March 20th Is The First Day Of Spring

March 21st, 2012 by Craig Mullins

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” – Proverb

As of 1:14am Eastern Time on Tuesday March 20, 2012, winter has ended in the Northern Hemisphere. That means the spring equinox has officially arrived, making today the first day of spring.

The word ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin “aequus nox,” meaning “equal night.” An equinox happens twice a year, in the spring and in fall, and is the only time when the Sun crosses the celestial equator.

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.) [source]

While we commonly think the equinox means a night that is just as long as the day, it’s not technically true.

For most locations on earth, there are two distinct identifiable days per year when the length of day and night are closest to being equal; those days are referred to as the “equiluxes” to distinguish them from the equinoxes. Equinoxes are points in time, but equiluxes are days. By convention, equiluxes are the days where sunrise and sunset are closest to being exactly 12 hours apart. [source]

illumination of earth by the sun at march equinox

Fun Facts about the First Day of Spring (Vernal Equinox):

- The fall and spring equinoxes are the only two times of the year when the sun rises due east and sets due west.

- They are also the only days of the year when a person standing on the Equator can see the sun passing directly overhead.

- In the Northern Hemisphere on the vernal equinox, a person at the North Pole sees the sun skimming across the horizon; marking the start of six months of uninterrupted daylight.

- At the same time, someone at the South Pole would also see the sun skim the horizon, but to them it would signal the beginning of six months of darkness.

A Prayer in Spring
by Robert Frost (1915)

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.

first day of spring march 20 2012

And now for a couple delicious spring recipes! Click on the name for full directions…..

Spring Pasta Recipe
8 ounces / 225 g cooked, leftover pasta
2 eggs
fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 big handfuls of sliced asparagus, and/or pea shoots, or tiny broccoli trees, or shredded greens – anything quick cooking and fresh

Chopped avocado
Chopped herbs

Penne with Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes
8 ounces penne pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (about 9 ounces) cherry tomatoes
1 cup shelled fresh peas
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Happy First Day of Spring!

Is this your favorite season? We’d love to hear why!

march 20 first day of spring 2012

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