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Religious information


Fall equinox celebrations on or near
he first day of Autumn which falls
on SEP-20 to 23
each year.

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A quotation about Autumn:

from the Sacred Wicca web site:

"The leaves are beginning to fall -- the Wheel is turning towards winter, a time of rest and reflection. The leaves feed the soil and add nutrients that are used by insects, fungi and bacteria. The trees use their roots to take the nutrients back from the soil. It is an elegant cycle of life, death and re-birth. The leaves provide mulch on the forest floor retaining and absorbing the rain. The mulch provides shelter for living things. The Goddess has provided us with a beautiful visual display of multi-colored leaves. She imparts Her wisdom.

Hoof and horn,
Hoof and horn,
All that dies shall be reborn!" 1

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The Fall Equinox is also known in various religious and secular traditions as:

Alban Elfed, Autumn Equinox, Autumnal Equinox, Cornucopia, Feast of Avilon, Festival of Dionysus, Harvest Home, Harvest Tide, Mabon, Night of the Hunter, Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, Witch's Thanksgiving, and, simply, the first day of Autumn.

Among the themes celebrated at this time of year, some of the main ones are:

  • The concept of balance. At this time, the hours of daylight and hours of nighttime are equal. The temperature outdoors feels not too hot nor too cold. It is a good time to take a nature walk and enjoy the colors.

  • Agricultural events: By this time, most of the fields would have been harvested and crops would have been stored in anticipation of the upcoming winter. It was, and remains, a time to be sensitive to and thankful for the abundance of nature.

A number of celebrations around the world were or are held about this time of year:

  • The Bavarian celebration of Oktoberfest which begins in the last week of September.

  • The Mid-Autumn festival in China is held on the night of the Harvest Moon on the fifteenth day of the year's eighth lunar month.

  • Thanksgiving was originally held on OCT-03 in the U.S. but has been moved to the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving is held in Canada on the second Monday in October.

  • Tsukimi is Japan's Autumn Festival a.k.a. Moon Gazing Festival. It originated in China, where Zhōngqiū Jié is the Mid-Autumn Festival. Megan Manson, writing for Patheos, said:

    "Today it is celebrated in countries throughout East Asia, including Korea, Vietnam and, of course, Japan, on the 15th day of 8th month according to the Chinese calendar. This usually translates as the September 15th of the Gregorian calendar." 2

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The word "equinox" was derived from Latin term "æquinoctium" which, in turn, came from "æquus" (equal), and "nox" (night).

It refers to the time that occurs twice a year when the nighttime is equal to the daytime -- each being nominally 12 hours in duration -- about September 21 and March 21.

In Old English, a language spoken circa 450 to 1100 CE, it was called an efnniht.

Topics covered in this section:

bulletMulti-faith celebration. When and why does the fall equinox happen?
bullet Celebrations by various faiths, countries & eras
bulletMore celebrations; equinox traditions; egg balancing beliefs

Related essays on this web site:

bulletSpring equinox


bulletSummer solstice

bulletWinter solstice

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Internet sites featuring cards and images:

bulletZazzle has a group of autumnal equinox greeting and note cards at:

bulletBig Dates has a series of fall/autumn greeting cards at:

bulletBlue Mountain has a series of Earth Spirituality card, including an Autumn Equinox card at:

bulletGreeting Card Universe has a group of cards at:
bulletKen Williams has posted images of the fall equinox sunrise on 2005 at:

bulletRic Kemp's group of paintings based on Avebury in Wiltshire  can be seen at:

Reference used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. The Sacred Wicca web site is at:
  2. Megan Manson, "Moon Gazing At Tsukimi: Japan’s Autumn Festival," Patheos, 2016-SEP-10, at:

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Copyright © 2002 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-AUG-7
Latest update: 2016-SEP-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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