When Sun is over Equator
The equinox is when the Sun is exactly over the equator. The sun is constantly transiting northwards and southwards, alternating every six months between the 2 hemispheres of this earth. In this path, it transits the equator twice, once when going southwards and the other time when it goes up northwards.
When Days and Nights are Equal
As the earth keeps going around the sun, there are certain points in the orbit, when due to the angle of the earth’s tilt, the days and nights become equal. These days are called Equinox. This occurs due to the tilt of the earth’s axis by 23 ½ degree.
Equal, Equator, Equinox, Ecuador
Equinox is the term used to refer to the days being split into two halves.
Ecuador is a country in South America, located on the equator and due to which it has equal day and night through the year. Infact, the country derives its name, Ecuador, for being located on the equator.
Interestingly, the Words Equal, Equator, Equinox and Ecuador have the same root Equa, meaning ‘two halves’.
The Indian word for equator is Visvadrutta Rekha meaning ‘that which splits the world into 2 halves’.
Vernal and Autumnal Equinox
These 2 points of transit of the sun on the equator of the earth, are called equinoxes, the vernal or spring equinox and autumnal equinox. Vernal Equinox happens every year on March 21st during the Sun’s Northward and Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd during Southward journey.
Alignments bring Equilibrium
Alignments bring in a sense of settlement and equilibrium in the cosmos, in Nature, in people and in civilizations. That is why, in various civilizations of the world, anything new, especially the New Year starts from the position of an equilibrium, the vernal equinox.
New Year across civilizations
All civilizations of the world had this vernal equinox of the sun moving north from the southern hemisphere as the equilibrium point for the start of the New Year in their calendars. Be it the various Indian calendars, the traditional South East Asian calendars of Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Sri Lanka etc., the ancient Persian Calendar – Navroze and the ancient Julian Calendar of ancient Europe, they all started their New Year in early April or end March.
New Year Celebrations across the world around Equinox
This was because all these civilizations were in sync with Nature and the movement of the sun and had aligned themselves with the cycles in Nature.