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  • 執筆者の写真April Dykes

Spring Equinox in Japan

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, today is the Spring Equinox, also known as the Vernal Equinox.  These terms are not to be confused with solstices, which take place during the summer months.  If you’re like us and have no idea what that actually meant, it's another way to say that spring is here.  Did you know that ‘equinox’ is Latin?  It means ‘equal’ and ‘night’.  If you’re not familiar with the technical aspect of equinoxes, let’s get a little scientific.  

The earth has 2 hemispheres, the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere.  For most of the year, the sun shines unequally on the hemispheres due to the tilt of the axis.  That changes during the equinox.  According to ABC,”the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal amount of sunlight” (ABC).  This is where the term ‘equinox’, equal light, comes in.  In addition to the hemispheres getting the same amount of sunlight, 

In Japan, the Spring Equinox, Shubun no Hi, is a national holiday. Higan, a Buddhist holiday where people celebrate their ancestors, is closely connected with the equinoxes—spring and fall. It is celebrated three days before and three days after. In addition to the spiritual aspect of the equinox, spring is very important in Japan for another very important reason: hanami. 

Hanami is the tradition of viewing and enjoying cherry blossoms, which only bloom during the spring.  In addition to viewing the beautiful blossoms, it is common to go to parks and have picnics underneath the trees.  The cherry blossoms are beautiful in the daylight or moonlight and make Japan a major tourist attraction from March to April.

So here’s to more sunlight, cherry blossoms, and a boost in our serotonin levels.

Happy spring!






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