Unequal Equinox

Day and Night are not equal on the Equinox.

In Canada’s Stonehenge, Gordon R Freeman dismisses the misconception that days and nights are of equal length during the Equinox. The Equinox signifies the date when the path of the Sun crosses the Equator, but the Equalnights, when day and night are 12 hours each, are a different matter altogether.

The actual date when the day and night are equal–or as close to 12 hours as is practicable–varies depending on the line of latitude where one resides, as per the following table:

Dates of Equalnights*

Latitude

 

North

South

3

5

10

20

About Feb 3-9

Feb 25-26

Mar 7-8

Mar 13-14

About Nov 4-10

Oct 17-18

Oct 5-6

Sept 29-30

About Apr 30-May 6

Apr 14-15

Mar 31-Apr 1

Mar 26-27

About Aug 9-12

Aug 28-29

Sept 10-11

Sept 16-17

30

40

50

15-16

16-17

17-18

26-27

25-26

25-26

23-24

23-24

22-23

18-9

19-20

19-20

60

80

17-18

17-18

24-25

24-25

22-23

22-23

19-20

20-21

90

Sun rises abut Mar 18, sets about Sept 24

Sun rises about Sept 20, sets about Mar 22

*Calculated for 0° longitude, A.D. 2000. SZM: March 20, Sept 22. Solstice: June 21, Dec 21

You can check for yourself at this Time and Date sight. Click here for Equinox dates, and here for day length times (scroll down for the table). You’ll want to enter your own location, of course.

In the case where I am, in Ottawa Canada (45 degrees North latitude), the date is March 17th, which Freeman speculates may be the origins of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

When I revisited this idea (as I do twice a Year), I also recall that it is the most important time to get outside at dusk and dawn, for this is the time when our body’s biological clock sets itself against the relative position of the Sun.

In the Light BookJane Wegscheider Hyman describes that the eyes are most sensitive at twilight – dawn & dusk – and that at these times, the eyes calibrate the time of day with the season. So, celebrations that get us outside are an excellent addition to theAbysmal Holydays (the more, the merrier.)

What I noticed upon revisiting the above chart, is how the periods of equal days & nights either begins or ends on one of theAbysmal Midquarter Days (Which are already Holydays).

wheel of the year - weekdayless

Note that these dates approximate the Equinox and Solstices, and anything following February falls a day earlier on a Leap Year i.e March 21st-22nd in a Leap Year, and so on with the others.

The Quarters of the Year are 91 Days, and so the midway day falls 45 days after the beginning of the quarter, and 45 days before its end. In most years, these days fall on Feb 5th, May 7th, Aug 6th, Nov 5th. These are equivalent to the ancient holidays celebrated on Feb 2nd, May 1st, Aug 1st, Nov 1st.

Nevertheless if we look at the dates above and approximate them to the midquarter days, we get:

Feb 5th to Mar 18th, the Equalnight sweeps from the Equator to the North Pole, rougly the second half of the first quarter.

Mar 22nd to May 6th, the Equalnight sweeps from South Pole to the Equator, roughly the first half of the second quarter.

Aug 6th to Sep 21st, the Equalnight sweeps from Equator to South Pole, roughly the second half of the third quarter.

Sep 24th to Nov 5th, the Equalnight sweeps from North Pole to Equator, roughly the first half of the fourth quarter.

In other words, we spend nearly half the year passing through Equalnights somewhere in the world. No wonder we acknowledge the Equinox globally. I’m all for celebrating the Equalnights locally, with and within one’s community (however that’s defined these days).

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