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When is the first day of spring in the UK?

Alex Riches

Find out about the Vernal Equinox and when the spring weather will be here.

first day of spring

The countdown has begun... The first day of spring means the weather will get warmer soon   Photo: Becky Garret (Flickr)

THERE’S a lot of differing opinions on this one. Some say that 1st March is the first day of spring as it is usually the first month to see any great change in temperature from the coldness of winter. But the traditional first day if spring is tomorrow. The Vernal Equinox, usually around 20th March, has been celebrated as the first day of spring since astronomy was first devised.

first day of spring

The name Vernal Equinox is derived from the Latin and literally means ‘spring’s equal night’ (vernal = spring, aequus = equal and nox = night). It marks the point where the earth is angled perfectly on its axis for the sun to shine equally on all of the sunward-facing part of the Earth. The axis of the Earth usually means that one half of the Earth has a long day then night, but on the equinox both day and night are of equal length.

But what’s the big deal? We humans spend the majority of night-time asleep anyway, so what does it matter if it is equally long as the daytime. Despite our country’s prevailing climate, we Brits love to enjoy the sun. We love kicking back on a lawn chair, sipping on a Pimms and lemonade and basking in the glorious British sunshine. This is mainly due to the fact that days like that are so rare and because our winters are so damp and cold that we look forward to the days where we don’t have to wrap up in a million layers just to feel a little warm.

The fact that the winter is over and the sun is returning to our cold damp little island is cause enough for us to celebrate. And when you consider the weather we’ve had in the UK over the last week, the arrival of spring couldn’t have been better timed. So the countdown has begun. Winter is over, bring on the sun!

Photo: Dr Barnett (Flickr)

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