Brìghde, Manx: Laa’l Breeshey), is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is held on 31 January–1 February, or halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox." THINK YOU MIGHT BE WILLING TO SET YOUR WEBSITE ARIGHT?

Hmmm, you contradict

By VAHiker

Hmmm, you contradict yourself. You state that the beginning of spring is the Gaelic festival, but then state it's halfway between the winter solstice and the SPRING solstice. The solstice marks the actual start of spring not a festival.

Actually, no, I believe they

By daisyrothschild on March 18

Actually, no, I believe they said it was halfway between the equinox and the solstice, not between the solstices. For people who follow the Celtic religions, Imbolc is one of 4 original yearly holidays, the others being Beltaine (May 1) Lughnasad (a sun/harvest festival) Aug 1 and Samhain (Halloween), Oct 31/Nov 1. This is considered by many to be Celtic New Year, instead of January 1. Notice there is one festival every 3 months, or quarterly. (Some of the other adopted Pagan holidays such as Yule, Ostara (Easter) and so on...were of Germanic/Nordic origin, however, some people celebrate them as well, but they weren't originally followed by the Celtic peoples. Sign me- student of comparative religions & mythologies Peace

The Celtic New Year is

By celtblood on March 20

The Celtic New Year is actually Samhain, better known now as Hallowe'en or the evening before All Hallows. Samhain marks the death of Summer and the birth of Winter, as the Celts divided their annual cycle into halves as well as quarters and cross-quarters, the two halves being Summer and Winter.

As for Imbolc, it marks the first stirrings of Spring, but remains a seasonal Winter festival (the last one prior to the Spring Equinox). Ostara or the Vernal/Spring Equinox is the first Spring festival, and May Day or Beltane is the first day of the Summer season, with the Summer Solstice being the middle or high point of the Summertime, when the Suns' energy reaches its' zenith and begins waning, with the days growing shorter and the trek moving back into Autumn, toward Winter.

To clarify this, one could view Imbolc as either a Winter or Spring festival, or both. It takes place when the Winter is still on us, but it marks the first stages of Spring, based upon the agrarian events taking place around that time, such as the lambing season, preparing for the Spring ploughing, etc.

And before I get chastised again, these are, indeed, the astronomical designations of the seasons, marked by the position of the Earth in its' annual cyclical orbit in relation to the Sun... and yes, it is scientific. The local weather is another matter entirely, and is not necessarily effected by the astronomical progression of Earth and Sun.

Nicely elaborated upon!

By daisyrothschild on March 21

Nicely elaborated upon! Thankyou. Well said. As someone who's lived in both SoCalifornia (where there are practically no visible signs of season change) and moving to Colorado, where the latest snow of the year I recall was a blizzard on Memorial Day, I definitely prefer the wild variations on the latter. But that's just because I like extreme weather.

So do I, though here in

By celtblood on March 21

So do I, though here in Kentucky the Summer can be brutally hot... that part I'm not too fond of at all, but I do like the change of seasons and watching the garden as the changes effect it year to year. We got a decent Winter here for once in a long time (though it was late), so I'm hoping the soil will do better than it has in a while. Hope you have a great Spring and a wonderful year!

It's been anything but a mild

By Mark AS

It's been anything but a mild winter here in central New England. January was typically very cold, and since the second week of February, we've had about 60 inches of snow. (with maybe 6-12 more inches tomorrow night). But as I write this, I calculate there's about sixty hours left of winter. And I've always said it doesn't matter half as much what it's doing outside as what the calendar says. And the calendar says it's Spring on Wednesday. Ah, Spring. Yeah, baby!

I'm living in Western KY next

By downs74

I'm living in Western KY next to the Ohio River. My jonquils have been blooming for two weeks. The last two winters here have been mild and we are now designated zone 7 by the "experts" who determine these things. We were zone 6b. Global warming? Another debatable issue. I am 74 and I know the weather patterns are greatly different than they were in my youth so something IS happening on this earth.

