As you may know, many people celebrate the first day of spring this week. Finally we can shed the heavy coats and take the ice scraper out of the car.
But it’s not that simple. Is today really the first day of spring? It depends on who you ask…
- If you are in New York, spring officially begins on March 19, 2020 at 11:49pm according to astronomers. This is based on the vernal equinox (when the sun is aligned with the earth’s equator, resulting in roughly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness across the globe).
- But according to meteorologists, the first day of spring is March 1. They split the calendar year into four seasons based on temperature and weather patterns. Spring months are considered to be March, April and May.
- Most people in Russia also consider March 1 as the first day of spring.
- In much of Ireland, the first day of spring is considered to be February 1. This date is chosen based on the Celtic calendar and using the vernal equinox as the mark of the middle of the spring season, instead of the start.
- In Finland, the spring season starts when the average temperature each day is between 0 and 10 degrees C (that means in some places in Finland spring doesn’t begin until May!).
- Things get even more complicated in parts of South Asia, where instead of having four seasons, the year is broken into six seasons. Spring there is often considered to begin in mid-March.
- This year the famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, predicted an early spring. While there’s no accurate definition of what “early spring” means, we must assume that spring will come in less than six weeks – so that would make the first day of spring sometime in early March.
- And remember – For all of our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, March 19 isn’t the first day of spring….it’s the first day of autumn!
Whatever the calendar says, whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow and regardless of the position of the earth in relation to the sun, we can probably all agree that it finally feels like spring when you see the first bulbs flowering from the ground as harbingers of the season of growth.
What signals the beginning of springtime to you?