First Days of Seasons 2018

When Do Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter Begin?

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter 360

Find equinox and solstice dates for 2018—specifically, the March equinox, the June solstice, the September equinox, and the December solstice.

When Do the Seasons of the Year Begin?

Listed below are the equinox and solstice dates and times, based on the Eastern Time Zone (ET). Adjust to your time zone. Note that an almanac is an astronomical “calendar of the heavens;” these dates are not based on local meteorology.

For readers of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, these dates mark the start of the spring, summer, autumn, and winter seasons in the Northern Hemisphere.

Note: The times are based on Eastern time. Subtract 3 hours for Pacific time, 2 hours for Mountain time, 1 hour for Central time, or whatever is relevant to your time zone.

Seasons of 2018:
SPRING EQUINOX March 20, 12:15 P.M. EDT
FALL EQUINOX September 22, 9:54 P.M. EDT
WINTER SOLSTICE December 21, 5:23 P.M. EST
Seasons of 2019:
SPRING EQUINOX March 20, 5:58 P.M. EDT
FALL EQUINOX September 23, 3:50 A.M. EDT
WINTER SOLSTICE December 21, 11:19 P.M. EST

Why Do the Seasons Change?

The four seasons are determined by shifting sunlight (not heat!)—which is determined by how our planet orbits the Sun and the tilt of its axis.

Equinox solstice cycle
Photo Credit: NASA


On the vernal equinox, day and night are each approximately 12 hours long (with the actual time of equal day and night, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring a few days before the vernal equinox). The Sun crosses the celestial equator going northward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. See our First Day of Spring page

Crocus field spring


On the summer solstice, we enjoy the most daylight of the calendar year. The Sun reaches its most northern point in the sky at local noon. After this date, the days start getting “shorter,” i.e., the length of daylight starts to decrease. See our First Day of Summer page

Sunflower bees


On the autumnal equinox, day and night are each about 12 hours long (with the actual time of equal day and night, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring a few days after the autumnal equinox). The Sun crosses the celestial equator going southward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. See our First Day of Fall page.

Fall leaves


The winter solstice is the “shortest day” of the year, meaning the least amount of sunlight. The Sun reaches its most southern point in the sky at local noon. After this date, the days start getting “longer,” i.e., the amount of daylight begins to increase. See our First Day of Winter page.

Winter solstice

What’s your favorite season—and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Earth needs a break

What a beautiful planet we live on and I agree with the comments on all the metals and pollution. Are group studies mule deer and were finding that are pollution and unpredictable weather patterns and science are killing the deer with polluted rains in streams and in soils. And is having a big affect on there breeding seasons. There something and a Idea a child said the other day. She said why don't we stop businesses with drive thru.(walk in and takeout or dine in). She said think all the cars in a day that would be turned off not sitting idle and polluting our cities and less pollution, and also not to.mention most these places are not healthy to eat at anyway. Good idea young one. It's a start and everyone can do.

The Seasons

Pretty soon I am sad to say most of this science and predictions will not be accurate. These idiots keep spraying our skis with aluminum and heavy metals that cause everyone more health problems than they know but at the same time it changes the amount of sunlight we receive and make the rain come down more than it should. LOOK AT TEXAS !


Some predictions I disagree with and some, I not only agree with, but I embrace them as well. Global warming? GREAT!!! Since we are a couple thousand years overdue for an ice age, I say warm it up! :)
You are not real specific in your statement at all. (I'm kind of surprised I am even attempting to make a statement with regards to that which you wrote)....
Ok. Look at Texas? What? I live in Texas and I do not own skis for snow or for water. I know many people who have one, the other, or both. They have never mentioned anything about aluminum having been sprayed on their skis...
I decided a few years ago to only worry about myself and my own actions in this world. To waste time and energy worrying about things over which I have no control is not something I want to do any longer. As it turns out, I am much happier and more productive now.


Howdy -- Again -- Farmer's Almanac,
Again: Thank You For Your Great Work Over These Decades!
===> Please Note That I Was Wrong! <===
It Must Be That Your Diagram Is -- Right --, Because:
In The Northern Hemisphere The Path Of The Sun Is High In The Sky During The Summer And Low In The Sky In The Winter.
Please Accept My Apology For My Mistake.
Possibly, the Earth might be actually closer to the sun distance-wise in the Northern Hemisphere's Winter, and farther from the Sun in the Northern Hemisphere's Summer. I am Not Sure About This!
Thanks & God Bless All!
Gary Internet Participant

seasonal changes

Thank you for your well wishes!

As you discovered, the diagram is correct, even though it would seem that it should be the opposite. Our closest position to the Sun for the year was in January (called perihelion); it is farthest away in July (aphelion). But it’s not the proximity of Earth to the Sun but the angle of the Sun’s rays that create the seasons. In winter, the angle of the Sun’s rays is low in the Northern Hemisphere, so the Sun’s energy is distributed over a larger area, weakening its intensity in any one place (sort of like the light from a tilted flashlight falling on a ball); the days are also shorter than they are in summertime, so that we receive less energy from the Sun.

At the spring and fall equinoxes, we are neither tilted toward nor away from the Sun, which means that at the Equator, the Sun’s rays are coming in at about a 90 degree angle—so the energy there is concentrated along a smaller surface. However, at the higher latitudes, such North America, the Sun’s rays are still being received at more of an angle, so we’re getting less intense rays than the Equator, and things are still a bit cool. As the spring days progress toward the summer solstice, the angle of the Sun’s rays become more direct, and the days are also getting longer, which increases the amount of energy that we are receiving. So, we’re getting more energy as spring progresses, resulting in warmer temperatures. Meanwhile the ground and water are absorbing this energy and releasing it. Water can hold more than earth, but in both cases, it takes a while before they can warm up enough so that they are receiving as much energy as they release, so that we feel the warmer temperatures. The most direct sunlight that we receive occurs at the summer solstice, which is also the longest day, but again, the full effect temperature-wise won’t occur until a little later. Eventually, though, the loss of heat will overtake the amount of heat the Earth receives, because of the decreasing angle of sunlight and the decreasing day length as Earth approaches the fall equinox and then the winter solstice. Then the cycle begins anew.

Hope this helps!


