The autumn equinox begins 22nd September and marks the beginning of a new season. BBQs get tucked back into sheds, summer dresses pushed to the back of the wardrobe and those long summer nights are a thing on the past.

Enter beanie hats, autumnal colours and pumpkin spice lattes as we enter autumn. But what is the Autumn Equinox, and what does it mean?

What is the Equinox?

The autumn equinox occurs in September every year, and it is the mark of summer ending in the northern hemisphere.

As the earth orbits the sun, it is tilted on an axis. This means that as it orbits it illuminates the northern or southern hemisphere differently, depending on where it is in orbit.

However, at two points in the year the sun will illuminate both hemispheres equally – these are the autumn and spring equinoxes.

Craven Herald: Sunrise at the Herd Groyne lighthouse on autumn equinox (PA)Sunrise at the Herd Groyne lighthouse on autumn equinox (PA)

Facts about the autumn equinox

The equinox occurs in September every year, but due to time differences it can fall on different days for different places.

The full moon closest to the equinox is always called the Harvest Moon. This is because the moon during the autumn equinox was bright enough to allow farmers to work late into the night, bringing home their crops.

The autumn equinox signals the end of summer for those in the northern hemisphere and the change from winter to spring in the southern hemisphere. As the days get colder and shorter in the north, they get longer and warmer in the south.

When do clocks change in the UK?

With the changing of seasons, we are reminded of dark evenings and the changing of the clocks. This year your clocks will need to be put back on 31 October at 2am.

Traditions and customs

The autumn equinox goes back many years, as does its traditions and customs.

In China they celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival, also known as the Moon Festival.

It is celebrated by people coming together for dinners, worshiping the moon, lighting paper lanterns and more.

In Japan, it is celebrated with the tradition of Higan, and is a time to remember family members who have passed away. Higan lasts for a week, starting three days before the equinox begins.

Furthermore, the Pagan tradition, Mabon, is used to celebrate the equinox by giving thanks for a plentiful harvest for the coming winter months.

In astrology, the autumn equinox also marks the entry into Libra season.