Feb 27, 2017 02:26PM
● By Julie Ross
It has been a long, wet winter and most of us are thankful the first day of spring is right around the corner. Spring is officially brought to us courtesy of the vernal equinox, when the sun is directly over the equatorial plane as the Earth’s tilt begins to point our hemisphere toward the nice, warm sun. This year, that welcome event will occur in our part of the world on Monday, March 20, at 3:28am (not that anyone is counting the minutes in over-eager anticipation).
The word equinox comes to us from the Latin aequus, meaning equal, plus nox, meaning night. The term refers to the date when night and day are of equal length, or twelve hours each. However, a quick check of the local astronomical chart for March 20 indicates the sun will rise at 7:11am and set at 7:20pm, a discrepancy of nine minutes. If you think that throws the whole equal day and night thing out the window, please relax. Daytime begins the moment any part of the sun is over the horizon and doesn’t end until the last part of the sun has set. The minutes of sunrise and sunset both just get thrown into the “daytime” portion.
For this year’s vernal equinox, if you’re not up for a trek to Stonehenge or Chichen Itzla or attending an over-the-top spring festival, there is a tradition believed to be Chinese in origin you can try at home. In fact, you can try it over and over, as I have done, without success. It has been said that it is possible only on the equinox to balance a raw egg on its end – as evidence of nature in harmony and the balanced gravitational pull of the moon, or some such.
Of course, spoilsports have discovered that the equinox doesn’t actually have anything to do with it, and that a raw egg can be balanced on end any old day of the year. It takes the right egg, the right surface, and some practice. I have found none of these magic combinations and have yet to balance an egg.
I am, therefore, going to wait until the equinox on March 20 to try again and see if that brings me luck. I encourage you to do the same for tradition’s sake and to honor the coming of spring.
Please email me at the address below to let me know if you or anyone in your family has been able to balance an egg on end; I would appreciate any tips you can provide.
Here’s to plenty of sunshine and cooperative eggs!
You can reach Julie at email@example.com.