The Equinox in the cultures of the world
Studying the sky since ancient times
Sowing season is close
In the history of mankind, the human beings have always shown a fascination with the objects from above the sky. Some of these celestial bodies have a very close and meaningful connection with the evolution of the earth’s life, nature, and ancient cultures. This is why almost all of the civilizations considered the stars as a creative force that rules the elements of the planet.
This is how the astrology born. Since ancient times many cultures have studied the most important star: the Sun. The sun lights moving from east to west have been used as a measure of time or as a guide for designing roads and temples.
The equinox is the date when the day and night are equal. In some point of the day during the equinox, the sun is situated exactly in the plane of the celestial equator. This happens two times every year, March 20th or 21st and December 22nd or 23rd. The spring equinox has a unique symbolism in many cultures because it represents the equality between light and darkness.
Some records revealed studies of observations and theories about the precision and dates of the equinox in the Mesopotamian civilization. While in Chankillo Peru, is located the oldest solar observatory in America. It consists of 13 aligned towers which follow the sun through the equinox and solstice. It is more than two thousand years old.
Moving forward in time to the Inca culture, this alignment of the sun meant a favor to fecundate the earth and to provide well-being for the inhabitants of the cities. To the Celts, this date was supposed to worship the sun and its connection to the male principles. According to the stories and the tradition, Celts used to light big torches in the hills, the more the fire last, the more the land will be grateful and so the crops.
In the ancient Greek, the equinoxes and solstices represent the gates that allow men to be in touch with the privileges of the gods. They used to have parades and parties in honor of Dionysus, god of the wine and fertility, and Apollo, god of music and arts, also related to the light of the sun and the fields.
Into some cultures of Germanic origin, the worship to Ostara or Eostre, goddess of the spring, was the main celebration. These events evolve into the Easterns traditions of these days. Ostara was the representation of our reborn interior and fertility, it also meant the first seedtime of the year. This awakening of nature was symbolized with an egg that when giving them as a present is to offer a prosperous year.
Meanwhile, in Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan city is considered as the biggest ceremonial center of the ancient Mexico. In this ancestral place, we can visit the pyramid dedicated to the sun. Every year at the equinox, Teotihuacan receive hundreds of peregrinations and ritual dances to feel the energy of the sunlights. The Quetzalpapalotl temple is an example of how they used the sun and their architecture knowledge to raise impressive and sophisticated buildings. Inside the temple, you can admire a light and shadow effect reflected in the battlements. They are similar to the solar effects at Chichen Itza with the difference that Teotihuacan’s existed many years before Mayans did.
Chichen Itza nowadays is of the most popular sites to celebrate the spring equinox around the world. The precisions and calculations of the Mayans keep amazing everyone who visits the Kukulcan castle. Every March 21st we look forward to the feathered serpent to descend from the top of the pyramid. Another example of the worship of the sun and the studies of the sky made by the Mayans is the solar effect at the archaeological site of Dzibilchaltun.
If you are planning to visit Chichen Itza this equinox, you have to read these facts and useful tips.
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