Equinox: Part 2: In Ancient Britain, the mysterious Megalithic people (those living there for thousands of years before the Celts, Romans and Saxons) built stone structures which were aligned so that the dates of the solstices and the equinoxes were clearly known by the placement of sun beams when the sun was rising and setting.
Here’s more information about the fall equinox. This year, it will occur at 14:49 on September 22 (UTZ), when the sun will be directly over the Earth’s equator.
In many societies and religions, it was and is a celebrated holiday.
In ancient Ireland, stone cairns from thousands of years ago mark the location of passage tombs, designed so that the rising sun lights up an interior hallway and illuminates a small central room on the equinox days.
Pagan celebrations: the Pagan religions before Christianity held celebrations for solstices and equinoxes. Attempts to convert pagans to the new religion meant replacing these holidays. (The fall equinox celebration became Michaelmas, the feast of the Archangel Michael, celebrated on Sept. 29. By Michaelmas, the harvest had to be completed and the new cycle of farming would begin.)
The Chumash, a Native American tribe from Southern California, celebrate the fall equinox sun ceremony during their month of Hutash (September). During this time, the spiritual thoughts of the tribe would become focused on the importance of unity in the face of winter confinement, death and rebirth.
The Druids, ancient Celts living in western Europe and the British Isles, conducted a mock sacrifice of a large wicker-work figure at this time of year. The figure represented the vegetation spirit, and the burning by fire represented the figure’s death as the growing season ended.
In France, a new calendar was adopted at the time of the French Revolution in the late 18th century. The first day of the year was the date of the fall equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, and was known as the 1st of Vendemiaire (the grape harvest month).
The ancient Mayans constructed a pyramid at Chichen Itza which displayed different patterns of triangles of light at the time of the solstices and equinoxes. The dates signaled the start of a harvest, planting or religious ceremony. On the fall equinox, seven triangles become visible on the pyramid’s staircase.
Native Americans: There are hundreds, if not thousands, of stone structures created by Native Americans in the past centuries (some date to 4000 BC). Many of these structures are actually calendars, some with stones defining the outline of a bowl. Notches in stone pillars are touched by the sun as it rises and sets on the dates of the equinoxes and solstices.
In Japan: The Spring and Autumn Equinoxes are observed as the six-day celebration: the Higan-e. It is celebrated for three days before and after each Equinox.
Current Pagan Religions:
Wiccans recognize eight seasonal days of celebration. Four are minor sabbats and occur at the two solstices and the two equinoxes. The other are major sabbats which happen approximately halfway between an equinox and solstice. Wiccans may celebrate Mabon on the evening before, or at sunrise on the morning of the equinox, or at the exact time of fall equinox. Mabon is the second and main Wiccan harvest festival.
If you’ve found this information interesting, please check the references below. The following website provided the above information,
In Ancient Britain, the mysterious Megalithic people (those living there for thousands of years before the Celts, Romans and Saxons) built stone structures which were aligned so that the dates of the solstices and the equinoxes were clearly known by the placement of sun beams when the sun was rising and setting.
- “Loughcrew Megalithic Cairns,” Knowth.com at: http://www.knowth.com/
- “Loughcrew Autumnal Equinox 2002,” Knowth.com at: http://www.knowth.com/
- Lance, “Hail to the Sabbat: Mabon!,” at: http://www.paganet.org/
- “Fall Equinox,” at: http://pagans.foolmoon.com/
- John Anderson, “Chumash Autumn Equinox,” at: http://www.angelfire.com/
- Burning Man’s website is at: http://www.burningman.com/
- “The Shadow of the Equinox,” at: http://www.isourcecom.com/
- J.W. Mavor & B.E. Dix, “Manitou: The sacred landscape of New England’s Native Civilization.” Inner Traditions (1989).
- “America’s Stonehenge” is at: http://www.stonehengeusa.com/