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Tuesday is the spring, or vernal, equinox and the first day of spring. It officially arrives at 2:20 p.m. Vernal in Latin means spring and equinox means equal night. The equinox is when the sun crosses the celestial equator going south to north. It’s called “celestial” equator because it’s an imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator. On the equinox, the length of day and night is nearly equal in all parts of the world, just as the name suggests. In addition, the sun only rises due east and sets due west, according to Almanac.com. On most days, the sun rises north or south of “due east” and sets north or south of “due west.” If we lived in the Southern Hemisphere, then it would be the first day of autumn.

You might recall that I spent last year’s spring equinox at Chichen Itza. It’s the largest pyramid in the Yucatan of Mexico. It was built by the Mayans. They still exist but at the time they built the pyramids, they were an ancient civilization that was very advanced. From approximately 550 A.D. to 800 A.D., Chichen Itza was mainly a ceremonial center for the Maya civilization, according to www.ChichenItza.com. The entire site is called Chichen Itza, but the pyramid is actually called the Pyramid of Kukulcan or The Castillo. Kukulcan was a feathered serpent worshipped by the Mayans and others in the area, such as, the Aztecs and Toltecs but they called him Quetzalcoatl and they believed this feathered serpent brought good things. There’s a phenomenon that happens at each of the equinoxes at the pyramid — a shadow lines up at the edge of one of the sides of the pyramid where there’s a snake head at the bottom. The shadow is caused by the edge of the pyramid that’s closest to it. The shadow is supposed to be the arrival of Kukulcan. When you see this phenomena, it seems one can only grasp a glimpse into what careful planning went into its construction.

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