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An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator. The term equinox can also be used in a broader sense, meaning the date when such a passage happens.
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The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, the night and day have approximately equal length.

At an equinox, the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator (i.e. declination 0) and ecliptic intersect. These points of intersection are called equinoctial points: classically, the vernal point and the autumnal point. By extension, the term equinox may denote an equinoctial point.

An equinox happens each year at two specific moments in time (rather than two whole days), when there is a location (the subsolar point) on the Earth's equator, where the center of the Sun can be observed to be vertically overhead, occurring around March 20/21 and September 22/23 each year.

Although the word equinox is often understood to mean "equal [day and] night," this is not strictly true. For most locations on earth, there are two distinct identifiable days per year when the length of day and night are closest to being equal; those days are referred to as the "equiluxes" to distinguish them from the equinoxes. Equinoxes are points in time, but equiluxes are days. By convention, equiluxes are the days where sunrise and sunset are closest to being exactly 12 hours apart.
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Names:

Vernal equinox and autumnal equinox:
these classical names are direct derivatives of
Latin (ver = spring and autumnus = autumn).

March equinox and September equinox:
a usage becoming the preferred standard by
technical writers choosing to avoid Northern
Hemisphere bias (implied by assuming that March
is in the springtime and September is autumnal—
true for those in the Northern Hemisphere but
exactly opposite in the Southern Hemisphere).

Northward equinox and southward equinox:
names referring to the apparent motion of the Sun
at the times of the equinox.

Vernal point and autumnal point are the points on
the celestial sphere where the Sun is located on
the vernal equinox and autumnal equinox
respectively (again, the seasonal attribution is that
of the Northern Hemisphere).

First point (or cusp) of Aries and first point of Libra are names used by navigators and astrologers. Navigational ephemeris tables record the geographic position of the First Point of Aries as the reference for position of navigational stars. Due to the precession of the equinoxes, the astrological signs of the tropical zodiac where these equinoxes are located no longer correspond with the actual constellations once ascribed to them. The equinoxes are currently in the constellations of Pisces and Virgo. However, modern tropical astrologers assert that the tropical zodiac, and thus 0º degrees Aries, always begins at the Vernal Equinox. Such modern astrologers see the zodiacal signs as 30º segments of the tropical zodiac, always beginning with the Spring equinoctial point, so that the astrological zodiac has no relation to the stars, there being therefore no discrepancy due to precession.
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Length of equinoctial day and night:
On a day of the equinox, the center of the Sun spends a roughly equal amount of time above and below the horizon at every location on the Earth, night and day being of roughly the same length. The word equinox derives from the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night); in reality, the day is longer than the night at an equinox. Commonly, the day is defined as the period when sunlight reaches the ground in the absence of local obstacles. From the Earth, the Sun appears as a disc rather than a single point of light, so when the center of the Sun is below the horizon, its upper edge is visible. Furthermore, the atmosphere refracts light, so even when the upper limb of the Sun is below the horizon, its rays reach over the horizon to the ground. In sunrise/sunset tables, the assumed semidiameter (apparent radius) of the Sun is 16 minutes of arc and the atmospheric refraction is assumed to be 34 minutes of arc. Their combination means that when the upper limb of Sun is on the visible horizon, its center is 50 minutes of arc below the geometric horizon, which is the intersection with the celestial sphere of a horizontal plane through the eye of the observer. These cumulative effects make the day about 14 minutes longer than the night at the Equator and longer still towards the Poles. The real equality of day and night only happens in places far enough from the Equator to have a seasonal difference in day length of at least 7 minutes, actually occurring a few days towards the winter side of each equinox.

The date at which sunset and sunrise becomes exactly 12 hours apart is known as the equilux. Because sunset and sunrise times vary with an observer's geographic location (longitude and latitude), the equilux likewise depends on location and does not exist for locations sufficiently close to the Equator. The equinox, however, is a precise moment in time which is common to all observers on Earth.
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Cultural aspects:
A number of traditional spring and autumn (harvest) festivals are celebrated on the date of the equinoxes.

Asia
The traditional East Asian calendars divide a year into 24 solar terms (节气, literally "climatic segments"), and the vernal equinox (Chūnfēn, Chinese and Japanese: 春分; Korean: 춘분; Vietnamese: Xuân phân) and the autumnal equinox (Qiūfēn, Chinese and Japanese: 秋分; Korean: 추분; Vietnamese: Thu phân) mark the middle of the spring and autumn seasons, respectively. In this context, the Chinese character 分 means "(equal) division" (within a season).

In Japan, (March) Vernal Equinox Day (春分の日 Shunbun no hi) is an official national holiday, and is spent visiting family graves and holding family reunions. Similarly, in September, there is an Autumnal Equinox Day (秋分の日 Shūbun no hi).

Neopaganism
Wiccans and many other Neopagans hold religious celebrations of "Ostara" on the spring equinox, and "Mabon" on the autumnal equinox.