Howdy -- Again -- Almanac,
Again: Thank You For Your Great Work Over These Decades!
Please Note That I Was Wrong!
It Must Be that your Diagram Is Right, Because The Path Of The Sun Is High In The Sky During The Summer And Low In The Sky In The Winter
===> Beautiful Diagram Of "Why Do The Seasons Change?" Has An Error:

Beautiful Diagram Of "Why Do The Seasons Change?" Has An Error

Howdy Almanac,
Thank You For Your Great Work Over These Decades!
===> Beautiful Diagram Of "Why Do The Seasons Change?" Has An Error:
At the Winter and Summer Solstices, the tilt of the Earth is backwards. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth is tilted toward the Sun and is tilted away from the Sun in the Summer. This is why the seasons are somewhat milder in the Northern Hemispheere.
The Solution is to simply reverse the words 'Winter" and 'Summer" and to reverse the words "Vernal" and "Autumnal".
Please, verify that I am right before changing the diagram, and please, do not just disregard what I am sharing here. Please, remember, The Farmer's Almanac has a wonderful record and reputation of being honest and as accurate as possible.
Thank You and God Bless All,
Genesis 01:31
Gary Internet Participant

Thank You

for your informative and entertaining I (attempt) to make the transition from traditional religions, mainly Roman Catholic, I find this (your site) to be quite comforting.....♥

Wrong time zones

GMT - what's all this Yank rubbish? If summer starts on 21/6 (day/month/year - logical format) just after midnight, that means it actually starts on 20/6 GMT (GMT where time is actually measured from). 0/5!

Correction, you confused me.

Correction, you confused me. Summer '17 starts:
(June Solstice/Start of smmer) Worcester, England, United Kingdom is on
Wednesday, 21 June 2017, 05:24.
However - 'June Solstice' is the 'longest' day, of sunshine (still 24 hours). This means that you're getting less sunshine each day as summer progresses! Maybe we should just use Calendar Seasons: Summer = June/July/August, etc. Which pushes the Summer Soltice a bit closer to the middle of summer, instead of right at the start, which makes more sense.

Goat, You're Turned Around

When it's 12:24 a.m. in New York (EDT), it's 04:24 a.m. in London (GMT) on the same day. It's the previous day in westward time zones.

Regarding the date structure, remember that the Farmer's Almanac is an American publication and, thus, supports American usage. I'm not saying it's correct. It's just the way dates are abbreviated here.


Traditional festivals, wear garlands of flowers

time zones

how do I subtract 3 to what I am confused on that from what to what I do not understand it at all.

greg Jackson

Subtract three hours to the

Subtract three hours to the time if you are in the Pacific time zone.


Why do you have those images of the earth orbiting the sun? Everyone should know by now that the earth is a flat plane. It's even in NASA's public documents if you do a little research.


Links please and thank you!!

Australia vs Canada

When it's winter in Canada it's summer in Australia. So does Canada follow Australia's spring/summer or does Australia follow Canada's fall/winter. Curious, food for thought!

That image!!

Can you please tell me... Who is the photographer/designer of the image at the top of this page (with the circular sky - showing all the seasons)?

seasons picture

Hi Adam, It’s a really great image, isn’t it? This particular image is “stock,” and free to use if you wish. Enjoy, and thanks for asking!  Your OFA editors.

How to make your own using your own picture(s)

Hi, recent coincidental find is an android app that came recommended to me called "FX Pro" by "Tiny Planet". I you've access to an Android device and Google Play, simply search the Play Store for, "Tiny Planet FX Pro", you'll know you've found it by the similar styled app icon.

Enjoy Adam!. Also my thanks and wishing a prosperous New Year to all at 'The Old Farmers Almanac'.


general comment

I find this site helpful and the comments sometimes informative but definitely entertaining:))

Seasons start and end dates for Fort Walton Beach, Floida

What I would like to know is can I lookup this information using my zip code to get more accurate dates ?

start of seasons

Hi Vicki, For 2016, the autumnal equinox and the vernal equinox are the the same dates across North America, however, the exact time your will shift according to your time zone. You may find this page helpful for a time and date calculator:  All the best, the OFA editors

First Days of the Seasons

When perusing the above illustration of the Earth's rotation, I was wondering if the 3-degree change in the position of the Earth's axis, caused by the massive Pacific earthquake responsible for the disaster of Fukushima, had been factored in. This natural occurrence has been sited as another significant reason for the climate and weather changes we're experiencing, especially in Alaska and other northern regions. Also, the currents of the Pacific have now succeeded in carrying the radiation-contaminated waters leaking from the Fukushima disaster full circle, contributing to rising ocean surface temperatures and irreversible pollution.

Not really

There most certainly hasn't been a sudden 3 degree change in the earth's axis (whatever that might mean). Nor has the radiation leak made any difference to water temperature - it was truly a tiny leak, and even if all the energy of the whole power station were used to heat the oceans, it would make zero measurable difference.

Max Impact

Thank you! Know your source...all kinds of crazy predictions causing massive spending... Things are heating up because the veil of God is being more worried about that

The beginning points of the seasons.

Dear Old Farmer's Almanac:

How could you get this one wrong? The solstices and equinoxes are the mid points of the seasons, not the beginning of the seasons. Spring most often begins on February 2. The vernal equinox, on 3/21 is the mid point of Spring. Summer begins on May 1. You know, May day. Midsummer, it seems Shakespeare knew better, is the Summer solstice, the mid point of Summer. Please get this right.

Season starts

Hi, Kevin, You are among those who champion the traditional season starts—on the Quarter Days (the solstices and equinoxes) and the corresponding Cross-Quarter Days (the mid-points between the Quarter Days). We have addressed this on the Almanac pages and we will bring this information to the Web site. However, it is not likely to change the predominant view; the current seasonal calendar has been too long and deeply engrained in the public seasonal psyche to change many hearts and minds. So we will continue to acknowledge also these familiar dates and bring the others to (greater) light. We salute you for recognizing this distinction!

How to determine the beginning and end of each season?

Hi Kevin, I have always been curious about knowing the beginning and ending of the four seasons of the year. Actually, is there a way to calculate the seasons? Here in Guyana we have the wet and dry 'seasons'. And as such, I do not know how to determine the beginning and ending of each season. I must say I fully endorse your views about the seasons herein. Therefore, kindly provide me an answer for my question. Thanks.

