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Happy Autumnal Equinox!

September 22, 2010

Uniform lighting

Pop quiz: The equator passes through the territories of 12 countries. Can you name them all?

Answer: Watch this substantially informative video about today, the autumnal equinox, to find out. without preempting it, the autumnal equinox is one of two times in a year when the earth’s axis is neither tilted toward nor away from the sun (the other is the vernal equinox, roughly six months away). Astronomically, this implies that all places on the entire planet receive roughly the same amount of sunlight. More colloquially, the day signifies the official end of summer.

Equinoxes feature in many calendars and provide occasion to various festivities around the world. They’ve been associated with ancestor worship in Buddhist Japan and Celtic harvests, to more obscure beliefs concerning egg-balancing and ritual performance. For Wiccans, the time is known as Mabon: “Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hustle-bustle of everyday life.”

The Philippines, of course, has no experience of autumn or spring, but has only two pronounced seasons: wet and dry. It however still experiences varying lengths of day and night by virtue of being located away from the equator. As the planet tilts the Philippines and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere away from the sun, expect longer nights associated with cooler weather and, where seasons are more pronounced, winter.

Back here, the country is still in the middle of rainy season, but it’s hardly been as wet as needed. Water levels are still at a low, especially at the Angat Dam that supplies water to majority of Metro Manila. According to PAGASA’s figures as of September 22, the Angat Dam is at 174.33 meters, a far cry from a normal high water level of 212 meters. So, while Manila should be thankful for a thus-far quiet typhoon season, it shouldn’t be rejoicing just yet.

We wish our readers a happy autumnal equinox, in whatever name it resonates with you.

Grab the latest issue of Expat Newspaper, out now.

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