Welcome To Autumn – Fresh Air and Football!

Ahh, cooler days and nights! After surviving summer, autumn is a breath of fresh air, literally. There is so much to look forward to in autumn, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the return of college football (we are partial to the N.C. State Wolfpack and Virginia Tech Hokies). But did you know there are a lot of interesting (and strange) facts about autumn?

  1. In Greek mythology, it was in autumn when Persephone, who was the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. This made Demeter sad and the ground grew sparse and cold. Persephone returned in the spring making Demeter happy again. Plants greened up and flowered again.There is no autumn at the equator. It is warm all year there.
  2. Autumn is a peak time for many types of birds to migrate. During autumn, birds will fly to more hospitable climates (kind of like people going to Florida for the winter). The Arctic tern journeys about 11,000 miles each way for its annual migration. That is equal to driving across the United States…three and a half times!
  3. Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic tradition of wearing masks and costumes. They believed that ghosts roamed around on Halloween so the wore the disguises to hide from the spirits.
  4. The pumpkin was first named by the Greeks. They called this edible orange item “pepon,” which means “large melon.”
  5. The aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, tends to be most visible this time of year. This is because geomagnetic storms are about twice as likely to occur during the fall thanks to cool evening weather.
  6. Several cultures have ancient traditions that coincide with autumn. The Chinese celebrate the Moon Festival to give thanks for a successful summer harvest. The Mayans believed that at the precise moment of the equinox, when the Sun shines directly on the equator, an enormous “snake of sunlight” slithers down the stairs of the main pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico.
  7. The first day of autumn, the autumnal equinox, has 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. The term equinox comes from the Latin words aequus, meaning equal and nox, meaning night.

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