History of The Spring: What is the Vernal Equinox?

Date of Spring

This year, the vernal equinox (Spring) occurs on March 20 at 09:37 UTC. This means Temps Universel Coordonne, or Coordinated Universal Time if you don’t speak French, roughly equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time if you’re British, or Zulu Time if you’re a pilot. The Autumnal Equinox occurs 6 months later. Since each equinox occurs at the same time whether in the northern hemisphere as the southern hemisphere, though the seasons are reversed, it is becoming common to call the (northern) vernal equinox the March Equinox and the Autumnal Equinox the September Equinox.


Where do we get the name vernal? It was St. Vernal of Bithynia in the 5th century who… Nah, just kidding. Vernal is from the Latin vernālis, from vernus “of spring.” It refers to the fresh or young part of the year.

Relevance of Spring

As surely as Winter follows Autumn, so does Spring follow Winter — except in Colorado — so also in most other parts of the US do we see the blossoming of new life. Many of the holidays of this season, both pagan and religious, point to new life.

Colorado Springs Crocuses

Writer and technologist. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, and pop culture. billpetro.com @billpetro

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