Vacation During the Autumn Equinox

This photo of a sunset over a golden field is the featured image in the Jaya Travel & Tours blog article, "Where to Observe the Autumn Equinox," which describes the best spots to see the autumn equinox.

Searching for that perfect excuse to embark on an autumn vacation? There are dozens of traditional festivals, ancient cultures, and new traditions to embrace on a trip during the Autumn Equinox. Whether you opt to walk through a ruin in the jungle that interacts with shadows or spend an overnight in a bustling town burning straw effigies, this vacation will be one for the record books!

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What Is an Equinox?

The term ‘equinox’ appears on our calendars twice a year, but what does it mean? The Latin term dates back to ancient times —aequimeaning equal and “nox” meaning night.

Because the planet rotates on an axis, the sun doesn’t hit the north and south poles (aka the top and bottom of the Earth) at the same time. During an equinox, however, the sun hits the equator just right and its shadow is perfectly divided over the Earth. This natural phenomenon creates a day with 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nightan equal night.  

When Is the Autumn Equinox?

The Autumn Equinox falls between the 21st and 24th of September every year on the Western calendar. This year, the celebration will occur at 2:49 AM EST on Sat, Sep 23, 2023.

The other equinox we experience is the Spring Equinox, which will occur at 11:06 PM EST on Mon, Mar 20, 2024. 

Where to Celebrate the Autumn Equinox

For centuries people have celebrated the balance that’s associated with the Autumn Equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere, this date was important because it gave farmers one last day of light to harvest their fall crops before the nights got longer. Many ancient cultures celebrated the change of the seasons with festivities and rituals to honor their gods. These festivals still take place in many parts of the world, and it’s a spectacle to behold.  

This image of the Chichen Itza Mayan pyramid in Mexico is featured in the Jaya Travel & Tours blog article, "Where to Observe the Autumn Equinox," which describes the best spots to see the autumn equinox.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

The Yucatán Mayans celebrated the Autumn Equinox for thousands of years. The equinox was so important in their culture that they built their religious monuments with architecture that enhanced the phenomenon.

The Pyramid of Kukulkan was built over a thousand years ago to worship a feathered snake deity. The precise angle of the pyramid would allow for the sun’s shadow to cascade down the sides in a zig-zag pattern. This pattern would appear to onlookers as if the shadow of a giant snake was slithering out of the pyramid. They called this event the descent of the serpent, and it meant that Kukulkan had ascended into heaven and the Mayans would have a successful harvest.

The pyramid is still standing today, and you can watch the snake god manifest in Chichen Itza.  

This image of the old mountain Kokino Megalithic Observatory in Kumanovo, Macedonia is featured in the Jaya Travel & Tours blog article, "Where to Observe the Autumn Equinox."

Kumanovo, Macedonia

The Kokino megalithic observatory is a relatively recent archaeological discovery unearthed in 2001, but an important one, nonetheless. Located near the Macedonian town of Kumanovo, this site dates back almost 4,000 years!

It’s perched on a cliff and the observatory is only a small fraction of the archaeological site. At the site, you can see stone markers with carvings to track the sun and moon during the Autumn and Spring Equinoxes. Every year, people climb up to the viewpoint to watch the sun over the beautiful Macedonian red rocks. 

Scenic morning landscape view of London England from Primrose Hill Park in North London at sunrise from Jaya Travel & Tours blog "Vacation During the Autumn Equinox"

London, England

Formed in 1245, a unique group called the Druid Order holds ceremonies for the solstices and equinoxes. To celebrate the Autumn Equinox, also known as Mabon or Harvest Home, the Druids dress in white robes and walk in procession to Primrose Hill.

One tradition includes forming a ‘circle of companions’ and drinking from the ceremonial cornucopia directed by the chief. Another tradition includes performing four blows from a Tibetan horn to represent the four seasons.

The other seasonal ceremonies are just as grandiose and are celebrated at locations like Tower Hill and Stonehenge.  

This image of a burning effigy during a traditional street celebration on a river in Vilnius, Lithuania is featured in the Jaya Travel & Tours blog article, "Where to Observe the Autumn Equinox."

Vilnius, Lithuania

In ancient times, the Autumn Equinox was a holiday in memory of the dead. To this day, the streets are lined with vendors selling the latest harvest, artists weaving straw sculptures, and performers doing fire shows to praise the sun.

The main attraction of the festival is the burning of the giant straw lamb sculpture on the Neris River waterfront. Fire is symbolic of eternity, strength, and unity, and was believed to represent the movement of the sun during the equinox.

Book Travel During the Autumn Equinox

Traveling is an amazing experience, and that shouldn’t be limited to the summer! Embark on a fall vacation to witness the Autumn Equinox. For more desirable destinations and travel guides, a great source of information is our travel blog. Also, don’t forget to contact Jaya Travel for more information about our pre-planned and customized vacations!

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