We're in north central

By celtblood

We're in north central Kentucky (not far from Louisville), and I can attest to the fact that this is the first Winter that's been even remotely normal for at least two decades, based on the last fifty years or so. It's been a very welcome thing, considering that the soil quality has been steadily deteriorating, and the insect population increasing to a very noticable extent. My hope is that (a) having actually HAD Winter this year (though it started late), it will help improve the soil and kill off some of the insects and (b) that the global warming we've all witnessed is, indeed, a cyclical phenomenon rather than one caused by human recklessness.

I don't doubt that a lot of our practises are not good for the planet, especially the massive deforestation we're responsible for. But from what I've read, there have been times in history where the carbon levels have been much higher than they are now, and things went back to a colder trend. The most important thing is balance. It seems many want to take the position that warm is good and cold is bad. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each is essential in its' season, which is why the richest portion of the farm belt lies in areas which are balanced by Summer and Winter.

Crazy so many places are mild

By Ugod02010

Crazy so many places are mild and getting ready for spring I live just about an hr east of Pittsburgh and we are below average lows. We barely make it past 35 or so. Last weekend we had 2 days that were almost 50 but then right back to teens and low 20s in the am. So count your blessings guys

Here in WV two things really

By Rhonda Ryniawec

Here in WV two things really speak spring to me, the peeping of the frogs on the pond and the return of the red-winged blackbird. I dearly love them both.

Hey WV, wonderful!

By starbaby

Hey WV, wonderful!

Azaleas are in bloom in deep

By Fireball

Azaleas are in bloom in deep South Georgia and the Bluebirds are more active. It's Springtime !

Greetings to all my American

By Houland Wolfe

Greetings to all my American cousins, from the social democratic paradise that exists on your Far North (i.e. Canada). Toronto, Ontario also had a mild winter with perhaps 1/10th the snow of New York City. I prefer the brisk, sunny days of March to the high heat and humidity of July. I beg the gods of Climate Change to keep our summer on the cool side. Warm regards (but not too warm).

Warm regards, Cousins and

By daisyrothschild on March 21

Warm regards, Cousins and Cousines, our French relatives are still there! I marvel that so many folks like living so far north, yet how bizarre our winter has been when we usually get over 300 days of sunshine. In some places we were colder this year, fifteen below in Denver, more with windchill. Yesterday, 70 and the crocus finally bloom a little, many of our migrating birds have disappeared, so they must be winging their way back to you; it must be warmer right around the corner.

The good old Earth, each year

By Unkla Noonziand

The good old Earth, each year it renews its promise to bring its mildness and sweetness and life to us. The dear Earth.

North TX has experienced a

By Bekca

North TX has experienced a 'normal' winter, seasonal snow, sleet and rain but for me, has been more uncomfortable than usual (debates are whether more or less humidity affects one's tolerence to cold.) We've had some warm days tho' with robins arriving, black birds migrating, and several pairs of cardinals returning and nesting, signaling spring is closer for our part of the state. Experts recommending holding off applying fertilizer since ground hasn't warmed up for growing because of fewer sunny winter days.

In my neck of the woods, you

By mr. chippy

In my neck of the woods, you know that Spring is here when you see your first chipmunk. Last year it was March 17. Hope it's sooner than that this year!

Around here, in North Texas

By oteka1965

Around here, in North Texas near the panhandle, I know it's nearly spring when my grape hyacinths show green leaves and start to send up shoots. We've got green but no shoots just yet. Might get another cold snap or two this year. Or so say the hyacinths, lol.

Okie Girl I live southeast of

By watosh

Okie Girl I live southeast of you in Arkansas and we are still having to bring in the brass monkey at night.

The moon controls the oceans,

By Merlink

The moon controls the oceans, who is controlling the broom . Better call ghost busters hehehe

You can balance a raw egg on

By D Wang

You can balance a raw egg on its wide end any day of the year, not just the equinox.

The 16th of March has a day

By FaeirieKatherine

The 16th of March has a day length of 11:59 hours. This is about as close as you can get to equal day/night length and should rightly be called the vernal equinox. I am wondering if the 20th is just a traditional date for simplicity's sake and is really not the scientific equinox!

I noticed this also. Were

By Virginia L.

I noticed this also. Were there any replies?

