The first day of fall is cause for celebration – a successful growing season, cooler days, and beautiful foliage. The autumnal equinox plays a role in ancient pagan religions but can also be the center of a modern celebration in your home and garden.
Celebrating the Equinox – An Ancient Tradition
The autumnal equinox marks the end of summer and the coming of darker nights and winter. Like the vernal equinox, which marks spring and new beginnings, the fall equinox marks the passing of the sun across the equator.
In European pagan tradition, the autumnal equinox is called Mabon. Traditionally celebrated as a second harvest and to welcome the darkening days, it also served as preparation for the bigger holiday of Samhain, the first day of winter. Celebrations included harvesting fall foods, like apples, and sharing a feast together.
In Japan, the equinox is used as a time to visit ancestors at their graves and to spend time with family. In China, the Moon Festival falls near the autumnal equinox and is celebrated with a food known as a moon cake.
How to Celebrate the Fall Equinox in Your Garden
Celebrating the equinox can take any form you choose, but why not draw from ancient traditions? This is a great time to celebrate food and harvest, the fruits of your gardening labors, and to share with family and friends.
One great idea is to host a fall equinox party. Invite friends and family to share anything they grew over the summer, or make dishes to share. This is a time to feast and welcome the coming winter. Enjoy the last warmth of the season by eating outdoors, in your garden.
The equinox is symbolic of the coming of winter, so it’s also a good time to start garden preparations for the colder months. Instead of feeling glum about the end of summer, celebrate changing seasons by using the day to clean up the garden and do fall chores.
In North America, there are plenty of modern fall traditions that make a great start to the season as an equinox celebration: going to the cider mill, getting a pumpkin to carve, attending a fall festival, picking apples, and making pies.
Use the fall equinox as the first day of fall decorating. Put up your autumn decorations or throw a small get together for fall crafting. Have guests bring ideas and supplies, and everyone will have a chance to make something new for their home.
Perhaps the best way of all to celebrate the fall equinox is simply to be outside. The days will be getting shorter and colder, so enjoy time in your yard and garden on this special day.