We mark the beginning of the new season with the arrival of the spring equinox on Wednesday, March 20th at 5:58 p.m. EDT. Regardless of what the weather is doing outside, this is the exact moment of the official start of spring. And perhaps because this marks the gateway to the growing season, there are a lot of myths and beliefs surrounding it. We dive into the 5 most common myths associated with the spring equinox and separate fact from fiction. How many of these do you believe?
Myth #1: You Can Stand a Raw Egg on End
According to this myth, the Sun’s position in the sky (and presumably its gravitational pull on the Earth) means that you can stand an egg up on end during the precise moment of the vernal equinox. But this is something you can try to do any day of the year—provided you have the patience to spend lots of time trying to balance eggs! Equinoxes won’t make it any easier to accomplish this feat.
Myth #2: The Vernal Equinox Makes it Easier to Balance Everything
This is similar to the egg myth. Some believe that the Sun’s gravitational pull on the Earth during the equinox makes it easier to balance objects like brooms. But, as with the myth about balancing eggs, the Sun’s gravitational pull doesn’t affect any balancing act you’re trying to pull off. Whether you’re balancing a broom, building a house of cards, or standing an egg on its end, the task will be just as tough on the equinox as any other day of the year.
Myth #3: You Won’t Have A Noontime Shadow
Technically, this myth is kind of true. But conditions have to be incredibly precise for this to happen. It’s all about being the right place at the right time. Since the Sun is always at an angle to you, you always cast a shadow. In order to not cast a shadow, the Sun needs to be directly overhead. Because the Sun is situated over the equator at the equinox, you’d have to be standing at the equator precisely at noon on the day of the equinox for this to happen.
Myth #4: The Equinox Is A Day-Long Event
An equinox doesn’t take all day—it’s only a moment in time! The true equinox an exact moment in which the Sun passes over the equator—blink and you’ll miss it. For 2019, the Vernal Equinox happens on Wednesday, March 20th at precisely 5:58 PM EDT.
Myth #5: The Spring Equinox Can Alter Your Mood
This is another one of those myths based partly in truth. In actuality, the Sun moving across the equator has no real effect on emotions. But, seasonal changes can and often do play a big part in moods. So while the moment of the vernal equinox itself isn’t responsible for changes in your emotions, it’s likely that around this time of year you’re experiencing at least a little bit of spring fever, or leftover effects of the winter’s shorter days (SADD).
While you’re free to try to balance eggs and brooms on the equinox, just remember that the equinox’s significance centers around the Sun’s position relative to the equator. It’s the astronomical start of spring which means longer days for those of us in the northern hemisphere. And after a long winter cooped up indoors, more daylight is welcome news!