What is the Spring Equinox and when does summer start?

What is the Spring Equinox and when does summer start?
What is the Spring Equinox and when does summer start?
Cherry blossoms are a sure sign of spring (Picture: Getty)

The Spring (Vernal) Equinox brings with it the changing of the seasons – taking us from winter to spring.

As we prepare to welcome warmer weather, here’s a quick look at what the spring equinox is and when summer is set to start…

What is the Spring Equinox?

The Spring Equinox occurs in March when the sun crosses the Earth’s equator, and day and night are equal lengths of time.

In other words, it’s the first day of spring. This year, it will take place on Saturday, March 20, 2021.

It happens once a year.

There is also an Autumn Equinox which marks the start of – you guessed it – autumn. This year, it will fall on September 22.

A Row of Multi-Coloured Beach Huts along the Promenade, Eastbourne, East Sussex
But when does summer begin? (Picture: Getty)

When does summer 2021 start?

The date on which summer begins varies, depending on how you prefer to look at it.

From an astrological point of view, summer won’t start until the Summer Solstice – which marks the longest day of the year.

This year, 2021, Summer Solstice falls on Monday, June 21.

From a meteorological perspective, the seasons are broken up into three-month blocks.

Summer starts at the beginning of June, continuing throughout July and August.

September marks the start of autumn, with December the beginning of winter and March the beginning of spring.

There’s a Winter Solstice, too, taking place on 21 December.

Standing Stones at Avebury at sunrise on the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the purpose of the ancient obelisks remains an enigma
What’s the difference between an equinox and a solstice? (Picture: Getty)

What’s the difference between a solstice and an equinox?

Spring and autumn each have an equinox, and that summer and winter each have a solstice.

But what’s the difference? Don’t they all just represent a day that marks the beginning of the season?

Well, a solstice occurs when the days and nights are different lengths.

For example, the Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year, which means the shortest night – and the Winter Solstice has the longest night, and shortest day.

Whereas the length of days and nights on equinoxes don’t vary – it’s all equal.

MORE : What the upcoming Spring Equinox means for each star sign

MORE : What is the Autumn Equinox – when are the four equinoxes?

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Author: Aidan Milan and Elizabeth Atkin