In those famous words of Old

In those famous words of Old Hill - what difference does it make?

What difference

A winter does not end in the same year it starts, so the winter of 2014 would be followed by the spring of 2015. The winter of 2015 would not be followed by the spring of 2015.
It makes a difference in historical matters. If you say a certain relative died in the winter of ????, a listener could assume the date of death was a full year different from the truth.

"The winter of...'

Why do some people call this winter, that started in December of 2015, "the winter of 2016"?
Surely the winter of 2016 will start in December of 2016.
We don't call the Christmas celebrated in 2015 "the Christmas of 2016".


We seem to be talking apples and oranges. Comparing different things. Weather and seasons are similar to apples and orange comparisons. The ecliptic and the heavenly bodies decide seasons. Hot/cold dry/wet decide weather

good page

Fab page and web site!


That's a Springtime Miracle I can accept!


And in His image He made Man, who is the one responsible for writing, copying and editing The Book; and the errors passed along in new editions with men and women responsible for viewing the book through filters of misconception and ignorance, fear and hate. By the way, I heard the universe does not revolve around Rome - the NASA depiction... I guess I could see how the foolish could think it is correct. Matter of perspective. Happy Festive. Go be kind with someone with a different perspective. I am inclined to believe in Axial Tilt. I don't get seasons where I live, just the season of Summer and the brief - non-summer with non-summer being shorter every year.
Please copy and paste this message.


The milestone of creation is the cornerstone of colophone of districts.

Bloody darkness'

No sun - I hate it!

Says the one whose name is

Says the one whose name is 'bloody *darkness*'.


please create a season calendar for adding to Google calendar

We were always taught Summer-

We were always taught
Summer- first week of June - first week Sept
Fall- fall second week Sept- second week Nov
Winter- third week Nov- fourth week Feb
Spring- first week March- first week June

Unfortunately your family

Unfortunately your family taught you their generational learnings rather than actual facts for what the seasons are.

When winter actually occurs.

Kdh1969 is more accurate in stating when the seasons actually occur "than your actual facts for what the seasons are". If you lived in the upper Midwest, you would know that from year in and year out experience. Rob in South Dakota

How come it doesn't list the

How come it doesn't list the Southern Hemisphere?

The Old Farmer's Almanac is

The Old Farmer's Almanac is North America's most popular annual publication. Our tools, tables, and content across astronomy and the Moon, calendar, weather forecasts, planting dates, etc., may be relevant to many (and we welcome all), however, the content is written for the U.S. and Canadian readers of our publication; the free companion Web site provides this information as a courtesy.

Solstices and Equinoxes are

Solstices and Equinoxes are the same date and time for the entire Earth.

You could try to call the June Solstice as the "Northmost Solstice" and the September Equinox as the "South-moving Equinox", to simply describe the Sun's apparent motion.

Solstice and Equinox

For the southern hemisphere these are the opposite of ours. As summer begins in the northern hemisphere winter begins in the southern hemisphere.

As 99% of continental part

As 99% of continental part lies in Northern Hemisphere we only consider Northern Hemisphere seasonal periods. I think it is the reason but I am don't know exactly

Um... 100% of the continent

Um... 100% of the continent is in the Northern Hemisphere.

Umm...your statement is %75

Umm...your statement is %75 false.

It's the exact opposite for

It's the exact opposite for Southern Hemisphere, when northern has spring equinox the southern is having their fall equinox & same for the solstices.

Is there a part on this site

Is there a part on this site that tells where the sign is in which part of the body? I have surgery on my wrist on June 18

I suffer with

I suffer with dyscalculia,

Would anyone here please calculate the date and time for the very middle of the Fall season? I would really appreciate some help for this normally simple task.

Thank you

November 6th =]

November 6th =]

6th of October 14'15"

6th of October 14'15" (2.15PM)

Sorry, that was 6th of

Sorry, that was 6th of November 2014 at 2.15PM
Not Oct

November 2

November 2

I belive the mid way between

I belive the mid way between the end of summer and the begining of winter is around Nov 6. This is a quick calculation. Time of day? Not sure. Hope this helps a little.

when is dogwood winter when

when is dogwood winter
when is blackberry winter

"Blackberry Winter" is a cold

"Blackberry Winter" is a cold snap around the time that blackberries bloom--May and June.
“Dogwood Winter” refers to a spring cold snap that usually comes around the time when the dogwood trees start to bloom. The flowering dogwood tree (Cornus florida) blooms in April and May.

Spring is officially here in

Spring is officially here in a hour.. look out my window snow banks are around 7 feet high..Ice on Lake Superior 4 to 5 feet thick.. minus 20 last night...minus 40 to 50 plus with the wind most of the winter....and the days start getting shorter again in 3 months....oh joy

Spring came and the temps are

Spring came and the temps are 15 degrees above water to plant, no snow to be seen, and the days only getting longer for the next 6 months. 9 months to grow still!!!! Thank you California!



oh happy happy, joy joy! ;-)

oh happy happy,
joy joy! ;-)

Why would the seasons start

Why would the seasons start at the middle? Isn't solstice the MIDDLE of summer and winter? I certainly would never think of December as being mostly an autumn month. It is entirely within the winter season. So here is scientifically correct: 365.24218967/4=91.310547417
So spring starts exactly 45.655273708 days before spring equinox, summer starts 45.655273708 days before summer solstice, etc, etc...
We can get more accurate than this but I think we get the point. Today is NOT the first day of spring. And Who the hell believes winter starts only days before Christmas?! We're already balls deep into winter by then!

Our seasons are marked by

Our seasons are marked by changes in the intensity of sunlight that reaches the Earth's surface, variations of which may cause animals to go into hibernation or to migrate, and plants to be dormant. Our sense of time, as determined with our calendar is more politically determined and does not conform with nature.

