The Fall Equinox takes place in September. The sun's rays shine directly over the Earth's equator. The length of day and night is said to be equal. The Fall Equinox occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator, which is an imaginary line above the Earth's equator. As the sun goes from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere, the fall or autumn season officially starts. The Fall Equinox ends during the December Solstice, when Winter begins.
There is an incorrect belief that the Fall Equinox is a day long event. That is incorrect, however many cultures celebrate the day as such. During the Fall Equinox, the Earth's axis is tilted neither away from or towards the Sun. Due to different time zones, the Fall Equinox may take place on the following day after other places. This occurs in places such as Australia and New Zealand.
Normally the Fall Equinox happens on September 22 or 23, but on rare occasions may happen on September 21 or 24. Experts are certain that the Fall Equinox will occur on either the 21 or 24 sometime this century. The Fall Equinox date varies because of the Gregorian calendar and how long it takes Earth to complete a full orbit around the Sun. On average, The Fall Equinox happens 6 hours later than the previous year. In some places, there are a few more hours of daylight, due to the way sunrise and sunset are looked at, as well as atmospheric refraction of sunlight. Locations that are not by the equator experience equal day and night twice a year around the different equinoxes. This all depends on the latitude of the location. The closer the place is to the Equator, the event will happen before the equinox.
The Full Moon that is close to the Fall Equinox is special. The Harvest Moon is the start of the time between one moon rise to another moon rise becoming increasingly shorter. During lunar months, the moon rises 50 minutes later, while during The Harvest Moon that same time period is reduced to 30 or 40 minutes. The Harvest Moon Effect occurs because of the low angle that the Moon takes around the Earth. Many farmers look to harvest their crops for a longer period of time during the evenings.
During The Fall Equinox depending on where you stay, you may be able to catch the aurora borealis increases at high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Research shows that geomagnetic activities are likely to occur during The Fall Equinox opposed to Summer or Winter.
Many cultures celebrate The Fall Equinox with festivals or holidays. In Greek Mythology, The Fall Equinox has been linked to the goddess Persephone returning to the underworld to reunite with Hades. There are Greek rituals for security and protection, as well as reflection time on prior months of the calendar year. The Fall Equinox is a special part of the Indigenous Australian culture. In China, there is a Moon Festival, which celebrates the Summer's harvest. People eat a moon cake filled with sesame seeds, dried fruit, and lotus. In Japan, The Fall Equinox occurs during Higan, which is a week of Buddhist services. Higan is a reminder of the dead spirits reaching Nirvana in Japanese culture. During Higan, people remember their loved ones by cleaning and redecorating their graves.