Today, Sept. 22, marks the autumnal equinox of 2017, officially ending summer and bringing us in the northern hemisphere into fall.


The autumnal equinox generally falls on the same day every year, and marks the day when the earth is angled in such a way that nearly everywhere on the planet will have 12 hours of daytime and 12 hours of nighttime. Equinox literally means “equal nights” in Latin. Unfortunately, this means that our days will become shorter, and the sun will set much earlier.

Interestingly, the equinox is not an all-day event. It actually happens at a specific moment, when the sun crosses the celestial equator – an imaginary line in the sky above the actual equator. This year, the equinox occurred at 9:02am EST.

While most people don’t celebrate the equinox as a holiday, it does represent an important time for Druids and Pagans. A group of spiritual types spent their morning at Stonehenge in the U.K. to watch the sun rise. In Paganism, it represents Mabon, “a time to reflect on the previous year when we can celebrate our successes (likened to bringing in the harvest) and assess which crops, projects, or dreams didn’t come to fruition.”

In some rural communities, it is traditional to drink dandelion juice to cleanse the body. Others may attempt to balance an egg on its end, thanks to a popular urban legend that says this can only be achieved on an equinox.

Google has also chosen to partake in the celebration with today’s doodle, of a happy little mouse drinking tea and harvesting for the season.