I agree with you 100%. The

I agree with you 100%. The way they call the seasons now is stupid because the season is already halfway over before they call it.

and the seasons are called

and the seasons are called Equinoxes and Solstices

When you talk about seasons,

When you talk about seasons, you are either talking about hours of sunlight in a day OR you are talking about your feelings about weather and what constitutes a season. I understand what you are saying, but there are a couple of problems. First problem is that there is a lag between the changing hours of daylight and the changes it causes in the weather. So, where i live in Kentucky, what i would consider the peak of summer is definitely well after June 21. Using your system fall has started by Aug 7. Which is often the hottest time of year here. In fact if you forget math and just write down the dates of when you FEEL that seasons begin and end, you will find that they are not at all equal lengths. I lived in Colorado one year and I swear it was winter for seven months with the other seasons covering the remaining five months. I understand your point and it makes some sense if you are talking ONLY about the number of hours of sunlight in a day. However, this has nothing at all to do with how you FEEL about when fall starts and ends or whether or not you have snow on your balls in March.

Where did you get 365._ _ _ _

Where did you get 365._ _ _ _ etc # from?

You want your winter season

You want your winter season to start Nov.06?
If you're balls deep into winter by Dec.21,
I bet you're still neck deep in winter on Feb.05!
March 21 weather is about like Dec.21 weather, depending on how much surface water is around (lake effect ...), so the astronomy festivals are appropriate markers for the seasons' start.
Unless (like olde England) you want mid-Summer to be the "fastest-rising Temperature" etc.


Northern Hemisphere.

December; January; February. = Winter.

March; April; May. = Spring.

June; July; August. = Summer.

September; October; November. = Autumn.

Not scientifically correct, but climatically correct.


lol maybe that's for

lol maybe that's for Americans or other parts of the world, but for Canada its winter from October-april.

Here in the U.S.

Here in the U.S. (mid-Atlantic region), this past winter (2013-2014) definitely started the winter-type weather in October. EARLY October. Now here we are in mid-March and we are still having many nights in the twenties and snow about once a week. None of that says "Spring" to me! LOL

The US Weather service uses

The US Weather service uses your definition...
When they say, for example, this was the wettest spring they mean the calendar months March, April and May.
The "first day of Spring" terminology came to be because Christians did not want to print the names of pagan holy days (Vernal Equinox...) on their calendars.

Actually, it takes from

Actually, it takes from january to august to heat up (7 months) but only from august to january to cool down again (5 months). So, weather speeking, spring is actually longer than autumn. Season arent realy the same lenght, its just a simplification.

Plus, i agree with the offical summer months. Weather its warmer and show less rain between the 2nd half of june and the 2 nd half of september. The begining of june its colder and more instable then the beging of september.

So, with the data i have seen, the real weather seasons are:

21 Nov to 21 Fev = Winter (3 months)
21 Fev to 21 Jun = Spring (4 months)
21 Jun to 21 Sep = Autumn (3 months)
21 Sep to 21 Nov = Winter (2 months)

Are you forgetting summer?

Are you forgetting summer?


Summer ISN'T EVEN COMING!!!! Its a ridiculously long winter right now dude... it s terrible.

We dont need summer here in

We dont need summer here in el paso tx itgets so hot I can't stand it. Besides it almost never rains.we're always in a drought our plants are always under stress . I know its a desert so so you folks out there in the east should consider yourselfs lucky with all that rain its a blessing

Summer arrived in South GA in

Summer arrived in South GA in early May and is not going to leave anytime soon. Temperatures over 100° and all my grass is dead. :-(

Yes, I meant: 21 Nov to 21

Yes, I meant:

21 Nov to 21 Fev = Winter (3 months)
21 Fev to 21 Jun = Spring (4 months)
21 Jun to 21 Sep = Summer (3 months)
21 Sep to 21 Nov = Autumn (2 months)

This is so weird--it's

This is so weird--it's actually causing fights /disagreements amongst billions of what's wrong with the world as we know it and WHO CARES when whatever the seasons it is--all I know like Texas has from Colorado standpoints,Iknow of 4 short seasons before it's cold again and stays that way much longer than Texas and having relatives in Australia--when they have summer, it's still our winter.

Just suffice to say whatever whoever said it is what it is, give or add 2 or 3 days in NORTH AMERICA and let the rest of the world figure it out by whatever they believe in.

Whoever screamed,"What difference does it make!" has it correct so far!

The English always talk about

The English always talk about the weather and the seasons. Just a bit of fun, nice to have a laugh during all this rain.

Hey leave us english out of

Hey leave us english out of it. We don't have seasons we just have weather somes wet somes dry

Just because the BBC weather

Just because the BBC weather has announced that we are now in Spring, I think not, I have been around a longer than the "wizz kids" of today. Ever since I was a little girl Spring 21st March. Summer 21st June Autumn 21st September and Winter 21st December. Does everyone want to change everything?

But if summer starts June

But if summer starts June 21st, then mid summer's day is just 3 days later on the 24th. That can't be right!

Always has been in my

Always has been in my day's!
still never mind.

Different sides of the world

Different sides of the world

You're right. What difference

You're right. What difference does a day make? Let's stick with the simple formula - 21st of the relevant month.......unless you're an astronomer, fortune teller etc.

I could have sworn the

I could have sworn the Autumnal Equinox is September 23 this year!

The Autumnal Equinox is at

The Autumnal Equinox is at 10:57 pm EDT on Sept. 22. If you are 2 hours ahead of the Eastern US time zone, this would be Sept 23.

Spring in Sweden is according

Spring in Sweden is according to the Swedish met service when the median temperature is between 0 degrees Celsius and ten degrees Celsius for 7 Days. If in luck spring will arrive where I live at the end of february but can be delayed for a month. To me winter begins at the end of november or in the beginning of december.

I was after one of these

I was after one of these based on the southern hemisphere (I am Australian). Do you guys carry such an item? or do you have any idea where I could get one?

Just swap the dates for the

Just swap the dates for the seasons.

The Southern Hemisphere Spring Equinox occurs at the exact same time as the Northern Hemisphere Fall Equinox...

The Summer Solstice in Australia will occur at the same time as the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.

@ M. Hermit [Dates of

@ M. Hermit
[Dates of Southern Hemisphere (Austral) seasons (According To): ]

In the southern (austral) hemisphere: summer starts on 21 December ending 21 March. Winter starts on 21 June, ending on 21 September.

