Best places to celebrate the spring equinox
It's celebrated across the world as the start of spring, symbolising rebirth and renewal and boasting some quite glorious sunrises.
The spring equinox is the time of year when, due to the Earth's tilt and other complicated scientific reasons, the day and night are as close to 12 hours each as they can get. There's another one six months later in autumn but we're not here to talk about that.
Chichen Itza | Mexico
The Maya Civilization knew what was up when it came to astronomy – understanding the position and movements of the stars to such an extent that it influenced their calendar and even their architecture.
Chichen Itza, an ancient city in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, dates from as early as 550 AD when it was a Maya holy site. But many of the ruins that remain today date from 1200 AD, including the famous Pyramid of Kukulkan, or El Castillo.
During the spring equinox, between 4pm and 6pm, the sun casts a shadow over the steps in the shape of a snake. This is believed to be an image of Kukulkan, the serpent god, descending to earth to speak to the Maya people.Chichen Itza is relatively easy to get to from Cancun and the resorts of Quintana Roo – learn more in our guide.
Angkor Wat | Cambodia
This 12th-century temple complex is, according to Guinness World Records, the largest religious structure in the world. It was built as a Hindu temple city but over time has become dedicated to Buddhism. This history has given the temples a unique mix of Hindu and Buddhist imagery throughout, making it a fascinating place to explore.
When the spring equinox rolls around, the temples are moodily silhouetted against the rising sun, which aligns almost perfectly with the highest central tower.
Stonehenge | England
Stonehenge is so old that it's got about 500 years on the Pyramids of Giza and it's technically classed as prehistoric – meaning it predates the written word and recorded history.
We'll give you a moment to recover from that mind-blowing revelation.
What's really fascinating is that the people who built it, did so with incredibly accurate astronomical knowledge as the stones chart the position of the sun as it changes throughout the year.
It's particularly popular during the solstices and equinoxes when the druids famously gather to celebrate and watch the sun rise.
The Grand Canyon | Arizona, USA
The Grand Canyon is on loads of bucket lists for obvious reasons, so if you're toying with the idea of going, why not book your trip in time with the spring equinox?
It's a popular time to visit because of the extra drama the equinox sunrise adds to the already jaw-dropping view. At this time of year the sun's rays shine directly on the southern rim of the canyon, creating incredible sunrises and sunsets that almost seem to set the canyon walls ablaze.
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