The History of the Equinoxes

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This year has felt like a long one. As the nights get longer and the days get shorter, the year feels like it's dragging on and on. But come the 21st of December, the days will go the other way. Spring is coming, and with it, the days will get longer again.

We're all hopeful for 2022 to be a better year than the last. But have you ever wondered where the tradition of celebrating the new year came from? Why is our calendar focused on the Sun, and how long the days are? What is the history behind the seasons?

Little do a lot of people know, but the year is split into four segments. The Longest Day is the 21st of June and the shortest is 21st of December. Then to complement them, the two most equal days of the year, the 21st of March and the 21st of September.

Why these days? What is it about them that's so special? And what flowers best go as druidic gifts for them?

Read on and find out!

The Winter Solstice: The Shortest Day of the Year

The Winter Solstice is a cosmically important day. It happens when the Earth reaches its greatest tilt away from the Sun, creating the longest night of the year. Thus, every solstice or equinox happens sometime between the 20th and the 22nd of the month. Be it December, June, March or September.

This means that the Winter solstice was in June in the southern hemisphere! The Earth is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the Sun. So, the amount of sunlight the world receives varies dramatically. Depending on the side of the planet you're on and the time of year.

This day has often been marked as auspicious to many ancient and classical cultures. In the Han dynasty, which lasted between 206 BCE-220 CE, the day was named Dongzhi. This translates to mean the arrival of winter, and to this day is a time of celebration. Many use it as a time to visit their ancestral tombs or visit family like at our Christmas time. In Japan, the day is called Toshiba, and involves the tradition of pumpkin eating!

The solstice has a druidic origin in the western world. For many cultures, it was symbolic of the death and rebirth of the Sun. Many societies had farming and agriculture at their centre. So the Sun, the time of year, and worshipping nature correctly, all were important!

The theory is that Stonehenge and similar monuments like it are solar calendars. They would mark the coming and going of the winter and summer solstices. German and Scandinavian pagans also referred to the time as "yule", theorised to be a sun god festival.

Even the Romans celebrated the solstice. Emperor Aurelian became obsessed with the Assyrian sun god, Sol Invictus. This means "The Unconquered Sun/Invincible Sun". This god and several other pagan holy days tended to be celebrated on the 25th of December. The Christian decision to place Christmas on the 25th is significant then. Converting pagans over to Christianity, with their holy days overlapping.

The perfect winter flower bouquet has to be Lilac Skies Eco flowers. Its purple colours symbolise the long dark night, with the rising Sun not yet there. Choose the coolest of all our preserved floral arrangements for the longest night.

Be your own sun god with these preserved floral arrangements
Lilac Skies Eco Flowers

The Summer Solstice: The Longest Day of the Year

Also known as Midsummer, the Summer Solstice is a day of great celebration the world over. Occurring in the northern hemisphere in the month of June, the day has been the centre of many festivals and celebrations. In many temperate climates, the day is seen as the middle of summer. Though people living near the equator or more tropical regions see it as the first day of summer proper.

The number of celebrations associated with the solstice is rather staggering! In old Polish culture, the night is called Kupala Night. In the times before Christianity, the day was a celebration of many pagan rituals. These involved herb collecting, bonfire lighting, and bathing in the river. A theme of fertility and celebration was heavy on this night! After Poland adopted Christianity in the 900s CE, the celebration shifted. Today, the night celebrates the Feast of St. John the Baptist. Thus the Catholic church in Poland kept many of the pagan traditions. All they had to do was Christianise the old pagan rituals.

Other events and festivals include the Dragon Boat Festival in East Asia. Tirgan in Iranian culture. For many southern hemisphere nations, Christmas is even celebrated in June! The solstice is often the centre point of druidic concentration around Stonehenge. Many come from all across the world to celebrate the solar event. The night features music, partying, and old pagan rituals.

For an important night, find some flowers to match its elegance. Why not then go for the Summer Heat Dried flowers? Their bright red theme, with burnt oranges and neutral wheat-coloured stems. All to give the perfect synthesis of Summer.

As the cold dark approaches, be comforted with the cosy warmth of these stems. The fiery coloured tones are bound to bring excitement to any home they inhabit. These flowers are the best way to celebrate the coming of the summer solstice. Get your eco-conscious friends a flower that reminds them of an August Sunset.

Preserved floral arrangements for summer
Summer Heat Dried Flowers

The Spring Equinox: The Beginning of Summer

The equinox falls in March. This is the astronomical beginning of spring. The name comes from Latin words aequi (Equal) and nox (Night). This is distinct from the previous two solar events, which we've referred to as a Solstice. This, too, comes from the Latin. Sol (Sun) and sistere (to stand still).

