You have made it through the winter. On March 20th we arrive again at an Equinox, this time the Spring or Vernal Equinox. This is the same as the Autumn Equinox only the other way around. For a simple, explanation of what an equinox is, What happens and why? make the ‘what is an equinox’ model to demonstrate it.
We all again share 12 hours daylight and 12 hours of darkness, and the sun begins its journey through the northern hemisphere meaning we experience longer daylight. For those in the southern hemisphere, the darker days of the year are arriving.
The Spring Equinox in march takes place when the position of the sun crosses the celestial equator from the southern hemisphere into the northern. (The celestial equator is a projection of the Earth’s equator onto the map of the stars above us).
The spring equinox in the northern hemisphere has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth. Can you see any signs of spring yet?
In the northern hemisphere you will now be seeing other signs of spring and life begins to emerge. The path that the sun takes through the heavens is moving further north, that means it is higher up in the sky. Migrating birds will return to northern climates along with the sun. Trees now show budding leaves and spring flowers and plants begin a new cycle of growing.
Can you see any snakes?
Chichen Itza in Mexico is a settlement built by the people of the Mayan civilization and populated during AD 800-1200. During times of drought it has been stated that these people offered sacrifices to the supernatural beings on the spring and autumn equinoxes. These rituals and ceremonies were so important to the mayan peoples that when they were building they positioned structures to highlight these days during the year with reference to the sun and its position in the sky on those days.
At the El Castillo buiding in the Chichen Itza ruins, on the day of equinox the sunlight causes a shadow cast by the north staircase which creates an image, can you see it in the photo?
Kulkulkan was a supernatural figure in mayan belief who took the form of a feathered serpent.
A slithering snake appears to slide down the staircase. It is joined to the stone snake head at the base. Any other day of the year the shadow falls in the wrong place. How clever is that!