There are two equinoxes every year—September and March. On the equinox, the sun shines directly on the equator and results in the 24 hours of the day being split evenly between day and night. When you look at the three words, “equinox,” “equator,” and “equal,” the prefix “equi” (which means even), makes total sense. The equinox at the equator (the band which divides the northern hemisphere from the southern hemisphere and is about equal distance between the North and South Poles), identifies the coming of spring for one hemisphere and fall for the other. Helping young people understand that the seasons are opposite on the other side of the equator is part of global understanding, even though it is hard to imagine Christmas in summer. Equinox means “equal night” in Latin, and is experienced around the world.
The Equinoxes – along with solstices – have been celebrated in cultures all over the world. One of the more famous ancient equinox celebrations can be found on the Mayan Calendar. (Remember that this is the same calendar that many believed was signaling the end of the world last December.) The picture of the Mayan Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico was the location for this celebration. http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/mayan.html
Consider how you might celebrate the Equinox with the youth in your program. One of the activities you might consider is anything that divides items equally—such as a “Push-me Pull-You” a Dr. Doolittle character, Two-Face, a Batman character, and the comedy and tragedy drama masks. Have youth come up with other pairs that divide things equally. Let us know how you celebrate the equinox.
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