What is the
Equinox?
The Equinox is a bi-annual event during the calendar year in which the length of day and night is approximately equal duration over the entire planet.  The word is derived from the Latin aequinoctium, aequus (equal) and nox (genitive noctis) (night).  Celebrated as the first day of Autumn and the beggining of cooler days and fall colors, the Equinox is the perfect evening for a race.

As with many celestial events, the Equinox plays a part in cultures throughout the world.

Calendars
  • The September equinox marked the first day of the French Republican Calendar.

Commemorations
  • West Asia
    • The Southward equinox marks the first day of Mehr or Libra in the Iranian calendar. It is one of the Iranian festivals called Jashne Mihragan, or the festival of sharing or love in Zoroastrianism.

  • East Asia
    • The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, often near the autumnal equinox day, and is an official holiday in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and in many countries with a significant Chinese minority. As the lunar calendar is not synchronous with the Gregorian calendar, this date could be anywhere from mid-September to early October.
    • In Korea, Chuseok is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday celebrated around the Autumn Equinox.
    • The traditional East Asian calendars divide a year into 24 solar terms (节气, literally "climatic segments"), and the autumnal equinox (Qiūfēn, Chinese and Japanese: 秋分; Korean: 추분; Vietnamese: Thu phân) marks the middle of the autumn season. In this context, the Chinese character 分 means "(equal) division" (within a season).
    • In Japan Autumnal Equinox Day (秋分の日) is a public holiday.

  • Europe
    • The traditional harvest festival in the United Kingdom was celebrated on the Sunday of the full moon closest to the September equinox.
    • The Southward equinox was "New Year's Day" in the French Republican Calendar, which was in use from 1793 to 1805. The French First Republic was proclaimed and the French monarchy was abolished on September 21, 1792, making the following day (the equinox day that year) the first day of the "Republican Era" in France. The start of every year was to be determined by astronomical calculations following the real Sun and not the mean Sun.

  • Neopaganism
    • Neopagans observe the September equinox as a cardinal point on the Wheel of the Year. In the Northern Hemisphere some varieties of paganism adapt Mabon traditions. In the Southern Hemisphere, the vernal equinox corresponds with Ostara.