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celebrating autumn equinox

For thousands of years, people around the world, in all different cultures have celebrated the change of seasons. It was – and still is – a time to celebrate hard work, to honor mother nature and to acknowledge the passage of time. Many of our modern holidays are held around the same time as these ancient festivals. Fall, winter, spring and summer can each be welcomed and celebrated in their own special way. This post will be the first in a four part series about celebrating the season your home.

Celebrating the Autumn Equinox is a great way to bring a closer connection to nature into your home. The Autumn equinox occurs every year on or around the 21 of September. It is the time when night and day are of equal length. This year it will happen on September 21st.

In our home we do a few special things to help welcome the change from summer to fall:

  • First we go apple picking at the same local orchard. Next we bring out all of our fall related books and audio stories and then change our nature table from summer items to fall items. On the actual day of the fall equinox, we try to spend as much time outside as we can by either talking a nature walk or simply playing outside. We try to notice a change in the light and change in air temperature and to see if there are any changes leaf color. Then in the evening we’ll have a dinner of local harvest foods. Most of it comes from our garden, but sometimes we go out to a farmers market and see what is available. This year we’ll be having okra, butternut squash, tomatoes and apples.
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Apple picking is great way to help your kids connect the end of the growing season to their own lives. Although apples are available all year in the store, come April they are kind of mealy and not so tasty because they are being shipped from so far away out of season. When you eat apples in season, picked by you or your children from a farm near where you live it, it makes the apples that much more delicious. This year we picked 65 pounds of apples and are making them into apple sauce, apple pies, apple cake, eating them fresh, and even making dried apple chips.

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  • In our home we have a small flat topped trunk that we’ve turned into our nature/season table. At the change of each season we completely reset the table to fit the new season. There are some really beautiful nature table sets ups out there but it doesn’t have to be big or complicated. This is our table this week. Right now it has a few leaves, some bark, rocks and a few handmade toys. Come November it will be filled with all sorts of nature treasure.
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Here is what you need:

A space to put seasonal objects on. It can be a table, window sill, or even a low shelf in a bookcase.

A cloth to cover the table with the appropriate seasonal color. For fall you’ll probably want brown or orange to reflect the change in the leaves.

Nature toys: acorns, leaves, rocks, dried flowers hand picked apples. It can be anything that you child picks up on their fall nature walks.

A book relating fall (see the list below for fall related books).

Wooden toys: this last element is totally optional, but we like to have little peg gnomes to play with along with all the fall nature treasures we find.

When celebrating, a new to your family holiday, I find it’s easiest if you have a few good books to read and activities to do. That’s how traditions are made after all. By doing things that are fun and enjoyable.

Here are a few of our favorite activities to do on or around the fall equinox:

make leaf wreaths to decorate the house

make apple sauce

read fall picture books

take a nature walk

make fall sun catchers

change nature table to fall theme

make a fall inspired dinner

Lastly to help inspire you, here are a few wonderful fall themed books we bring out only in the fall:

  • Autumn by Gerda Muller

  • Christopher’s Harvest Time by Elsa Beskow

  • Wood, Hazel and Little Pip by Elsa Beskow

  • We Gather Together by Wendy Pfeffer

  • Hardscrabble Harvest by Dalov Ipcar

  • The Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall

Have you ever celebrated the Autumn Equinox? What things does your family like to do to celebrate?

If you celebrate the Fall Equinox, please share with us on Instagram or Facebook or via email (kindwords@sparklestories.com), what you did in words and/or pictures. We’d love to see how your family celebrates.


This is repost from 2015.


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About the Author

KC Pagano
Sparkle Stories Media Maven

KC is a full-time radical homemaker and mama to two spunky little girls. She writes about all kinds of radical goodness, from gardening and cooking with whole foods to attachment parenting, high needs toddlers, crafting, sewing, homeschooling, and mama musings. Read more on her blog Olive and Owl.


About Martin & Sylvia's Nature School

As the summer comes to an end, Momma, Martin and Sylvia reflect on all the things they loved about the summer season: hikes, walks along the beach, blueberry picking, climbing trees and collecting bird feathers. Then Momma suggests that they keep the summer outdoor fun alive all year long: “Every Thursday, let’s have Nature School!” And so Martin joins the Goose-eye Wilderness School, and Sylvia and her friend Sophia create a Nature home-school. From wildcraft cooking to outdoor games to building projects to tree identification, Nature School will be a year of unfolding learning and fun.