The September equinox, sometimes called the autumnal equinox, is one of two equinoxes that occur every year. During this time, the sun will shine on the equator, making the length of days and nights almost the same. It takes place sometime in either September of March. Those who live in the southern hemisphere, where there are different seasons, know it as the spring equinox.
Many people celebrate the beginning of the new season at the time of the equinox. Celebrations of equinoxes have been a part of culture since ancient times, as many used the movements of the sun to calculate years and to help understand the world around them. Many equinoxes are associated with the theme of rebirth, which is why celebrations often celebrated fertility deities. Some are pagan themed or preserved some elements of paganism.
The ancient Greeks associated Persephone with the holiday, whose movement from the underworld to the human realm was the explanation for the change of seasons. She was also a goddess of vegetation.
Celebrations take place all over the world:
China celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival, also referred to as the Moon Festival. Observers celebrate the harvest and eat mooncake, duck eggs, dried fruit, and sesame seeds. This festival originated from worship of moon gods and mountain gods. Observers will carry lanterns, burn incense, and perform traditional lion and dragon dances. This is a popular time of year for matchmaking due to the theme of fertility and harvest.
Mabon is the celebration of the September Equinox by modern pagans. The harvest and the beginning of winter are celebrated. Observers will give thanks to sunlight and give respect to darkness in order to prepare for winter.
Some general rituals may include staying awake during the night to mark the equinox. Some celebrations of the holiday state a fall or autumn theme rather than celebrations of the equinox specifically. Pumpkin festivals and competitions are one of the most popular.