22 Sep 2016


Normally tilted at an angel of about 23.4 degrees in relation to the ecliptic (the apparent path of the sun on the celestial sphere), on just about every day of the year either the Southern or Northern hemisphere tilts a little towards the sun. 

Just about every day that is except the Summer and Autumn Equinox when the tilt of the earth's axis is perpendicular to the sun's rays.

Marking the start of Autumn here in the Northern hemisphere .... astronomically speaking (meteorologists would date the beginning of Autumn three weeks before this) ... the September Equinox (Equinox being from the Latin 'aequus' meaning equal and 'nox' meaning night hence 'equal night') sees a night and day that are (not quite) the exact same length.

Thanks to the 'Gregorian Calendar' usually falling on or around September 22nd (as it does this year UCT) - the last 21st of September Equinox fell on 1000 CE and is not due to fall again until 2092 whilst the last September 24th Equinox occurred in 1931 and will not do so again until 2303 - each September Equinox (sometimes known as Mabon) occurs approximately six hours later than the previous year's September Equinox.

Generally speaking, one of the lesser celebrated Pagan festivals. Mabon (a festival named after the God of Welsh mythology, the Child of Light and the son of the Earth Mother Goddess, Modron).

Traditionally a time when the farmers bought in the harvest) was typically 'replaced' by the Christian festival of Michaelmas celebrating the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel.

A time to celebrate home and hearth. A time to reap what you have sown. A time to let go that which is no longer wanted or needed. As in the Christian tradition thanks is given for the abundance of fruit and vegetables. Fruits including the apple, a symbol of the divine, of life and fertility, a protection against evil, the tree of which represents wisdom ...

Cut an apple width ways and it reveals a pentagram containing seeds. The five points represent the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water with Spirit at the top, and thus also the directions of East, South, West, North and Within.

Folklore has it that ...
  • Peel the apple, keeping the peel in one long piece let it drop to the floor. The letter it forms is the first initial of your true love's name.
  • If you have more than one potential lover, peel an apple and pull out the seeds placing one on your cheek for each potential boyfriend. The last one left stuck to the skin represents the suitor who is your true love.
  • Wait until midnight, cut an apple into nine pieces and take the pieces into a dark room with a mirror. Eat eight of the pieces, piece by piece whilst looking in the mirror, throwing the ninth over your shoulder whereupon the face of your true love should appear.


kimbacaffeinate said...

Thanks for sharing this. I love all these little tidbits about Autumn :)

Suko said...

Fun,informative, and lovely (to look at) post! Happy Fall to all!

Kelly said...

I always enjoy all these facts you bring us, even if my retention of them is terrible. For some reason, the apple seed method for determining one's true love amused me.

I definitely adhere to the astronomical date. Even three weeks after the other, it still too warm and humid to feel like Fall here!

Thanks to Suko for the heads up in her comment on your last post about the giveaways in her sidebar. I saw one I just had to take a chance on!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

It definitely doesn't seem like it should be Autumn yet here in Somerset, it has been more like a mid Summers day today, that is if it wasn't for the fact that the nights are definitely closing in earlier and the mornings are much darker when I get up!

Wow! a history, science and cultural post all rolled into one, although perhaps I should have read it before 10:30pm, as I'm not too sure just how much of it has sunk in. I may stop by again tomorrow for a re-read.

Harvest Festival was always a lovely church service when I was at school, with gifts being left in front of the altar ready for distribution to the elderly community, although I think that tradition has all but disappeared now, with the increase in multi faith schools.

I love the folklore about apples, although of course we are now approaching the apple bobbing season of Halloween. this is one tradition, which it is now widely accepted, did originate in the British Isles (Ireland and Scotland in particular), and that it originally had something to do with divination (fortune telling).

I am not a huge fan of Halloween personally, however this is another US import that we have taken to our hearts :)

Great Post :)


ClaudineGueh@CarryUsOffBooks said...

Good to know these. I've heard about the apple at midnight superstition/folklore as well. Happy Autumn, Tracy!

Brian Joseph said...

Happy Mabon!

This is such an interesting post. The history and culture behind this holidays and events is so rich.

This year I am a bit sad to see summer go, but I am looking forward to a good fall.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I didn't know about the apple lore. Fascinating information! :)

Thanks for sharing. :)