The First Day of Spring (Vernal Equinox)  USA vs. Japan      March 19, 2003 (modified: 110304)

USA  

March 21, the vernal equinox, is fast approaching.  But, we don't get a day off for this day.  As some calendars in the
US indicate, this day is the “First Day of Spring” in the US .  Also, Spring Break is around this time.  After this break students will go back to school and finish the school year in May or June.

February 2: See the photo of "groundhogs” (woodchucks); our photos or <  http://www.hoghaven.com >  On this day Americans watch the groundhog (an animal) emerge from his burrow after hibernation.  Tradition says that his behavior forecasts when spring will arrive.  Accordingly, February 2nd or February 2nd + 6 weeks is a sort of start of spring in the
US .  Details are in Our Letter 23.    By the way, Groundhog Day doesn't sound glamorous or modern (Oops! Sorry this might be a stereotype), but it is an interesting facet of American life.  It looks like this day originated from a European tradition.  Note: As for Minnesota , spring will come in April or May.  L

Japan  

On March 21, the Vernal Equinox day,
Japan has a national holiday.  It’s also intriguing that at least both countries recognize this day as a special day. 

February 4:  In Japan, the first day of spring is February 4, “Ritsu-Shun.”  As for Japan , February 3rd, a day before Ristu-shun, there is "Setsubun."  Setsubun Day is celebrated by throwing roasted soybeans inside and outside the house while saying, "Welcome good fortune! Go away, Demons!"  By the way, these roasted soybeans taste good.  On that day some adults of certain ages, like 42 year old men, go to a shrine to pray for getting rid of bad luck while dropping small money, usually wrapped in paper, in the shrine court.  Kids can pick up the money on the ground.  Setsubun shows another side of the Japanese too, doesn't it? 

All cultures have interesting traditions, don't they?  Also, the first day of spring in
Japan is February 4, while in the US it would be February 2.  Only two days separate the two countries.  One of the reasons why early February became the first day of spring may be due to the fact that those who live in the Northern hemisphere are getting tired of winter by early February.

Info. about the vernal equinox < http://www.infoplease.com/spot/riteofspring1.html  >

 

Newsletter 38 (Japanese)

14098 180320  Here's What the Spring Equinox Looks Like From Space | Time
March 20 Vernal Equinox

8789 150320  March 20 Vernal Equinox 春分の日 Letter 38 | レター38  (Spring Begins, First Day of Spring "Vernal equinox lands on March 21, March 20, or March 19?"

7254 140924  Earth at Equinox  "Astronomy Photo of the Day" by NASA  September 22, 2014, Video taken by the Russian meteorological satellite Elektro-L during last year's September equinox.
Saturn at Equinox  "Astronomy Photo of the Day" by NASA  September 21, 2014, photo
Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA

5425 140322  Solargraphy Analemmas  "Astronomy Photo of the Day" by NASA March 20, 2014
Analemma - Wikipedia
5403 140320  Equinox on a Spinning Earth  "Astronomy Photo of the Day" by NASA March19, 2014
How Equinox's Work - Beyond Our Earth - YouTube
Spring Equinox 2009 Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico - YouTube
El Castillo, Chichen Itza - Wikipedia
Spring Equinox, Vernal Equinox, Ostara, Eostre, Ostern - YouTube
The Meaning of the Spring Equinox - YouTube
Spring - Ostara - YouTube
4709 140112  Equinox Earth  "Astronomy Photo of the Day" by NASA September 28, 2013
March 20 Vernal Equinox 春分の日 Letter 38 | レター38  (Spring Begins, First Day of Spring "Vernal equinox lands on March 21, March 20, or March 19?"
Astronomy page
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Autumnal Equinox
7231 140922  September 22, 2014    Autumnal Equinox: First Day of Fall
Letter 110:
English Japanese    Autumnal Equinox (First Day of Fall, September 22, 2014)    USA vs. Japan
Equinoxes  video National Geographic
Everything you need to know: September equinox - EarthSky  Deborah Byrd, Tonight | Astronomy Essentials, 09/21/2014
Mechanism of The Seasons - YouTube

Astronomy page

See our Letters:
070 First Day of Summer (Summer solstice)
102 First Day of Winter (Winter solstice)

110 First Day of Fall (Autumnal equinox)

modified:  2018 
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