September Equinox — Wilderness North

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September Equinox

The September or fall/ autumnal equinox on September 22 at 10:29 pm signifies the official end of summer and beginning of fall in the Northern hemisphere, and the official start to spring in the Southern hemisphere. It is one of only two days out of the year when there are roughly equal amounts of day and night because the sun shines directly on the equator instead of slightly above (summer) and slightly below (winter). This astronomical event mainly signifies the end of one harvest season and the beginning of another one. In many early European cultures it marked the beginning of the New Year and was a time for: signing or renewing leases, rendering accounts, and paying annual dues. Often a large meal was prepared and enjoyed as the community celebrated.

Other cultures also use this day for a variety of religious observances, and customs. For example in ancient Greece it signified the goddess Persephone’s return to the underworld and her husband Hades. It was often regarded as a good time to enact protection and security rituals as well as reflect on the successes & failures of the previous months.

In France and Italy the full moon closest to the equinox is known as Wine Moon as vineyard owners would use the light of the full moon to help with their process of harvesting grapes from the arbors, pressing them, and putting the slurry away to become wine.

In China the September Equinox marks Moon Festival where mooncakes filled with sesame seeds, a duck egg, lotus flowers, or dried fruit are shared to celebrate the abundance of the summer’s harvest.

Japanese Buddhists refer to both the September and March equinoxes as Higan, meaning “other shore”, and use the national holiday to start a week of services to honour the dead that have reached Nirvana. The day is spent visiting, cleaning, and decorating the final resting places of loved ones.

For anglers the fall equinox often signifies a transition period. Fish that have not already been triggered by weather changes and other environmental cues take this as a sign to get moving to their wintering grounds. If you have the opportunity, and the weather allows for it, take advantage of the long night and the almost full moon. As the saying goes; “the fish are here today but gone tomorrow”.

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