However, according to my Google search results, on another website the beginning of the 4 seasons for the Northern Hemisphere is different according to the year ▬ stated as:
First day of spring 2014 - Northern Hemisphere - Mar 20, 2014 › ... › Seasons › First day of spring ‎
The first day of Spring is in 2014 on March 20 (according to the astronomical definition). It is also called the spring quinox. Spring is ...
Mar 20, 2015 First day of spring 2015
Mar 19, 2016 First day of spring 2016

On the starting dates of the seasons is given and reason for them, and also why different seasons start at different times and dates based on the time zone you're in, etc., and if you want to try experiments like balancing an egg on the vernal equinox or some other eqinox, etc., I would suggest 1st checking for the 1st day of this year's seasons as well as equinoxes which are not on the 1st day of each season, at, and then for the Southern (Austral) Hemisphere's seasons just re-label the 1st day of the summer as the 1st day of winter, following season is Spring, etc. You could also Google: 1st day of the seasons 2014, etc, at www.

G’day, I’m an Aussie born and

G’day, I’m an Aussie born and bred. In Australia the official first day of summer is December 1st, autumn March 1st, winter June 1st and spring September 1st. In this country the Equinoxes are just that and nothing more, likewise the Solstices.

In Australia, you are right,

In Australia, you are right, it is a common to say that the seasons start on the first of the equinox month. But that is because it is spoken by purveyors of ignorance. Anyone sweating through a 30C+ day well into March would hardly say we are having Autumn weather. The 'seasons' are far more closely aligned to the equinii, all around the planet, including Australia. Shameful that many students in school here have no idea what makes a season, other than a date rolling over to the first of the month. Thankfully the idea of seasons is slowly changing here, to be more in line with how the rest of the planet undertand them to be.

All so interesting,do people

All so interesting,do people around the Globe see more humidity and rain along with more Sun,i found 2013 the best for weather for many a year.

This discussion is very

This discussion is very informative and very civilized. I commend everyone who participated. I didn't read all of the comments, but unlike most discussions on the web, I didn't see any vulgar language, cutting remarks, or any other off-color comments. This was educational and pleasant to read.

Some research done in

Some research done in Australia (I do not have a reference) suggests that there are only two seasons for the northern states, Wet and Dry, and six seasons in the southern states. This division was based on weather, flora behaviour and fauna behaviour.

I live in the southern US

I live in the southern US state of Texas. I knowof only 4 seasons here in Texas. HOT, cold,
Wet & Dry. And I'm a bible believer. LOL!

That is pretty much similar

That is pretty much similar with that of Nigeria.

I agree! :) living here on

I agree! :) living here on the southern Oregon coast for the last three years, after spending my whole life in the midwest, I can safely say that there ARE in fact two seasons here. Wet and Dry. Summers here are generally average of 60-75 with only fog to water the trees and plants, and in the winter around 55-65 with rain rain rain ;) Not sure if this is true or not but this part of the country is the last rain forest in the United States.

In Australia. New Zealand n

In Australia. New Zealand n Sth Africa we start winter on 1st day of June. This ERROR happend bcos we were started by the English who thought summer started sooner bcos it was hotter than ther homeland. They didnt factor in these places are closer to th equator. So they started seasons, falsley, earlier. Brisbane Sydney Caberra Melbourne Hobart Adelaide Perth all have warmer temperature averages in 1st 3weeks of March than 1st 3weeks of December. The same in reverse when talkin of winter.

Completely wrong! You must be

Completely wrong! You must be referring to the meteological accounting seasons which generally start on 1st. The English seasons start 21st, 22nd just like elsewhere.

um.. but like, these are the

um.. but like, these are the equinoxes and solstices, they aren't saying that it is the start of the seasons all over the world.... so... i'm confused, somebody help...

John is right - you are

John is right - you are incorrect and, from the tone of your email, not a lover of the Brits.

Who ever said that in the

Who ever said that in the southern hemishpere Winter would officially start on the first of June rather than on the 21st in line with our winter solstice. If I was a farmer I would still be planting according to the cycles of the moon anyway.

Dear google Winter in the

Dear google Winter in the Southern Hemisphere begins on the first of June- what you need to do is google yourself.

Does anyone else find it a

Does anyone else find it a bit weird to call tomorrow the "first day" of Summer. Since it marks the end of the lengthening of daylight it really is the middle of the warmer half of the year (in the n. hemisphere) even though it usually gets hotter over the next two months in that hemisphere. And do we really have four seasons? Our year is really more correctly thought of as biphasic instead of quadriphasic: a warmer half and a cooler half. I realize that the way we name our seasons long predates our understanding of the reason we have seasons and it is more fun to anticipate a seasonal change in quarters rather than halves but it isn't really based on rationality--and that's okay, too. There, I've put my two cents in.

Hi Rick, in Australia we're

Hi Rick, in Australia we're in the 1st month of winter. Our 'seasons' officially start: winter, 1st June; spring, 1 September; summer 1 December; Autumn (fall) 1 March.

Cate, glad to hear from "down

Cate, glad to hear from "down under" (another northern conceit, though, isn't it; who decided the s. hemisphere is the "bottom" anyway?). By official start, I assume you mean by arbitrarily agreeing to call it so rather than based on the way the planet is moving along in its orbit, right? It doesn't suddenly get cooler on June 1, does it?

Yep, it's just an arbitrary

Yep, it's just an arbitrary date. Most people realise that it doesn't really start changing temperatures until the solstices/equinoxes.

But, really, none of the

But, really, none of the calendar dates for what we call the seasons is associated with any kind of sudden temperature change. At the Autumnal equinox, maple leaves don't suddenly turn red. We basically move gradually between warm weather to cool weather to back again over and over. The idea of four separate, distinct seasons is really related more to social customs and human activity like agriculture (for planting, growing, harvesting and fallow times) isn't it?

The dates for the beginning

The dates for the beginning and end of months are based on the Gregorian calandar. If you go further back to the more pagan calandars, you'll find that the dates that are currently used for beginning/end of the seasons were actually the middle.

The beginnings were Samhain (October 31), Imbolc (February 2), Beltane (May 1), and Lughnasadh [Lammas Day] are the beginning.

The middle of the seasons are Yule/[Christmas], Ostara[Easter], Midsummer, and Mabon[Mid-Autumn]

Thank you Marie Mayer for

Thank you Marie Mayer for being an intelligent person.

I agree with Kera, thank you

I agree with Kera, thank you for being an intelligent person! We Celebrate the pagan holidays and season changes because they're all nature based and not religion based.

