When is the first day of Spring 2022 and what is the spring equinox?

Daffodils in the sun
Spring is on the horizon (Picture: Getty)

While it’s still wet and miserable outside, you may have noticed that we are getting more daylight than we were last month.

The chilly winter that blanketed huge swaths of the UK in snow is finally on its way out, ushering in the warmth of spring.

Some supermarkets have already started filling their shelves with Easter eggs.

But when does winter officially end, and what exactly is an equinox?

Here is all you need to know about Spring 2022.

When is the first day of Spring 2022?

There are two schools of thought when defining the first day of spring – it depends on whether you are using the meteorological or astronomical definition of the seasons.

March calendar
There are two different definitions of the first day of Spring (Picture: Getty)

The meteorological method splits the year into four seasons of three full months each based on the Gregorian calendar.

According to this, spring begins on March 1 and lasts until May 31 every year, with summer starting on June 1.

The astronomical season depends on the date of the spring equinox, which means the date comes later and can vary slightly from year to year.

In 2022, the spring (also known as vernal) equinox falls on Sunday, March 20.

The astronomical spring will then last until the summer solstice, which in 2022 is on Tuesday, June 21.

What is the spring equinox?

The spring equinox was used by early civilisations to keep track of the seasons.

Equinoxes get their name from the Latin for ‘equal night’, and mark the only two points in the year when the equator is the closest part of Earth to the sun, with both the northern and southern hemispheres sharing sunlight equally.

For six months each of the year, either the northern or southern hemisphere is pointing slightly more towards the sun, bringing the warmer temperatures of spring and summer.

Stonehenge at dawn
Stonehenge is a popular meeting point during the equinoxes (Picture: Getty)

The autumnal and spring equinoxes mark the point when the two hemispheres swap over, while the summer and winter solstices denote the sun reaching its most northerly and southerly points.

While the solstices are more widely understood to be rooted in ritualistic tradition and celebration, the equinoxes carry meaning for many people too.

In the UK, Stonehenge is the most famous meeting point for druids and pagans during equinoxes and solstices, who traditionally gather to watch dawn break.

MORE : When do the clocks go forward in 2022?

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