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HAIL TO THE CHIEF: Tipping Myths On The First Day Of Spring

James Zahara Weather Blog

We continue to countdown to the first day of spring, otherwise known as the vernal equinox, which is scheduled on March 20th.  The equinox is defined by astronomers as “equal night”.  What’s astronomically special about the vernal equinox is that on that day the axis of the earth lines up with the axis of the sun, making the length of our day and night just about equal.  There are two times annually when day and night are essentially more-or-less equal in length: the spring and autumnal equinoxes (September 23rd).

It’s a special time of the year, when many people seem to think special things can happen, like balancing eggs on end or brooms on their bristles.  Is there any science behind the myth?  Interesting tips (or non-tips) behind this.

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It’s true that you can balance an egg on its end on the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. However, you can also balance an egg on the day before the equinox, the day after, or on any day of the year.  This superstitious belief was generally attributed by the Chinese, that you can stand raw eggs on end on the first day of spring.  Apparently, this comes from the notion that due to the sun’s equal position between the poles of the earth at the time of the equinox, special gravitational forces apply allowing eggs to stand.

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Same holds true about balancing a broom on its bristles. Again, some people think that can only be done on the vernal equinox or when the planets align.  Nope.  The trick with the broom is you need enough pressure on the bristles forcing them apart enough to form a stable base. That is what allows it to continue to stand by itself.

So, whether its the egg or the broom, if you’re able to accomplish both tasks no matter what time of the year you definitely have something to brag about.

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