The technical start of spring is when the vernal equinox begins, and this year that’s March 19, the earliest it has been since 1896!
Thanks to some complex math by Patch.com and the Farmer’s Almanac, the year of 2020 showcased some of the more unique rules of our calendar system that led to this occurrence.
Usually, spring begins on March 21st. Here’s why it’s on the 19th this year, as simply as we can put it:
- It all began in February 2000, which was the first time in four centuries that a leap year also fell on a century year
- In our calendar “rules,” years divisible by four are leap years, and if a year is divisible by 100, it skips a leap year. But (for some reason), if a year is divisible by 400, it will be a leap year. Hence why 2000 is a leap year,
- Solstices and equinoxes usually occur earlier and earlier throughout a century (either on the 21st, 20th or 19th), and then when the leap year doesn’t occur on a century year, it goes back to occurring on the 21st
- But, since we didn’t have a leap year in 2000, it continued to move up earlier.
And, every four years from now on (2024, 2028, 2032), the first day of spring will be earlier and earlier.
So expect early springs through 2100 as well!
featured image source: Shutterstock