I chuckled at the photo of

By enantiodromia

I chuckled at the photo of the American robin in signs of spring. Most American robins do not migrate very far; they simply shift locally due to a change in their feeding habits (from worms in your yards to the berries on trees). If you want to find them in the dead of winter you have only to go so far as the deep woods nearby.

For birds, a better sign of impending spring in most locations is to visit your local marsh and see if there are Red-winged Blackbirds. They're truly long-distance migratory birds that are easily identifiable by sight and song.

To, the robin is still a

By Andy Fox

To, the robin is still a great symbol of spring. Though some varieties will spend the whole winter in their breeding range, many do not. And those that stay tend to roost up in trees and not spend much time in the yard. So, when you see them tugging at worms in your yard, THAT is a symbol of spring.

Actually..the most accurate

By aprilmn

Actually..the most accurate thing I found is watching the mesquite bushes (I'm from west Texas) once you see them bloom, its spring...no more frosts have ever came past that point.

I Live in ohio and it is hit

By Sapphire miracle

I Live in ohio and it is hit and miss here. The begining of December we had 50-70 degree weather then it was cold for a while, January was 20-70 degree weather. So far February 1st and 2nd we have had snow storms leaving 2-5 inches of snow and temperatures in the teens. In Cincinnati Ohio our motto is if you do not like the weather today wait until tomorrow!!!

it does work with the egg I

By Rose ga

it does work with the egg I had done that many times also when from fall to winter it happens the same thing. it's pretty cool special if u make bets hehehehe... also is a nice way to teach why that happen.

Take a dozen eggs and place

By Soy Nadie

Take a dozen eggs and place them in an egg carton with the pointed end straight up. Let them set for about a week. Almost 100% will stand on the large end -- the reason: The yolk will settle to the lowest part of the egg. If the egg is left in the carton with just a slight tilt, the egg will not stand. This will work at any time of year and has nothing to do with the position of the sun. In addition, the vernal equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator -- a long way south of us in North America.

The calendar has spring in

By comedienne missy wilson

The calendar has spring in tiny little words and if ya look it up theres nothing but loads of information eqinoxes and groundhoggs. No sense in trying to get a date of when springs supposed to be in session.

Seasons. (This applies to the

By Ol Rappaport

Seasons. (This applies to the Northern Hemisphere) Surely it's self-evident common sense that winter is the DARKEST quarter of the year, and summer is the LIGHTEST quarter of the year. This has nothing to do with weather. So winter last from early November to early February and summer starts in early May and ends in early August. These are roughly equivalent to the Celtic festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltaine and Lughnasadh.

I have pictures of eggs

By zedex99

I have pictures of eggs standing on end at the vernal equinox. We stood 7 of them. I'm at 49:40N, approx. I'll look for the pics and post one. It worked for my sons and me in 1977 or 78.

As to the folklore about eggs

By Astrobiologist

As to the folklore about eggs standing on end on the equinox, it is completely not true. Just a silly hold-back from days when a large proportion of people believed in astrology. Do a Google search for "bad astronomy egg" and the first link will take you to Phil Plait's website where he tells you how you can stand an egg on end on any day of the year.

From western Nebraska and,

By RODEONan

From western Nebraska and, for me, hearing and seeing the Western Meadowlark, the Kildeer and seeing ground squirrels let me know that Spring is here to stay :o) I don't go by the Robins since we have had some stay through the winter at times.

http://www.birdjam.com/birdso

By RODEONan

http://www.birdjam.com/birdsong.php?id=18

And I did hear a Kildeer yesterday morning :o) As well as seeing and hearing the Meadowlark, too ;o) Now for the ground squirrels

In Indiana, we have had a

By IndianaFarmerGal

In Indiana, we have had a very mild winter and an early spring. Out temperatures are at least 20 degrees above normal. This posing a huge dilemna. Do we plant in regards to current weather trends or go by the old farming rules of not planting before the first of May?.

I'm from NJ & the only snow

By njgram

I'm from NJ & the only snow we had was in Oct. except for a dusting or two.Our roses & butterfly bushes started budding early in Feb. I really did not miss Old Man Winter! :-)

SPRING????? Here in Southern

By C. M. Gal

SPRING?????
Here in Southern California it seems as if Winter has just started. 60 degrees yesterday and they say we will have the same for the next two weeks.

Here in Virginia the egg and

By Kay McCrickard

Here in Virginia the egg and the broom both are standing up.

We had 3 snows this year (not

By EastTennessee girl

We had 3 snows this year (not a lot of it either) All the tulips and iris have popped up early. Will probably have more thunderstorm than usual. Love the spring and fall of the year.

As Spring starts 20 March at

By Frank Shelton

As Spring starts 20 March at 1:14 AM EDT on the East coast does that mean it officially starts at 11:14 PM in Colorado on the 19th of March?

There is also an old saying

By ~jAcKiE~

There is also an old saying that washing your face in the morning dew the first day of Spring brings beauty:)

This custom was always

By Laurie Silverman on March 19

This custom was always associated with Mayday (May 1) in England when young folks went out a-maying - going out into into the woods at night to gather bunches of the mayflowers that appear on hawthorns at that time. A lot of so-called 'greenwood' marriages took place a few months later!
Girls would go into the meadows in the morning to soak up dew with pieces of cloth and wipe their faces with them to help attract a possible husband. However, Mayday is not regarded as the first day of Spring. May is regarded as the last month of Spring, not the first of Summer, which covers the months of June, July and August.

Actually, May Day is the

By celtblood on March 19

Actually, May Day is the first day of Summer, traditionally. Roughly six weeks from 1 May is the Midsummer, or Summer Solstice, and six weeks later we enter August, which marked the beginning of the harvest season, with the first breads being baked from the wheat that was coming in, which is why August Eve was called Lammas of "Loaf Mass".

Here you go again, trying to

By Laurie Silverman on March 20

Here you go again, trying to impose your peculiar ideas on the rest of humanity. Mayday is universally regarded as a "Spring* festival in the Northern hemisphere. May is the last of the Spring months, and June the first Summer month. Try googling Mayday or consulting some well-regarded authorities.And try and get over your strange obsession with equinoxes and solstices.

I'm not sure which sources

By celtblood on March 20

I'm not sure which sources you're Googling, but it's fairly simple to figure out. If (approximately, as it can vary) the 21st of June is Midsummer (as you yourself have correctly stated), then the beginning of Summer would have to be the first of May, as it has been celebrated by many cultures in the Northern hemisphere for quite a long time.

As for being obsessed with the Equinoxes and Solstices, it would seem to me that you're fairly obsessed with attacking their validity.

You could try Wikipedia for a

By Laurie Silverman on March 20

You could try Wikipedia for a start but there are numerous others. Or you could consult any number of books written over many centuries on the subject. Where Mayday is celebrated in the Northern hemisphere it is celebrated as a Spring festival and May is a Spring, not a Summer month. It is as simple as that.
"Mid-Summer" does not imply the exact calendrical day between the beginning and end of Summer, any more than "mid-Atlantic" implies the exact mid-point between Europe and America. Most humans do not think in such precise ways. They are not computers.

Nor do most humans adapt a

By celtblood on March 20

Nor do most humans adapt a lopsided or haphazard approach to measuring seasonal tides.

According to Wikipedia:
"The day (May Day) was a traditional summer holiday in many pre-Christian European pagan cultures. While February 1 was the first day of Spring, May 1 was the first day of summer; hence, the summer solstice on June 25 (now June 21) was Midsummer."

You apparently didn't read the article.

Now, I will be the first to admit that there are varied interpretations (just as I view Imbolc or Candlemas as the last Winter holiday in the old tradition because it falls within the Winter season, others likewise may view it as the first Spring holiday since it recognises the first stirrings of Spring within the Earth and the lengthening of days). And you are also correct in the idea that our forebears long ago, when most could not read or write and possibly did not have access to a calendar or almanac, recognised the seasonal manifestations at different times. No argument there. (Harvest Home, for example, is correctly observed in our 21st century on the Autumnal Equinox, but say a few centuries ago, especially in more remote communities, it was likely celebrated once the majority of the harvest was in... within the Autumn season, but not necessarily on a specific date.) However, those who did have access to the information and the astronomical science behind the seasonal cycles used it, just as I would think our less knowledgeable ancestors would have.