I'll say it too, thank you

I'll say it too, thank you Marie Mayer!

You're spot on. Somebody told

You're spot on. Somebody told me that 21st June is the first day of Summer. I said, "Where?" They replied, "Everywhere!" I think Australians would beg to differ! But it got me thinking. Taking into account all the astronomical, geographical, longitudinal, latitudinal,oceanic, climatic and meteorological variables, every day must be the first day of summer somewhere in the World? Strange how easy it is for most people in the World to believe that the exact opposite is true? I think that might be 3 cents worth. Sorry!

My thoughts exactly - why is

My thoughts exactly - why is the summer or winter solstice the Beginning of that season? Shouldn't it mark the mid-point? How can it be that Winter in the S Hemisphere starts on the 21 June Winter Solstice when immediately after that point the days start getting longer? Doesn't make sense to me.

It is long overdue to do away

It is long overdue to do away with the counting of time on the basis of the Holy Roman Empire Anno 2013. With all the high tech, instant coffee and archeological findings the Collective Mind still is bullied by religions spearheaded by the Vatican. It would be a great advancement for our grandkids when the Collective Mind would show higher awareness and determine a point of substance on which basis to count time instead of the Holy Roman Empire. Quadriphasic keeps you on your toes for harvesting.

THANK YOU!!!!!! that is

THANK YOU!!!!!! that is all....

I'm a little confused -- when

I'm a little confused -- when you refer to the Holy Roman Empire, do you actually mean the Roman Catholic Church? Those are two completely different things.

Today is the Winter Solstice in the North Hemisphere. It's been winter for a few weeks here, but it's a typical Georgia winter; we may get a record high of 75 F today. I miss snow.

There is a great site that

There is a great site that details the actual progress of the seasons as based on the quarters and cross-quarters: - it also provides an animated star clock that shows where we currently are in the orbit of the earth as of today and the tilt of the earth as it progresses through the orbital cusp point. Also, it was earlier mentioned that the tilt of the earth's axis is 23.5 degrees - that is incorrect - the current tilt of the earth's axis (as of mid-2013) is 23.439 degrees. The tilt of the earth's axis is affected by many factors, some regular and predictable (related to the precession of the equinoctes and the effecct of lunar gravity) and others unpredicatble (e.g. redistribution of mass due to earthquakes) - for instance, the great earthquakes of 2004 in the Indian Ocean basin and in 2011 at Japan in the Pacific Ocean basin actually slightly affected the tilt of the earth by moving larges masses of the Earth's material closer to the centre of the Earth. The Earth's axial tilt is currently decreasing, and may vary between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees. It is postulated that when the Earth's tilt is at the maximum point of 24.5 degrees is when ice ages typically occur - and as well, ice ages also have an effect on the axial tilt, since they redistribute large amounts of mass (i.e., ice) towards the geographic poles. The after-affect of this mass redistribution is still being felt due to crustal rebound of areas of the Earth that were under massive volumes of ice during the most recent ice age (for instance, the Hudson Bay basin in Canada is currently rebounding by close to 2cm per annum due to the removal of the Laurentian ice sheet following this most recent period of global climate warming [unrelated, BTW, to any human-induced warming of the climate]).

Thank you so much for the

Thank you so much for the educated answer on the tilt of the earth. I knew the earth changed it axis recently but did not know it was linked to major earthquakes. I will be visiting the website you suggested. Great explanation. I too live 'downunder' and yes our date for the beginning of seasons is different to the north. Does anyone know the history of this fact?

Are there different first

Are there different first days of seasons in different countries? Im doing a report and can't answer what date spring starts in Greece.

The astronomical definition

The astronomical definition of when a season begins (such as the March equinox: spring in the Northern hemisphere; fall in the southern) applies everywhere around the world (a set point in time, converted to local time zone).

However, different countries may celebrate the seasons at different times. For example, in Bulgaria, March 1 is often celebrated as the beginning of spring. Also on March 1, Helidonismata is a traditional Greek observance that celebrates the return of the swallows, marking spring's return, as well.

You might also be interested in Greek mythology as it relates to spring: the story of Demeter and Persephone.

In Russia winter officially

In Russia winter officially starts on 1 of Jan, spring on 1 of March, summer - on 1 of June and Autumn on 1 of September.

the references to 'the

the references to 'the longest day' and the 'shortest day' is in error. Each day of the year consists of 24 hours--it's the length of daylight hours that varies! I recommend you change the word day to daylight in order to be accurate.

Actually, To call a day

Actually, To call a day exactly 24 hours is incorrect in every regard except the one on people's wrists (that is to say, the times when we arbitrarily assign tasks so everyone has a medium of understanding.) Also, the day varies by several seconds from thousands of subtle variables (including the earth's distance from the sun.)

Ted, there are various

Ted, there are various meanings of the word 'day'. Day and night are often used as opposites.

Ted, we made some revisions

Ted, we made some revisions to make it clear that we are referencing the amount of daylight in a calendar day. Thanks.

Due east at the equator.

Due east at the equator. It's always slightly south (or more) north of the tropic of cancer in the northern hemisphere.

Used to love the

Used to love the Almanac...but it got too full of ad nonsense and yuppie eco-fashionista fluff pieces. I prefer my favorite small town cafe for the real news of the seasons.

The Old Farmer's Almanac has

The Old Farmer's Almanac has not really changed in over 220 years. Hope you will check it out again and see that it is remarkably similar from cover to calendar pages.

I agree, the Old Farmer's

I agree, the Old Farmer's Almanac has maintained a consistent style throughout it's many decades of publication, and it is an indispensible tool for those of us who prefer to plant by the Moon, just as crucial as any hoe or sickle. (I only wish they'd correct the mis-naming of Summer and Winter Solstices as the beginning of those respective seasons-- they actually fall in the middle of them.)

does every season being on

does every season being on every full moon

No. As mentioned in the

No. As mentioned in the article above, the first day of the season is determined by how our planet orbits the Sun and the tilt of its axis.

Is Dec. 21, 2012 the first

Is Dec. 21, 2012 the first day of winter 2012 or the first day of winter 2013? Didn't we go through the winter of 2012 back in January of this year? So on March 20th, 2013 (the first day of Spring 2013) will we have just finished the winter of 2012 or the winter of 2013? Please clarify.

