Aka: Autumnal Equinox, Mabon
Traditional Date: Late March (21-23ish) (NH: late September)
2023 Astronomical Date: March 21 (NH: September 23)*
Themes: Harvest, end of bushfire season.
Moon Phase: Third Quarter
Colours: Dark pink, yellow
Botanicals: Illyarrie, black pepper, clove
Foods: Grapes, apples, wine, hot cross buns, chocolate, late-summer fruits/vegetables
In a lot of Australia, the autumnal equinox falls at the end of our hottest summer period and heralds the start of a shift towards cooler weather. The flowering of the niaouli/paperbark trees tells me that this is getting close, so they’re most representative of this time of year for me.
While the ‘harvest festivals’ (Lammas/Lughnasadh, Autumn Equinox/Mabon, Samhain/ShadowFest) usually centre ideas of grain harvests, these are long over in most of Australia (in fact, farmers will start sowing the new year’s crops fairly soon). That said, you’ll still find plenty of late summer fruits/vegetables being harvested in the places that grow them!
Due to the chaos of being a Christian country in the Southern Hemisphere, the Autumnal Equinox also precedes spring-themed Easter celebrations, so I find that some of these things overlap a little. I realised last year that hot cross buns are weirdly appropriate for this time of year, and chocolate usually makes some level of an appearance. Likewise, many Noongar people (the traditional custodians of the land I live on) traditionally lived coastal at this time of year, so the Christian tradition of eating fish (& often other seafood) on Good Friday lines up with the seasonal vibes as well.
How to celebrate Mabon/Autumn Equinox
- Mark the solar event by watching the sunrise and sunset.
- Eat seasonal foods! One of my favourite things to make at this time of year is a cider & red wine cocktail - wonderful iced or mulled!
- Revisit and review any goals you set for the solar year - how are they going?
*: Southern Hemisphere dates based on Perth, WA (GMT+8); Northern Hemisphere dates based on GMT. Find the date/time based on your location here.