Originally posted September 20, 2013.
Equinox means “equal night” – day and night are about equal in length, at 12 hours each, all over the world. The September equinox occurs the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from north to south.
In Ireland, the autumn equinox was celebrated long before the arrival of the Celtic tribes. The best known of the ancient Irish equinox temples is Knowth, which is close to Newgrange. Knowth has a 100-foot long passage that accepts the Sun on the morning of the Spring and Autumn Equinox.
For our Celtic ancestors this was time to reflect on the past season, celebrate nature’s bounty, and accept that summer was now over. It marks a time of rest after hard work, and a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of nature. This is the time to look back on the past year and what you have achieved and learned, and to plan for the future.
After this celebration the descent into winter brings hours of increasing darkness and chillier temperatures. It is the time of the year when night conquers day. After the Autumn Equinox, the days shorten and nights lengthen.