March equinox commemorations

Near East
The March equinox marks the first day of various calendars including the Iranian calendar. The ancient Iranian new year's festival of Nowruz can be celebrated March 20 or March 21. According to the ancient Persian mythology Jamshid, the mythological king of Persia, ascended to the throne on this day and each year this is commemorated with festivities for two weeks. These festivities recall the story of creation and the ancient cosmology of Iranian and Persian people. It is also a holiday for Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, India, Turkey, Zanzibar, Albania, and various countries of Central Asia, as well as among the Kurds. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday, it is also a holy day for adherents of the Bahá'í Faith and the Nizari Ismaili Muslims. The Bahá'í Naw-rúz is stationary; the new year always starts at sunset March 20.

Sham El Nessim was an ancient Egyptian holiday which can be traced back as far as 2700 B.C. It is still one of the public holidays in Egypt. Sometime during Egypt's Christian period (c. 200-639) the date moved to Easter Monday, but before then it coincided with the vernal equinox.

In many Arab countries, Mother's Day is celebrated on the March equinox.

Abrahamic tradition
The Jewish Passover usually falls on the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere vernal equinox, although occasionally (7 times every 19 years) it will occur on the second full moon.

The Christian churches calculate Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the March equinox. The official church definition for the equinox is March 21; however, as the Eastern Orthodox Churches use the older Julian calendar, while the Western Churches use the Gregorian calendar, both of which designate March 21 as the equinox, the actual date of Easter differs. The earliest possible Easter date in any year is therefore March 22 on each calendar. The latest possible Easter date in any year is April 25.

South Asia
Tamil and Bengali New Years follow the Hindu zodiac and are celebrated according to the sidereal vernal equinox (April 14). The former is celebrated in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and the latter in Bangladesh and the East Indian state of West Bengal.

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharastra people celebrate new year ugadi set by Satavahana on the first morning after first new moon from March equinox. Also the calculations of the great Indian Mathematician Bhaskaracharya proclaim the Ugadi day as the beginning of the New Year, New month and New day.

In the Indian states Orissa, the celestial vernal equinox is celebrated as the new year around April 14. It is known as 'Vishuva Sankranti' (meaning "equal" in Sanskrit). In Kerala though the new year is on Chingam 1, the begining of Zodiac Leo, celestial vernal equinox is celebrated much more than new year as 'Vishu'

Europe
in Norse paganism, a Dísablót was celebrated on vernal equinox.

Modern culture
World Storytelling Day is a global celebration of the art of oral storytelling, celebrated every year on the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the first day of autumn equinox in the southern.

World Citizen Day occurs on the March equinox.

In Annapolis, Maryland in the United States, boatyard employees and sailboat owners celebrate the spring equinox with the Burning Of The Socks festival. Traditionally, the boating community wears socks only during the winter. These are burned at the approach of warmer weather, which brings more customers and work to the area. Officially, nobody then wears socks until the next equinox.[

September equinox commemorations

Near East
The September equinox marks the first day of Mehr or Libra in the Iranian calendar. It is one of the Iranian festivals called Jashne Mihragan, or the festival of sharing or love in Zoroastrianism.

East Asia
In Korea, Chuseok is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday celebrated around the Autumn Equinox.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, oftentimes near the autumnal equinox day, and is an official holiday in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and in many countries with a significant Chinese minority. As the lunar calendar is not synchronous with the Gregorian calendar, this date could be anywhere from mid-September to early October.

Europe
The traditional harvest festival in the United Kingdom was celebrated on the Sunday of the full moon closest to the September equinox.

The September equinox was "New Year's Day" in the French Republican Calendar, which was in use from 1793 to 1805. The French First Republic was proclaimed and the French monarchy was abolished on September 21, 1792, making the following day (the equinox day that year) the first day of the "Republican Era" in France. The start of every year was to be determined by astronomical calculations following the real Sun and not the mean Sun. *Find more information at wikipedia
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See also: Solstice,  Winter Solstice,

References:
Find more information at wikipedia
Earth's Seasons,
"Equinox, Equilux, and Twilight Times"
Book Sources at wiki
Ismaili Muslims worldwide observe Navroz
with-spring-comes-the-bahai-new-year
Dísablót
Sock burning tradition

External Links:
Details about the Length of Day and Night at the Equinoxes. U.S. Naval Observatory. Naval....
Equinoctial Points — The Nuttall Encyclopædia
Table of times for Equinoxes, Solstices, Perihelion and Aphelion in 2000-2020
Table of times of Spring Equinox for a thousand years: 1452-2547
"Ancient Equinox Alignment". Loughcrew, Ireland
Lady Day: The Vernal Equinox. http://www.knowth.com/loughcrew-equinox.htm.
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Resources:  This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article equinox / and other related pages. Top photo homestead stock.
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UTC date and time of solstices and equinoxes
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2011         20  23:21  21  17:16  23  09:04  22  05:30
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2012         20  05:14  20  23:09  22  14:49  21  11:12
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2016       20  04:30   20  22:34  22  14:21  21  10:44
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2017       20  10:28   21  04:24  22  20:02  21  16:28
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         Mar   June    Sept          Dec  
This meaning of "equilux" is rather modern (ca. 2006) and unusual; technical references since the beginning of the 20th century (ca. 1910) use the terms "equilux" and "isophot" to mean "of equal illumination", in the context of curves showing how intensely lighting equipment will illuminate a surface. See for instance John William Tudor Walsh, Textbook of Illuminating Engineering (Intermediate Grade), I. Pitman, 1947
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