My point, again, is that while the weather in our region may not match the astronomical season, and while we may generalise the seasons with phrases such as, "Spring came late this year", scientifically the seasons manifest themselves like clockwork, astronomically, regardless of local weather patterns. Perhaps it would help to view the astronomical designations as turning points, or harbingers, of the seasonal changes, which would be reasonably accurate. After all, even though Winter begins in November, many areas are still enjoying Fall, some even with Summer-like temperatures.

I'm not saying I don't get your points, I just can't agree that the astronomical calculations which denote the seasonal changes are not scientific.

According to Wikipedia (and

By Laurie Silverman on March 20

According to Wikipedia (and others): May Day on May 1 is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday; it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures.
The references to Mayday as the first day of Summer elsewhere in the article appear to be edits by people who are under the same sorts of misunderstanding as you.
I have never said that the astronomical calculations of the equinoxes and solstices are not scientific. Of course they are, even though they were originally made by pre-scientific observers. What is not scientific is defining such common terms as Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter by them when they clearly relate to quite other things. Besides the weather, they are also defined with reference to a host of other natural occurrences which do not require any knowledge of Science (even botany and zoology). When the weather and these other occurrences do not match the astronomical data we say that the season is early or late or did not happen in that year. But that does not mean that we believe the astronomical events are early or late or did not happen. To conflate the two things and say that the astronomical events "denote" the seasons as commonly understood is what is called a category error and is to be avoided, as much in the interest of Science as common sense,
But enough of this.

Well, according to the books

By celtblood on March 20

Well, according to the books and materials in my library, May Day is the first day of Summer, but I agree we've fenced long enough on this one, and obviously will not find a common ground. Thanks for the spirited debate, it's been a lot of fun.

How do you collect the dew?

By MoonDancerLu13

How do you collect the dew? Sounds like it would take a few ounces

I didn't see much of a winter

By VBnative

I didn't see much of a winter here... I'm worried that summer is going to be awful. Is there any correlation ? And just to throw this out there, my stepson came home a few weeks ago and made the broom stand up on its own... Apparently this can be done anytime of the year.

Hi I live in SE England and

By Philip Hales

Hi
I live in SE England and we too have had a very mild Winter - what worries me the most about these are all the nasty bugs which should not be here and which should die over the Winter.

Ref. the eggs scenario - should this not only happen 3 days either side of the Vernal Equinox, which is today. It was the 21st, but apparently will be the 20th for the next hundred or so years.

Finally, we are holidaying in Gatlinburg, TN for the first 2 weeks of May, any Tennesseeans out there who can tell me what the weather will be like?

PS found the threads interesting.

If Spring begins on March 20

By CO Lady

If Spring begins on March 20 at 1:14 AM EST, does that mean it begins in MST at 11:14 pm March 19? When exactly does Spring begin in Colorado?

Having lived in both North

By Frank Shelton

Having lived in both North and South Dakota, I can verify that weather in Colorado is mild, even in the winter. :)

Eggs upright! - all across

By Asheville,NC

Eggs upright! - all across America! I put all 12 up, 3 of them standing on my cutting board, the others on the electric burner os my stove inspired by the almanac pic. 2 friends sent pics of theirs on flat shiny surfaces, another friend on her stove, my mom's in the corner of the tile, another on the tile floor. I also held it straight up & down in my hand. I could really feel it's energy pulling it into perfect balance. Don't give up! I couldn't quit once I got started. Where do I post all the pictures?

To address the misconception,

By frederick

To address the misconception, you can stand an egg on its head any time of the year. The seasons have absolutely nothing to do with it at all. It just depends on how flat your surface is how nicely shaped the egg is.

Our broom stands up in our

By PhotoRod

Our broom stands up in our broom closet until someone pulls it out and uses it. On the other hand, what came first, the spring equinox or the egg?

i stood an egg up and it

By mommaMugz

i stood an egg up and it stayed for a lil while then fell over. the broom works great tho. the eggs should balance as so when the equinox comes closer as the force would be stronger. so if you havent had any luck just be a lil patient.

