The September Equinox is upon us. For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox; for our cousins in the Northern Hemisphere it is time for the Autumnal Equinox.
|Daffodils & jonquils from my garden|
The September equinox occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator. This is the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s Equator from north to south. On every other day of the year, either the Southern Hemisphere or the Northern Hemisphere tilts a little towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the tilt of Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the Sun’s rays. This means that the time for our day and night is basically equal all around the world today (hence the word equinox). How equal the ratio between day and night actually is though, will depend on your latitude. Which means that Sydney actually had our day of roughly equal night and day on the 18th September.
In Japan, the equinox is celebrated with a week long Buddhist festival called Higan (which is translated as the Other shore). It’s a time to reflect on your daily life and renew your commitment to Buddhist ideals. The focus is on moving from a world of delusion to one of awakening. Six key concepts are taught to help one reach the Other shore or Nirvana – giving, precepts, perseverance, diligence, zazen, and wisdom. It’s also a time to visit the graves of ancestors to express gratitude.
Normally the Equinoxes are a time to rejoice in moderate temperatures. However our spring equinox will be made more memorable this year with predicted all-time record breaking weather. Sydney is on course for two days of 33℃ (91.4℉) while some areas in Western Sydney and Western NSW could reach 40℃ (104℉). That’s middle of summer weather, not the beginning of Spring!