The autumnal equinox is the first day of fall. It is celebrated by many different cultures and plays a significant role in some beliefs. For most people, fall is a time that ushers in harvests, preserving food for the upcoming months, enjoyment of the colors of the changing leaves and beginning to prepare oneself both physically and psychologically for the upcoming colder months. For Keats, the famous poet, fall was the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. A beautiful season, fall is filled with color, crisp days and provides an excuse to indulge in great foods. And it all begins with the first day of fall––here are some fun ways to celebrate the autumnal equinox.
Understand the meanings associated with the autumnal equinox. This is the day when both the daytime and nighttime are of the same length, which has been long interpreted to mean that the world is in balance. Once the autumnal equinox passes, the nights begin to get longer and the temperatures will start to fall. Autumn is a time of dual purpose––it is time to gather the main harvests and it is time to determine what is needed for the upcoming winter. This is also about balance and as such, fall is considered the season of balance, a time during which you can restore balance to your own life.
2Consider staying up during the night to welcome autumn. Many people like to welcome in fall by remaining awake all night, to honor the equal length of day and night. Perhaps tie this in with a celebration with friends, by holding a small dinner party which features autumn flavors, such as squash, pears and apples. If you’re not so keen on an all-night vigil, stay up until midnight instead.
Build or set up a monument to autumn. If you want to share your joy at the arrival of fall, consider building or placing a monument featuring autumnal items like pumpkins and straw in your yard. Ideas for what to do include a scarecrow or an animal you like, a pattern, or even spelling out words such as “Welcome to fall!”. Your monument could also be an expression of your gratitude for the harvest from the Earth.
5Make a list of your inner harvest. An inner harvest refers to all the achievements and experiences that you have had or felt during the past few seasons. This is a way of restoring gratitude into your life, as you realize what you have done and how you have coped with challenges during the past months.
- Take this opportunity to consolidate your energy and to fine-tune what you’ve achieved since spring.
- Be grateful for what you have.
Express your fall awe. If you’re a photographer, artist or writer, try to capture the essence of fall in photo, artwork or word form. Don’t just focus on the changing leaves and bountiful harvests; consider the deeper meanings of the season as they resonate with you. Perhaps this is a time of necessary change for you and expressing this through your creativity is a great way to get started.
7Contemplate. This is a season when the buzzing activity of summer dies down and the excitement of life outdoors begins to relax into the more evenly paced, more predictable rhythm of fall. Think about the ways you have neglected your inner growth and how this might be remedied.
- Meditate or do tai-chi. Try to find your balance, in the same way that the world finds its balance on the autumnal equinox.
8Seek to improve your health. This is as good a time as any to restore healthful balance to your life. There are delicious foods from harvest to help you cleanse and keep to a healthy diet at this time of year, such as apples, grapes, peaches, plums, pears, watermelon, celery, squash, eggplants, tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers and more. All of these healthy foods can be incorporated into a healthful lifestyle diet that keeps you fit and energetic. Where you can, support the growers of organic produce, which helps to sustain healthier soils and wildlife as part of the growing balance.
- Weigh yourself. On the day of the fall equinox, the sun enters the sign of Libra, the constellation of scales. Are you happy with the weight reflected back at you? If not, what do you wish to do about it?
- If you’re not already exercising regularly, make today the day you begin exercising again. Start with gentle exercise that allows you to ease into the rhythm, such as stretches, walking yoga or pilates. Take up an exercise that you’ve long wanted to try, such as cycling, jogging or swimming. Most sports can be continued either outdoors or in indoor arenas during winter, so don’t let the colder days ahead put you off sparking this change.
- Focus on improving your breathing and posture. Good breathing and posture will help to restore energy to your body and can help you cope better with the respiratory illnesses the colder months bring.
9Turn your home into a haven. Fall is the time of the year when people begin to turn from outdoor pursuits and start moving back indoors more often. (Of course, this shouldn’t stop you from making the most of the glorious sunny fall days outside!) This is a good time to restore balance in the home, to give it a spruce up before the upcoming fall celebrations such as Halloween and Thanksgiving come and before winter arrives. Add some fall decorations to bring on the festive fall spirit.
- Bring more light into your home. As the days will start to shorten from the autumnal equinox, consider how you’ll be able to bring more light into your home. Consider making some homemade candles and check out ways to hold back window dressings so that more light can stream inside. Good lighting will keep your spirits buoyed.
- Don’t neglect the energies in your workplace either. Now is a good time to clear out the clutter on the desk, shift around furniture and even trade places with another person. Remove things that have piled up in corners, replace worn signs and refresh the communal drink and food items.
Honor your ancestors. In Japan, it is traditional to visit the graves of ancestors around the time of the autumn equinox. This is a thoughtful tradition to build on for your own life, as a way of reconnecting with the past of your family and to remind yourself of your valuable place in the family tree.
Get into your garden. After summer and after the harvests, your garden needs some tender loving care to ready it for winter. The autumnal equinox is a good day to jot down a plan for the following weeks of garden care ahead, to keep you organized and enthused about readying it for the colder months. It’s also the ideal time to plant some crops that will produce during fall or even into winter, such as cauliflower, lettuce, red beet, radishes and shallots. Plan for when spring bulbs should be planted too, as many must be dug into the ground during fall.
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- In some areas there are special autumnal equinox meetings; check out your local guides for more details.
- You’re free to do all the above either alone, with a friend or in group.
- Look up what you believe special rituals are.
- The autumn equinox is celebrated in September if you live in the northern hemisphere and in March if you live in the southern hemisphere.
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