As you've noticed, the winter

As you've noticed, the winter season spans the end of one year and the beginning of the next in the Gregorian calendar. December 21, 2012, at 6:12 am EST starts the first day of winter 2012/2013 (often just listed as winter 2012). Winter 2013/2014 (winter 2013) would begin on December 21, 2013, at 12:11 pm EST.

In astronomy, each year in the Northern Hemisphere can be defined as beginning with the spring (vernal) equinox in March. The summer solstice occurs in June, the autumnal equinox in September, and the winter solstice in December. Astronomically speaking, in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice is defined as when the Sun reaches its greatest declination (23-1/2 degrees) south of the celestial equator, around December 21. So, winter 2012 marks the time when the first day of winter begins for 2012/2013. It's the time when the Sun reaches its southernmost declination for the year 2012.

If December 21st is the first

If December 21st is the first day of Winter, why has it been referred to as Midwinter through the centuries? Is December 21st (or 20th, as it varies) not the point in time when the days are the shortest, with the next day being the time when the days begin to lengthen? And would this not, in turn, dictate that Winter proper actually begins in November? Would it not have to follow that Midsummer/Summer Solstice marks the high point of the Sun's energy and, after this, the shortening of our annual cycle of daylight hours through until the Midwinter/Winter Solstice, when the days begin to lengthen once again? If so, how could the Summer Solstice possibly be the beginning of Summer or the Winter Solstice possibly be the beginning of Winter?

The Celts divided the year into two major halves, Winter and Summer, with the cross-quarter events being the Spring Equinox and the Autumnal Equinox. The year began on November 1st, the beginning of Winter. Midwinter was genuinely the middle of Winter, ending on the Spring Equinox as Winter began to wane and the foliage bloomed. Summer officially began on May 1st, as by this time the growing season was in full swing, with the last vestiges of the Winter season behind us. Midsummer, the longest day, was the beginning of the waning cycle, as Summer began to move toward Winter. The Autumnal Equinox (generally the approximate harvest time) marked the manifestation of the seasonal changes preceeding Winter's arrival, again on November 1st. Since agriculture was the dominant industry, this reflected the agrarian/astronomical calendar cycle, which was the basis for our modern calendars.

I've addressed this before, and am still perplexed as to why anyone would insist on referring to the Winter and Summer solstices as the beginning of their respective seasons, when they clearly are not at all.

These MID-Summer and MID-Winter designations are the correct astronimical divisions of the year, as they are based on the actual effect of the solar cycle on the Earth's seasons.

I realise there are all these newer ideologies and theories on when the seasons begin and end (meteorlogical, temperature and regional variances, etc.), but the fact remains that Midsummer and Midwinter are precisely that-- the middle of these seasons, and not by any means the beginning. (Unless, of course, the Sun is wrong in his astronomical movements, and if so someone had better inform him.)

Yes, the definition of when a

Yes, the definition of when a season begins can vary between countries, cultures, organizations, and individuals. For example, the ancient Celts considered equinoxes and solstices (called quarter days) as the midway points of the seasons. Their cross-quarter days (halfway between quarter days) were the beginning of the seasons. Astronomically speaking, however, the seasons begin at the equinoxes and solstices, which define four unique points along Earth’s orbit, in which the Northern or Southern Hemisphere tilts toward the Sun (summer), away from the Sun (winter), or is neutral--neither leaning toward nor away from the Sun (spring, autumn).

An astronomical definition does not directly take into account what is going on within Earth’s atmosphere. Other definitions focus on how the Sun’s intensity (energy) or heat affects the surface. A meteorological definition of seasons, for example, often is based on temperature. An international meteorological definition separates the year into groups of three months: March 1 is the beginning of spring; June 1 starts summer; September 1, autumn; and December 1, winter. However, days of greatest warmth and cold (on average), or length of season, can vary by region depending on their proximity to water, latitude, prevailing winds, etc.

Other seasonal definitions take into account annual responses by plants and animals. Or, define the seasons according to religious or cultural criteria.

For The Old Farmer’s Almanac, because we are a calendar of the heavens, we officially use the astronomical definition. But, we certainly agree that there is more than one way to define when the seasons begin.

Okay, I'm confused. Your

Okay, I'm confused. Your chart stated that the winter solstice begins at 6:03 p.m. EST, but above you say it's 12:11 EST. Which is correct? Am I missing something?

Hello, Old Gardener, Both are

Hello, Old Gardener, Both are correct. There are two different years referenced. For the 21st of December 2013, winter begins at 12:11 pm EST.

Thanks for the information we

Thanks for the information we studied most of this in geography years ago ..but its a good reminder and people should know that it varies in different parts of the world on their standard time. Although it shows spring in many parts the snow is still there but U may see tiny shoots coming up sooner or later.

Dear OFA...How do I love

Dear OFA...How do I love thee? In many countless ways! Keep on keeping on!

Aww. Shucks. We appreciate

Aww. Shucks. We appreciate the kind words. Your obedient servant, The Old Farmer's Almanac

Great Website. 09/17/2012,

Great Website.

09/17/2012, Monday

I initially visited this website in order to determine the exact date and time of The Autumnal Equinox, and The Winter Solstice for 2012, which [according to the valuable information available here] is 09/22/2012, Saturday and 12/21/2012, Friday. While I was here I read some other very interesting information also. This is great website with wonderful resources. Thank you. Dr. Stone / Tampa, Florida, United States.

Is this winter nit the end of

Is this winter nit the end of the Mayan Calender as we understand it. I was told it is the precise moment that all the planets will allign in a strait line for the first time in many centuries. the dawn of a new era as it seems. will be interesting to see if it is really just another y2k

Hi, Big Bill, It's a myth.

Hi, Big Bill, It's a myth. See more in our free Almanac Companion enewsletter here: http://us1.campaign-archive2.c...

Here is an excellent article

Here is an excellent article showing some Christian and Jewish traditions that revolve around the summer solstice.

