In 2023, the official first day of spring is Monday, March 20. This date marks the “spring equinox” in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere, the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (also called the March equinox or vernal equinox across the globe) occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator going south to north. The amount of daylight had been increasing each day after the winter solstice, after the spring equinox, many places will experience more daylight than darkness in each 24-hour day. The amount of daylight each day will continue to increase until the summer solstice in June, during which the longest period of daylight occurs.
Astronomically speaking, the first day of spring is marked by the spring equinox, which falls on March 19, 20, or 21 every year. The equinox happens at the same moment worldwide, although our clock times reflect a different time zone. And, as mentioned above, this date only signals spring’s beginning in the Northern Hemisphere; it announces fall’s arrival in the Southern Hemisphere.
Meteorologically speaking, the official first day of spring is March 1 (and the last is May 31). Weather scientists divide the year into quarters to make it easier to compare seasonal and monthly statistics from one year to the next. The meteorological seasons are based on annual temperature cycles rather than on the position of Earth in relation to the Sun, and they more closely follow the Gregorian calendar. Using the dates of the astronomical equinoxes and solstices for the seasons would present a statistical problem, as these dates can vary slightly each year.
How can you celebrate the first day of Spring?
- Get outside! Look around. Are worms and grubs reappearing? (The March Full Moon is called the “Worm Moon” for this very reason!)
- Watch the arc of the Sun across the sky as it shifts toward the north. Birds are migrating northward, along with the path of the Sun.
- Are you noticing that the days are getting longer? Did you know that the increasing sunlight inspires birds to sing?
- Are daffodils poking up their heads? Trees, shrubs, and flowers are sensitive to temperature and day length, too! Since ancient days, people have used natural events as indicators of when the weather is right for planting. For example: Blooming crocus are your cue to plant radishes, parsnips, and spinach.
- Can you feel the Sun getting stronger? The longer days bring high temperatures. Both we and the animals around us discard our warm clothes and heavy coats!
- Do you plan to garden? The first day of spring is a traditional day to start in the garden! There’s nothing more restorative! See which days are the best planting dates according to your local frost dates or consult our Vegetable Gardening for Beginners guide to get started!
Joke of the Week
Q. Why couldn’t the little flower ride a bike?
A. It didn’t have any petals.