I have never in my life been

By slingofreak1976

I have never in my life been able to balance anything and as the above post states... The broom and the egg are still standing beside me as I st here at the bar. I am in the Panhandle of Florida and its not March 20th however the objects still stand. I will continue to try this and see what happens! FIRM BELIEVER!!!

That is awesome! my son is

By okiegirl

That is awesome! my son is trying to get our broom to stand on end now, lol. We are testing it here in s.e. oklahoma. Will let you know the outcome later today.

My 12 yr old daughter and I

By CVoight35

My 12 yr old daughter and I tried the broom and egg "trick" earlier tonight after all the buzz posted on FB. Well...it worked!! And they are BOTH still standing in my litchen as I type! I've tried this before today and it never worked. I'm a believer!! :-)

I live on hour north of KC

By Ronda B.

I live on hour north of KC Missouri. My fiance saw all the posts about the broom and egg so he tried it...and our broom and egg have been standing on end for the past hour...also my broom is a slanted one to sweep out corners..so there is no way it could ever do this on it's own..it's top heavy...creepy...I have friends in NY state that tried it but no luck..too bad its really neat to see. :)

My friend asked me what all

By Magee-TN

My friend asked me what all the pictures in Facebook were about standing brooms, and I said I don't know. We tried the broom outside, and it worked. We tried the eggs inside and the broom inside and it worked. Anyone feeling the magic?

My friends broom is standing

By OklahomaGirl0808

My friends broom is standing in her bathroom. And has been for hours but my broom wont and niether did the eggs that I tried to stand on end. Hmm wierd

does not need to be a new

By sandrajune

does not need to be a new perfect broom. I've done it with my decade old beaten up broom.

please explain to me how to

By Please Explain

please explain to me how to get the broom to balance on its own because im going to the store just to buy a brand new broom to try this because it seems very interesting.

I stood 2 brooms up today,

By Tingamomma

I stood 2 brooms up today, Neither were new, both were angled brooms, one stood for almost 3 hours and I had to leave and couldn't leave it standing at work, the other stood until the baby knocked it down. And could easily be stood back up. IDK Y but it works.

I don't understand how the

By SunDragon

I don't understand how the tilt of the earth can make an egg stand vertically. Perhaps I'm missing something...I understand that the egg in the photo is standing because of the crease of whatever it's on, but I still think that this may actually be possible (despite the fact that I haven't tried it yet. I just don't fully understand HOW. But maybe we don't need to understand...

Well, it's really just

By Catherine Boeckmann

Well, it's really just folklore. The premise is that an egg will balance on the vernal and autumnal equinox because the Sun is crossing the equator and that having the center of the Earth aligned with the gravitational pull of the Sun makes it easier to balance any object. It may be that you can balance eggs any day of the year. You may want to try it and pick a day!

So u r saying by that u

By shaideemrs

So u r saying by that u should be able to even balance 3 golf balls on top of each other, correct. About 12that of us tried that yesterday, 03/12/2012 and none were successful, so how is it that u say u can balance things easier right now? And in response to those asking about early spring...we have had an even milder winter than usual here in Knoxville this year. 70 degree weather in February is extremely nice!!!

I never could understand that

By Mike Cohrs

I never could understand that folklore myself. Gravity is generated by the spin of the earth and not the pull of the sun. If the Sun's pull influenced the ability of the egg to stand up, then it would only hold at the equator where it is perpendicular. In other parts of the world as you move up the curvature, the sun's pull would move from perpendicular.

The sun and moon both affect

By Rob van Hemert

The sun and moon both affect the gravity on earth. That is what influences the tidal cycles of spring to neap and back, as the sun and moon position themselves in alignment or on opposite sides of the earth. Theoretically then, the egg / broom / whatever story should be possible more often then only at the spring equinox (which happens twice annually).

