March 20th, 2013 ~ The Vernal Equinox ~ Happy Spring!! Happy Ostara!!

March 20th, 2013 by Sherri

"The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month." ~Henry Van Dyke

Why is it called equinox?

On the equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it’s called an “equinox”, derived from Latin, meaning “equal night”. However, even if this is widely accepted, it isn’t entirely true. In reality equinoxes don’t have exactly 12 hours of daylight. The March equinox occurs the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north. This happens either on March 19, 20 or 21 every year. On any other day of the year, the Earth’s axis tilts a little away from or towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the Earth’s axis tilts neither away from nor towards the Sun. In the northern hemisphere the March equinox marks the start of spring and has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth. (from March Equinox, www.timeanddate.com)

"Ostara" symbol of the Vernal Equinox

Source: Johannes Gehrts (1855-1921) via Wikimedia Ostara is the celebration of the vernal equinox, and the goddess Eostre. Above, Eostre flies through the air with symbols of spring, rebirth and fertility.

 

 

 

Ostara is one of the names given for the celebration of the Spring (Vernal) Equinox, when day and night balance. Astronomically, the sun crosses the celestial equator at this time. The Vernal Equinox usually falls on March 20 or 21. The name Ostra is derived from the Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon lunar Goddess Eostre, goddess of spring and fertility. Her festival celebrated rebirth as she was believed to bring renewal and reawakening from the dead of winter. Her chief symbols were the rabbit (for fertility, and her worshipers often saw the image of a rabbit in the full moon), and the egg (representing the cosmic egg of creation). This is where the customs of the “Easter Eggs” and the “Easter Bunny” originated.

 

 

In Plymouth Magazine

Example Image

PSU Collaboration Leads to Emmy

When Trish Lindberg was a 17-year-old musician, artist, and actor, her mother—a teacher herself—told her she would make a great teacher. Lindberg looked her mother right in the eye and said, “I will never be a teacher!” Mother Knows Best Decades later, Lindberg, now a Carnegie Foundation NH Professor of the Year, a recipient of […]

Example Image

Teaming Up for Service

There’s more to PSU’s student-athletes than excellent grades and athletic prowess. There’s a desire to make a difference in the world. Plymouth State men’s hockey coach Craig Russell ’09 encourages his team to serve as often as possible. Through the nonprofit organization Team IMPACT, which pairs children with life-threatening or chronic illness with local college […]

Example Image

Faculty Forum: Brian Eisenhauer on Shrinking Our Environmental Impact

In his roles as professor, scholar, researcher, mentor, and campus leader, Brian Eisenhauer is at the center of Plymouth State’s sustainability and climate neutrality efforts. Under his leadership, Plymouth State has been consistently recognized as a leader in environmental sustainability and is regularly included in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, a compilation of […]