For centuries, people have celebrated the balance associated with the autumn equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere, this date was important because it gave farmers one last day of light to harvest their fall crops before the nights got longer. Many ancient cultures celebrated the change of the seasons with festivities and rituals to honor their gods. These festivals still take place in many parts of the world, and Sky Bird Travel & Tours knows that it’s a spectacle to behold. If your clients are interested in fall travel, then read on about the autumn equinox and where to celebrate the first day of fall!
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What Is An Equinox?
The term ‘equinox‘ appears on our calendars twice a year, but what does it mean? The Latin term dates back to ancient times — “aequi” meaning equal and “nox” meaning night. Because the planet rotates on an axis, the sun doesn’t hit the north and south poles (aka the top and bottom of the Earth) at the same time. During an equinox, however, the sun hits the equator just right and its shadow is perfectly divided over the Earth. This natural phenomenon creates a day with 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night — An equal night.
When Is The Autumn Equinox?
The Autumn Equinox falls between the 21st and 24th of September every year on the Western calendar. This year, the celebration will occur at 2:49 am EST on Saturday, September 23rd, 2023. The other equinox we experience is the Spring Equinox, which will occur at 11:06 pm EST on Monday, March 19th, 2024.
Where To Celebrate The Autumn Equinox
Chichen Itza, Mexico
The Yucatán Mayans were an amazing civilization, and they celebrated the Autumn Equinox back in 2500 AD. The equinox was so important in their culture that they built their religious monuments with architecture that enhanced the phenomenon. The Pyramid of Kukulkan was built over a thousand years ago to worship a feathered snake deity. The precise angle of the pyramid would allow for the sun’s shadow to cascade down the sides in a zig-zag pattern. This pattern would appear to onlookers as if the shadow of a giant snake was slithering out of the pyramid. The pyramid is still standing today, and your clients can watch the snake god manifest in Chichen Itza.
The Kokino megalithic observatory is a relatively recent archaeological discovery, unearthed in 2001, but an important one, nonetheless. Every year, people climb up to the viewpoint to watch the sun over the beautiful Macedonian red rocks. Located near the Macedonian town of Kumanovo, this site dates back almost 4,000 years! At the site, your clients can see stone markers with carvings to track the sun and moon during the Autumn and Spring Equinoxes.
A unique group called the Druid Order, formed in 1245, has been holding ceremonies for the solstices and equinoxes since, they claim, 1717. To celebrate the Autumn Equinox, also known as Mabon or Harvest Home, the Druids dress in white robes and walk in procession to Primrose Hill. One tradition includes forming a ‘circle of companions’ and drinking from the ceremonial cornucopia directed by the Chief. Another tradition includes four blows from a Tibetan horn to represent the four seasons. The other seasonal ceremonies are just as grandiose and are celebrated at locations like Tower Hill and Stonehenge.
In ancient times, Grand Duke Gediminas made September 22nd a holiday in memory of the dead. On this day, the streets are lined with vendors selling the latest harvest, artists weaving straw sculptures, and performers doing fire shows to praise the sun. The main attraction of the festival is the burning of the 12 meters tall straw lamb sculpture on the Neris River waterfront. Fire is symbolic of eternity, strength, and unity, and was believed to represent the movement of the sun during the equinox. Your clients will be hypnotized by the celebration.
Book Travel During the Autumn Equinox
Some travel agents can struggle to find inspiration for their clients’ fall vacations. Whether they opt to walk through the jungle to ancient ruins that interact with shadows or overnight in bustling towns burning straw effigies, this vacation will be one for the record books! Sky Bird Travel has the best deals on flights, accommodations, and tours wherever your client travels. Register for free on the WINGS Booking Engine and start building vacations your clients will love. Already registered? Log in now, and watch the fares go down and your commission go up!