Earth Science

First day of Spring

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Spring brings the promise of a new beginning
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First day of spring brings new beginnings

Step outside on a beautiful March morning. Something is different. Although the day before may have been just as beautiful, today somehow feels different. While everything seems to be just the way it was before, today is just not the same. Why does the air smell fresher, the grass seem taller, and the sun just a tiny bit brighter? Today is March 20th, the first day of spring, and what comes with it is more than just good weather. Itís a certain feeling that you just canít get on any other day. Itís a sense of re-birth, renewal, and the promise of better days to come.

When is the first day of Spring and why?

A day much anticipated by Northerners, the vernal equinox is not just any old day on the calendar. Despite the broken promises of the furriest weather man in the business, Punxsutawney Phil, the first day of spring comes every year at exactly the same time on exactly the same day. 

The official start of the season is exactly 7:44 a.m. on March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere and September 20th in the Southern Hemisphere. However, if you have any knowledge at all of the currently accepted Gregorian calendar, you donít have to be a mathematician to realize that leap years should cause the actual date of the first day of spring to vary depending on the year.  

In fact, the first day of spring is often debated among meteorologists, scientists, and even religious figures. According to Celtic tradition the first day of Spring is often March 21st, while many astronomers will tell you that the first day of spring is actually different each and every year. 

A little bit of history

The truth is that our current calendar system is flawed. Created in the late 16th century, the Gregorian calendar was put in place by Pope Gregory XIII and marks the years beginning after the death of Jesus Christ. Modern science now recognizes that it takes the earth around 365 and ľ days to circle the sun. The problem is the extra ľ day. The Gregorian calendar makes up for these extra hours by adding a day to every year divisible by four, except for years divisible by 100. This means that through the years our calendar has moved farther and farther from being an exact science and has become more of just a way to keep things organized.

There is a widely accepted belief that the first day of spring is really the day in which the number of hours of daylight is exactly equal to the number of hours of darkness. However, the problem with this theory is that the number of hours of daylight varies depending on your position on the earth. So, in reality, everyone is experiencing the first day of spring at different times.

Starting anew

No matter the day or time or your position on the planet, the first day of spring is a call for celebration. Whether you believe it is today, tomorrow, or weeks ago, the feeling that the new season brings is something that everyone can agree on. Whether you see it in the stars, smell it in the air, or mark it in sharpie on your calendar, the promise that comes with the first day of spring is something that cannot be measured. 

There is something different in the air. Itís not just the pollen or the fresh flowers; itís the hope of a new beginning. Itís a time of re-birth and the possibility of brighter days. It's a time for flowers and soft rains, for throwing aside the dark heavy clothes of winter and dressing in lightweight pastels and flower-themed jewelry

Spring is when the snow melts and the sun begins to shine, take stock of what you have and what you donít need, what you want and what you can live without. Hold on to the ideals that come with that first day of spring and carry it with you through the coming months because the feelings that are here today are much too often gone tomorrow.

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