With the days getting longer and the nights are getting shorter, we’ll soon be saying goodbye to winter in no time at all - and welcoming spring in 2022.
But did you know there are actually two different dates that the beginning of the season could start?
This is what you need to know.
When is spring?
How the beginning of spring is defined all depends on whether you’re following the astronomical or meteorological calendar.
The Met Office explains: “Astronomical seasons refer to the position of Earth’s orbit in relation to the Sun, considering equinoxes and solstices.
“This is due to the 23.5 degrees of tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis concerning its orbit around the Sun.
“Since the seasons vary in length, the start date of a new season can fall on different days each year.”
This year, astronomical spring will begin on Sunday 20 March 2022, and will end on Tuesday 21 June 2022.
However, if you are looking at the meteorological calendar, these seasons are instead based on “the annual temperature cycle and measure the meteorological state, as well as coinciding with the calendar to determine a clear transition between the seasons” according to the Met Office.
The Met Office says: “The meteorological seasons consist of splitting the seasons into four periods made up of three months each.
“These seasons are split to coincide with our Gregorian calendar, making it easier for meteorological observing and forecasting to compare seasonal and monthly statistics.”
In regards to the meteorological calendar, the seasons are defined as:
- Spring: March, April and May
- Summer: June, July and August
- Autumn: September, October and November
- Winter: December, January and February
What’s the spring equinox?
The first day of spring welcomes the vernal equinox, which boasts an almost equal number of daylight and nighttime hours.
In this context, the first day of spring refers to the date defined using the astronomical method, which is Sunday 20 March this year.
The vernal equinox, also known as the March equinox or the spring equinox, marks the turning point when the hours of daylight officially begin to outnumber the hours of darkness that we experience.
The days have been getting ever so slightly longer and longer since the winter solstice in December, but it’s the vernal equinox that sees the scales tip in favour of more daylight.
When the summer solstice occurs later this year, we will enjoy the longest day of the year, with the days therefore gradually getting shorter thereafter.
The word “equinox” itself actually translates to “equal night”, from the Latin words for “aequus” (equal) and “nox” (night).
How can I celebrate the Spring Equinox?
There are many ways to celebrate the coming of spring.
In keeping with druids of old, you could choose to celebrate spring by witnessing the Equinox at Stonehenge, or another stone circle, of which there are 316 in the UK.
One of the closest to Merseyside is Penbedw Park Stone Circle, by the A541, just across the border in Wales.
Alternatively, there is the Bronze Age stone circle, Nine Stones Close in Derbyshire, or Cheetham Close Stone Circles, Bolton and, of course, Castlerigg stone circle in the Lake District.
If tahts’ not your thing, you could always witness the last setting sun nearer to home at Crosby Beach or Formby Beach, which are both famous for the spectacular sunsets.
Or, how about Sefton Park with its relatively quiet natural settings with open skies.
Another way to mark it is to introduce a new energy to your life, maybe by planting a new shrub or by celebrating with friends in any way you know how, and, weather-permitting, possibly outside.