WTF Fun Fact 12963 – The Autumn Equinox

Solstice, equinox – what’s the difference? We know these things meant more to people in agricultural societies, but they still dictate the way we do things today to some extent. The 2022 autumn equinox will begin on September 22 at 9:03 pm.

Why is the autumn equinox so specific?

This is a natural phenomenon that influences culture, not the other way around. So while you might start shopping for your autumn decor in August, fall doesn’t really begin until the solar system says so.

The autumnal equinox occurs when the sun is nearest to the equatorial plane (the imaginary extension of the equator), giving us a day with equal amounts of sunlight and darkness. It lasts a few days, and as soon as it’s over, the days start to get shorter.

Spring also has an equinox. When it’s over, the days start to get longer.

Winter and summer, on the other hand, have solstices.

What’s the difference between an equinox and a solstice?

The summer and winter solstices occur when the sun is farthest from the equatorial plane. They are the day when the daylight is longest (spring) or shortest (winter).

So while the solstices and equinoxes each usher in a new season, each only applies to two seasons and represents a different phenomenon. (And all of the seasons are the opposite in each hemisphere – we’re only talking about the northern hemisphere here!)

What’s so fun about the autumnal solstice?

If you like fall weather (and live in the northern hemisphere), you’re probably pretty excited about its official start.

Historically, the equinox signaled the end of the outdoor working season or harvest season. It was a time to celebrate all of the hard work nature had done for humans and that humans did to reap the benefits and survive through winter. It’s traditionally a time to give thanks and take stock of all of nature’s bounty a community had received.

In many places, it was a time of harvest festivals, feasting (at least on the things that might not be preserved over the winter), and thanking the gods of the harvest.  WTF fun facts

Source: “The Spiritual Meaning of the Autumn Equinox” — Spirituality & Health

WTF Fun Fact 12432 – Spring Fever

The dawn of spring brings mixed feelings and physical reactions. While some poets have long written about “spring fever” as something associated with romance, pleasure, and good spirits, others find March to be a little more gloomy.

You won’t find a doctor diagnosing you with spring fever, but if you notice a change in mood or energy as the days get longer, you’re not alone.

Many people welcome the dawn of spring weather and the return of sunshine. Their ability to spend more time outside is a mood-booster, and they feel restless to get things done after a long and dark winter. Interestingly, these good moods tend to decrease in the hot summer months.

Other less ideal symptoms of this so-called “spring fever” can include an increased heart rate, appetite loss, and mood swings.

Then there are those for whom spring is a curse and who might think of spring fever as the bad kind of fever. There may be some truth to this as well. Some experience a more depressed mood and lack of energy at the start of spring as their bodies adjust. One theory is that the body has used up so much of its serotonin reserves by the end of winter that it leaves people depleted. The return of sunlight helps re-make this serotonin, but the physical process and the hormonal fluctuations involved can cause lethargy.

Some researchers have even hypothesized that rising temperatures cause blood vessels to expand and lead to a drop in blood pressure, leading to headaches. Then there are the people who suffer from “reverse seasonal affective disorder.” The list of spring maladies goes on and on.

However, fever isn’t typically a symptom of any of these reactions, so spring “fever” is more of a nickname.

And don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the allergy sufferers! For so many of us, spring pollen and the swirling of dust particles that occurs as we open our windows again can be a real downer. While allergies don’t cause a fever either, sinus infections can. – WTF fun facts 

Source: “Does “Spring Fever” Exist?” — Scientific American