I have been waiting for

I have been waiting for 2012-12-21 for 40 years. I didn't even know if I would still be here. Now just 180 days.......... I don't think anything will happen, but I will be up before the Chicken. Just in case. LOL

There are several

There are several interpretations as to when each season begins.
In North America, calendars commonly use the astronomical definition. It is true that various countries, cultures, religions, organizations, and individuals may use definitions other than the astronomical. Because we are an almanac that provides astronomical data, however, that’s why we use the astronomical definition. For our weather predictions, however, we start with a more meteorological definition by providing Nov-March “winter” predictions, Apr-May for spring, June-Aug for summer and Sept/Oct for fall. Hope this is helpful. --Your OFA editors

I am afraid that I must agree

I am afraid that I must agree with Jonathan. It is not simply "various countries, cultures, religions. . ." that define seasons in a variety of ways, but more so different latitudes. The so-called "astronomical" dates might seem to be more objective and authoritative, but in defining seasons as phenomena that occur uniformly across an entire hemisphere, we ignore the curvature of the earth and the tremendous variation in climate that occurs between the equator and the poles. The astronomical dates might make sense for someone living on the moon and seeing the earth as a flat disc, but for those of us living on the surface of the earth, seasons start and end at a variety of times. I think that the OFA should resist the popular compulsion to have "official" dates for the seasons and instead accept the more scientifically and historically accurate definition of seasons as annual changes in levels of sunlight, temperature, and precipitation that vary according to latitude and climate.

I am sorry but your

I am sorry but your contention that the first day of spring is the equinox, the first day of summer the solstice, etc., simply is not true. The so called beginning of summer (the summer solstice around June 21st) and the end (the equinox around Sept 21 or 22) is merely the astronomical beginning and end of summer, nothing more nothing less. The meteorological beginning and end of summer is June 1st and August 31st respectively. I, and I think most people, tend to consider the meteorological time to be more accurate. Contrary to popular belief there is no official beginning and end of the seasons. No scientific or governmental body has ever formally bestowed such a designation. Again, June 21 or 22 to Sept. 21 or 22 (or Sep. 21 to Dec. 21 for Fall, etc.) are merely the astronomical beginning and end of summer it is not the "official" beginning or ending. For more information go here:

Is it true that you can

Is it true that you can balance an egg during the spring equinox ??

Yes, it is true and I did it.

Yes, it is true and I did it. I am trying to post one of the photos I took but haven't had any luck yet. If anyone knows how to post a JPEG here please adda acomment with the methodology.

Thank you for this great

Thank you for this great info! Spring is my fav season. Even wrote a paper on Spring when I had to take English Comp (tested out of it 40 years ago as a college freshman) in the late 90s as a prereq to getting my RN degree. Love "The Farmer's Almanac," and grew up with it always on the shelf next to the phone back in the day. Thanks bunches!

On Mar 17th the sunrise and

On Mar 17th the sunrise and sunset will be exactly 12 hours how do they come up with the 20th?

Great question. You are

Great question. You are correct. The "equal" night/day usually comes a few days before the equinox. 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.’”

I have a fairly simple

I have a fairly simple question.
Does the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere occur at the same time as the summer solstice in the Southern hemisphere?
If there is a lag in the exact time, is that lag due to the "wobble" of the Earth on it's axis?
Enquiring minds wander...


A good question. Perhaps some

A good question. Perhaps some Australians can help

It would appear that the

It would appear that the Solstice occurs this year on both the 21st and the 22nd -- depending on your time zone -- am I wrong?

Hi All,   It is my

Hi All,
It is my understanding that the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere occur at the same point in time. However, local time, due to time zones, will vary. At the December solstice, Earth reaches a spot in its orbit such that its northern axis points the farthest away from the Sun (Earth's axis is tilted 23.5 degrees away from an upright position). The timing of this event is not dependent on where you are on Earth (such as a sunrise would be). However, the local time will change. Astronomers often list these events in Universal Time (UT), which is tied in to the time at Greenwich, England (0 degree longitude). From there, we need to convert to our local time.
Sometimes, the seasons occur near midnight. Therefore, as the event gets translated into local time, it may occur on one of two days (late evening of one day or early morning of the next day). This situation is happening for the December solstice in 2011. In Universal Time, the December solstice occurs on December 22 at the 5th hour 30th minute. In Eastern Standard Time, this is 12:30 am on December 22. However, in Central Time, this is December 21 at 11:30 pm; Mountain Standard is December 21 at 10:30 pm; Pacific Standard is December 21 at 9:30 pm, etc.
Hope this helps!
Heidi Stonehill
The Old Farmer's Almanac

After reading this I, of

After reading this I, of course understand the time zones, but it seems the season change may be at the same time all over the US? or does it come one hour after the previous time zone? In example Spring at 0700 EDT is also at 0700 CST?

Thanks Heidi!

Thanks Heidi!

Thanks Heidi your explanation

Thanks Heidi your explanation is informative.

Yes, both solstices occur at

Yes, both solstices occur at the same time. The northern axis points towards the Earth, creating more exposure, summer. On the directly oppisite side of the world, the southern hemisphere is in winter, because the southern axis is pointed away from the sun, becoming less exposed to sunlight. Both are solstises because the sun is either facing the Northern or Southern hemisphere, not the equator, which results in equinox. :)

Happy Autumnal Equinox 2011.

Happy Autumnal Equinox 2011. After Spring, Fall is my fave time of year. Love the smell of the fresh air as the temps change.

Love the Almanac ,too. From the time I was about 13 my Mom always made sure Santa put a copy of the Almanac in my Xmas stocking. Always something interesting to learn. Since my parents have moved on to the 'next realm' I make sure to get myself an Almanac for Xmas every year. It gets picked up by everyone that stops by over the holidays.

I always look at the almanac

I always look at the almanac to help me figure out when I'm going to plant my vegetable garden each year. It is something that my grandmother taught me to do to get the most out of the gardening season. I've even planted my vegetables in pots before the season starts so that I can transplant them outside and get a head start.

The Almanac sits near our

The Almanac sits near our couch and is viewed often and by many... Thanks So Much

I love the Almanac, too. It

I love the Almanac, too. It is full of interesting and very important information. Thanks, Kimberley

There is so much to learn

There is so much to learn from studying the past. Washington is no match for Mother Nature.

I love the Almanac

I love the Almanac

My Mother used to get these

My Mother used to get these same exact Almanac's back in the's sooo beautiful making this connection. KEEP READING this stuff...I love Deremiah *CPE

What would we do without

What would we do without it?
I for one would be lost