As I learned it back in 1968

By Stargezer

As I learned it back in 1968 in Physics 101: Gravity is a mutual attraction generated by both the earths mass and the corresponding mass of the object. Centripetal force is generated by the spin of the earth as it acts upon the mass of the object.
BTW gravity's attraction between 2 objects across space such as the sun and the earth (and the egg as well) also is a contributing factor when attempting to account for all forces acting upon the egg.
Just sayin - - -

Actually, gravity is

By Jani Lisa

Actually, gravity is generated from the center of any reasonably large body (Sun, Earth, moon, etc.) When the earth spins, it causes centripedal force which causes winds, among other things

Yes! And the interaction of

By Deuce the Sheltie

Yes! And the interaction of the Sun and Moon causes tides. Thus a perpendicular egg would be due to tidal forces, among others.

I figured it might have

By SunDragon

I figured it might have something to do with the equator, but I was never really sure. I guess I'll just have to try it some time.

I have 2 brooms that have

By JimH

I have 2 brooms that have been standing on their own in our kitchen since last night!

This standing of the broom or

By brewster7242

This standing of the broom or the egg... it is NOTHING. Any day of the year, my wife can make her broom for indefinite periods of time, to stand on its own, or flip, or even HOVER!; AND it uses no gasoline, but still takes her anywhere she wants to go!!!

Actually, one of the tests of

By cybercat

Actually, one of the tests of a good quality hand made broom is that it will stand up (that is - stay standing) on its own. Learned this from a fellow at a pioneer village type tourist spot.

To loveisinvein: Whats does

By Warhorse

To loveisinvein:
Whats does a broom standing on end on March 01 have to do with vernal equinox lore? The vernal equinox is March 20 according to the farmers' almanac , although the actual "equal" night/ day is March 16-17. My grandpa always said to plant seedlings outdoors on st. patricks day.

In addition to the egg, you

By loveisvein

In addition to the egg, you can also stand a broom up by itself... I must admit that it is rather freaky, but also awesome at the same time! Mine has been free standing for the past hour.

I just tried the broom.

By Thrillav

I just tried the broom. Couldn't believe it!! I had never heard of this before just a few minutes ago. I was AMAZED!!! I of course took pictures and then the broom fell down. I had to have proof of that broom standing on it's own to show someone. I really don't care why, I just want someone I know to see it.

That's really something. My

By Bob Milnover

That's really something. My broom levitated all by itself for about five minutes, six inches off the floor!! Now how does science explain that??

How does science explain your

By Anonymous101

How does science explain your broom levitating? Easy. It's called hallucinations, probably brought on by delusional, "magical thinking". It layman's terms it means your crazy.

...actually, technically,

By Rick St Thomas

...actually, technically, he'd be a Warlock.

Witches are Witches, be they

By celtblood

Witches are Witches, be they male or female. As one contributer already pointed out, "warlock" means "deceiver", and the term is insulting to Witches. (And Witch is capitalised, the same as Christian, Jew, or Muslim, since it denotes one who follows the pre-Christian path of one of the Old Religions which were labeled "Witchcraft" by the early church in an attempt to discredit them. Much as was the case with Columbus and the indigenous people of America whom he labeled "Indians", the "Witches" came to wear that title with pride over time.)

Witches are both female and

By Geb_nut

Witches are both female and male. A warlock is something more akin to a wizard I believe.

It is my understanding that

By Amara Forester

It is my understanding that male and female witches are always called witches. A warlock is technically an "oathbreaker", something none of us good witches would wish to be called.

Were you riding it at the

By ToddF

Were you riding it at the time?

Your a witch!

By Anonymous1687$

Your a witch!

Thats nice

By Anonymous123456789

Thats nice

If you have a broom that will

By ringer2410

If you have a broom that will stand then it will stand any day of the year. The bristles disperse the weight of the broom evenly (if done correctly) and it allows the broom to balance. The suns position in the sky has no bearing on the broom. If it did this would only work on the equator at high noon.

I tried both egg and broom to

By TSF_LP

I tried both egg and broom to zero sucess. Maybe a new broom would but as for the egg.........Just ain't happenin...........

You need a new broom. Only

By presterjohn

You need a new broom. Only new brooms sweep clean.

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