It bears asking, why would society care to mark the equal point between summer and winter? Would not celebrating these two be enough? There is a complex and simple answer to this. The simple? People love any excuse to have a party. The complex? It is a bit longer to explain.

One of the earliest Spring Equinox celebrations comes from the Babylonian calendar. It celebrates the return of the Sumerian goddess Inanna from the underworld. This theme of rebirth is essential for understanding the significance of the Equinox. And why it's still celebrated today.

In the Greek pantheon, the seasons are explained with the Myth of Hades and Persephone.

According to legend, Hades, King of the Underworld, adored the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest. Her daughter, Persephone, was one of the most beautiful in the Greek Pantheon. While she was gathering flowers in her mother's garden, Hades suddenly appeared. He whisked Persephone away back into the underworld. Demeter was herself with grief and unable to find her daughter anywhere on Earth. She then unleashed a miasma of death and famine across the world.

In her quest to find her daughter, she enlisted her brother, Zeus, to assist in her quest. But Zeus already knew where Persephone was. Knowing that his brother, Hades, was smitten by her, the two concocted a plan to steal her from the surface. Zeus was unwilling to admit this to Demeter, and to suffer the wrath of a fellow god. So he elected to visit the underworld himself and ask for Persephone's release. Hades agreed. But revealed that Persephone had eaten 6 pomegranate seeds from his realm. According to the laws of the Chthonic gods, she was forced to spend half the year on Earth. The other half, she would spend with him in the underworld.

As the story goes, Persephone learned to love the unusual and cold Hades. The two became the strongest and most loyal of the Greek god pairings. Demeter was still beside herself every time Persephone left her garden. She brought the cold and devastation of winter to the world for the months she did not have her daughter.

And so, the seasons, according to the Greeks, was born.

This story, and others like it, serve as the basis for the rebirth stories. The tale of Easter, Passover, and other holidays all owe themselves to Persephone.

Spring has always been associated with new life, rebirth, and regeneration. What better to show this than Paradise preserved flower arrangements? The bold assortment of colours makes for the perfect representation of spring. With bright greens, stunning pinks and purples, against a slow-burning orange. what better flower is there to remember Persephone and Hades' unusual love story with?

Preserved floral arrangements for a love story
Paradise Dried Flowers Bouquet

The Autumn Equinox: The End of the Harvest

All things must come to an end. And sometimes, the beginning of the end is harder than the actual thing itself. Though not as celebrated as the other festivals, this time serves a purpose still.

Taking place September, the Equinox represents the end of summer for many cultures. Many ancient harvest festivals, such as the Slavic pagan festival Dożynki, took place here. The symbology is that of giving thanks to the gods, to nature, and the world, praying for a mild winter. It was one last feast before rationing of foodstuffs.

To us today, it seems unusual to consider a time of the year where no food is immediately available. For the pre-refrigeration cultures, it was a very real risk of famine. A bad summer harvest could mean the difference between life and death.

For many civilisations, creating an autumnal wreath was an important cultural pastime. It is where our own traditions of Christmas and holiday wreaths comes from. It was meant to ward off evil spirits and a way to celebrate the end of the summer days. This is one of the origins of our own Stunning preserved floral arrangements.

During the French Revolution, the Republican leaders attempted to “rationalise” the yearly calendar. Their new calendar was built around the idea of having autumn as the first day of each year. The day would change along with the position of the Sun in the sky.

For the perfect harvest flower, you can’t go wrong with Fallen Leaves. The burning reds and singed amber colours give the perfect colour scheme for any festival plan you might have! Place them in the window to remind all passers-by to prepare for the coming winter, and wrap up warm!

Environmentally friendly flowers to keep your loved ones warm
Fallen Leaves Eco Flowers

Flowers For All the Seasons Round!

We pride ourselves on being one of the leaders in sustainable flower farming. Every stem and flower is perfectly picked to ensure a long-lasting gift, no matter the occasion.

Each of these eco flowers, preserved with a natural sap, last up to 3 years at least with very minimal care.

Looking for pressed flowers for any occasion, that will last longer than the fresh-cut alternatives? Then consider any of these flowers!

Our mission and dedication to a beautiful, flower-filled world, comes with a promise of a sustainable world too. Every delivery is made to be carbon neutral, and we plant 2 trees for every sale, to ensure our footprint is offset by a greener world.

So, whether you’re planning a Christmas do, summer get-together, or a bright and beautiful Easter or warm and homely Halloween. Consider Amaranté, for all your eco flower needs!

  • Cheery and charming pink flowers in a dried flower bouquet
infinity rose - Amaranté Preserved Flowers
Choose & Order Now!

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