When's the First Day of Fall?

·3-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

When is the first day of fall in 2021—and when's the fall equinox in the USA?

While you might not look forward to the end of summer, with its backyard cook-outs, beach trips, and lazy afternoons sans homework and busy after-school activities, the first day of fall will be here before we know it. Still others might look to the fall season with excitement, as a new batch of pumpkin spice products hits our local supermarkets and the air turns crisp and cool. After all, nothing beats the magic of fall cocktails, pumpkin bread, fall bucket list activities, and fun seasonal candles!

Still, before we get into the matter of when the autumnal (or fall) equinox is set to take place this year (and therefore the first day of fall), it's important to know what an equinox even is.

So, let's sort this whole "equinox" thing out once and for all. Simply put, an equinox describes those magical, short-lived times of year when day and night are of nearly equal length, which occur at seasonal transition points (hence its relevancy to the first day of fall!). According to Merriam-Webster, the word "equinox" is derived from two Latin words: aequus, for "equal," and nox, for "night," so its definition makes perfect sense.

Below, we've got more information about this year's fall equinox, plus answers to your most frequently asked questions about the phenomenon. Here's to a great fall!

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

When is the first day of fall 2021?

Mark your calendars: The first day of fall in 2021 is Wednesday, September 22. (Of course, if you happen to be part of the 10 percent of the world's population who live in the southern hemisphere, fall begins in March, and the September equinox actually signals the start of spring. Confusing, we know.)

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

How many equinoxes are there in a given year?

There are two equinoxes in the calendar year. The one that occurs in September is known as the autumnal equinox for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, while the one that happens in the spring is known as the vernal equinox.

Why is the fall equinox important?

If we're talking only about the immediate aftermath, the autumnal equinox is important because it marks the beginning of fall. Pass the decorative gourds, please.

But it's also important because after it happens, days get shorter...and our part of the planet gets chillier. Winter is coming, y'all.

What happens in the fall equinox?

Great question! The equinox isn't all poetry. Scientifically speaking, it's the moment at which the sun is aligned with the earth's equator. This is different than a solstice, which represents one of the two moments in the year when the sun's path is farthest from the equator (either north or south).

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

What time is the fall equinox in 2021?

Eastern Daylight Time: For those of you living in areas that abide by the Eastern time zone, you can expect the equinox to arrive at 3:21 p.m. EDT.

Central Time: Over in the Central time zone, the equinox is at 2:21 p.m. CDT.

Mountain Time: If you happen to live in a Mountain time zone area, the equinox will arrive at 1:21 p.m. MDT.

Pacific Time: The Pacific time zone can expect the fall equinox to arrive at 12:21 p.m. PDT.

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