Spring officially starts today exactly at 12:59 noon, March 20th. Who determines when the spring starts exactly? The good old traditions of watching the sky, the sun and the earth. The spring equinox!
In the northern hemisphere, the beginning of spring comes in form of vernal equinox. Astronomically spring arrives when the sun reaches a certain height over the equator each year.
- An equinox is the moment in which the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun.It occurs twice a year on March 20th, -psring equinox, and on September 23rd, autumn equinox.
On both the spring and the autumn equinoxes, the sun will be directly overhead at noon at some place along the equator of our planet. This year, the first of these two occurrences, the spring equinox, happens at 12:59 noon eurpean Eastern Time, if you are in Greece. But at 6:29 a.m US Eastern Standard Time.
Meteorologically, spring starts after the coldest 90 days of the year in the months December, March and February, therefore the start date is on March 1st.
Whatever the reasons, weather is Greece started to significantly improve in the last two weeks thus after a horrible winter with icy cold temperatures and heavy snow falls.
Flowers in balconies and gardens started to bloom already about three weeks ago. Due to the very high temperature last summer and the extreme low in the last months, quite some flowers, herbs and plants simply sat down and died. I managed only to collect dry oregano, thyme and sage. All the other herbs had gone long ago.
Due to the change in the micro-climate in the last years, I was ‘forced’ to plant less herbs and more succulents. The latter were never my favorite. But I cannot complain about their resistance and will to survive.
Although several of them were severely hit by hale they refused to give up and thrive.
And color my south-west balcony in Athens with beautiful colors.
My most robust lavender has managed to survive through four winters and summers.I think, it is French lavender and not the common Greek lavender. The pot is in the same place all these years and gets no more than 1-2 hours of direct sun light. Her sister that was in full sun exposure did not survive more than one season.
In terms of weather, things can only get better. Temperatures are expected to generally reach 20° to 22° Celsius this week – except for a low that will pass quickly over Greece on Wednesday, March 22nd, and bring rain mainly on the islands.
And days will be longer too, a lots of daylight due to daylight saving time, as we’ll switch our clocks one hour ahead on the last Sunday of March. This year is on March 26th, one day after the Independence Day.
Now everybody is wondering how the weather will be on Easter Sunday. The Greek Orthodox Easter that this year will be on April 16th 2017 – OMG, on the same day Turkey will hold a referendum to grant super powers to president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Surprise! This year, the Greek Orthodox and the Catholic Easter Sunday coincide.
The very first forecast about weather on Greek Orthodox Easter are not very good.
North winds, rain and occasionally rainstorms are expected on the first two weeks of April. Temperatures at around 16° Celsius.
The weather will improve after Eastern and last until to April 24th.
Weather in April is know to be not very stable, anyway. Who can’t reckon this April breeze which is normally full of fragrances?
However, I had to note that the weather forecast for the Easter days is based – according to the Greek internet – on the so-called Μερομήνια (Merominia – something like monthdays).
Merominia is an ancient method to forecast the weather for a year after observing the first twelve days of August. Each day corresponds to each month following August. Thats is, weather on Aug 1st forecasts the weather for Sept etc.
If there is wind on one of these August days, the weather will be unstable on the corresponding month. If there are white stable clouds, there will be rain, if the white clouds move fast, there will be snow.
Yet, some make their observations starting on August 1st, some use the old calendar and start on August 14th.
Reading the weather forecast according to the Merominia issued in August 2016, December and January were supposed to be cold but without the extreme snow falls we experienced.
March 16-31 was supposed to bring low temperatures with snow and icy cold north winds.
So far, we came through March with rather pleasant temperatures. I managed the month without turning on the heating even for one of the mild chilly nights.
Generally speaking, the Merominia were not wrong as they predicted a “difficult winter.”
Old traditions are good and we should know about especially with regards to weather. And the spring equinox!
PS I do not know the names of the plants in English, so apologies.