Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Autumnal Equinox

Veteran peace and environmental activist Jerry Rubin is calling on people everywhere to celebrate this year's autumnal equinox by hugging a tree.

There will be a mass tree hug at noon Tuesday at the Children's Tree of Life in Palisades Park, near the Santa Monica Pier.

Rubin says hugging trees not only relieves stress but also takes back the title "tree hugger" from those who would make it a term of ridicule and it also reminds people of the importance of trees to the environment.

The exact date and time of the fall equinox, when the sun moves into the astrological sign of Libra, varies from year to year.

When and why the autumnal equinox happens:

The seasons of the year are caused by the 23.5ยบ tilt of the earth's axis. Because the earth is rotating like a top or gyroscope, it points in a fixed direction continuously -- towards a point in space near the North Star. But the earth is also revolving around the sun. During half of the year, the southern hemisphere is more exposed to the sun than is the northern hemisphere. During the rest of the year, the reverse is true. The halfway points in the year are called the equinoxes. It is time of the year when the sun rises exactly in the east, travels through the sky for 12 hours, and sets exactly in the west. Everywhere on earth experiences close to 12 hours of daylight, and 12 hours of nighttime.

The Autumnal Equinox is also known as:

Alban Elfed, Autumn Equinox, Fall Equinox, Cornucopia, Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Harvest Home, Harvest Tide, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, and the first day of autumn.

So there you have it - today is the first day of autumn and for those of us living in Northern parts of the United States it also signals the time that the leaves start to change color and a gradual change in temperature.

We have already started getting a chill in the air in the evenings, it is becoming dark earlier each evening and the leaves are falling from the trees.

For those readers who live in the warmer climates you should try to visit the Northern states because the foliage is beautiful and it is the best time of the year here.

Go on out there and hug a tree today – I dare you!

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