As the weather starts to cool down and the leaves begin to change color, it’s clear that autumn is upon us. This season is a time of transition as we say goodbye to the long, lazy days of summer and prepare for the colder months ahead. While many of us are familiar with the typical sights and sounds of autumn, such as falling leaves and pumpkin patches, there’s much more to this season than meets the eye.
There’s a lot to discover about this unique season. Whether you’re a die-hard pumpkin-spice enthusiast or simply curious about how the world changes around you, read on to learn more about the fascinating world of autumn.
1. A Season so Nice They Named it Twice
Autumn is the only season with two names. In North America, it is usually called fall, while in many other parts of the world, it’s called autumn. Autumn comes from the Old French word autumpne and the Latin word autumnus. Both referred to the season between summer and winter.
While the term fall is supposedly a shortening of the phrase “fall of the leaf,” describing the transformation trees went through during this time of the year. Whether you prefer to call it autumn or fall, this season is a time of transition and change, as the world prepares for the colder months ahead.
2. Autumn Date Disagreement Among Scientists
Having two names isn’t really that confusing but how about two dates for the start of autumn? The autumnal equinox marks the official start of astronomical fall, which is based on the position of the Earth in relation to the sun. The equinox usually happens around September 22nd.
Meteorologists, on the other hand, divide the year into four seasons, each lasting three months. According to them, fall runs from September 1st to November 30th. This system is used to simplify record-keeping and make it easier to compare data from different years based on temperature patterns.
3. Autumn isn’t Just Sweater Weather For Humans
Cooling temperatures don’t just mean humans start bundling up. Animals go through physical changes during the fall, too. Birds will molt to prepare for migration. Some mammals, such as squirrels, bears, and lemurs, will start to prepare for hibernation by eating more and storing up fat.
4. The Leaves are Shedding Their Color
The colors of autumn leaves are actually always present within the leaves. As the temperatures drop in the fall, the chlorophyll breaks down. This process reveals the yellows and oranges that were underneath or releases anthocyanins which are red or purple pigments. The temperature and moisture can also affect how vivid the leaves are.
5. It’s A Time to Celebrate Abundance
In many cultures, the fall equinox is seen as a time of abundance and celebration as crops are harvested and stored for the winter. Popular autumn harvest festivals include Oktoberfest in Germany, the Moon Festival in China, and Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada.