Due to a trick of clock time, it’s possible to treat yourself to apparitions of ancient mythic characters that appear in the starry heavens every morning this week from as late as 6:30am to 7:00am. Figures drawn by the stars stand out in the darkness closer to 6:30, while the brightest stars in those constellations, along with planet Jupiter, shine through even as the atmosphere begins to glow with the radiance of the approaching sun. Sunrise occurs at or about 7:30. These are the latest sunrises of the year, even later than during the period surrounding the Winter Solstice when the latest sunrises are at 7:20am.
The trick of the very darkest mornings lasts while our clocks are set for Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), which is an hour ahead of actual time according to the sun. EDT ends Sunday, November 6. Before bedtime on Saturday, the 5th, set timepieces back one hour to Eastern Standard Time (EST). Some electronic devices reset automatically. Sunrise on the 6th is 6:32am.
Halloween is a change of season folk festival with age-old roots. It is a celebration that may have its origin in harvest festivals and, at this time of widespread killing frost, direct connections to observances that honor the dead. Like most holidays of cultural significance, Halloween is an expression of our human relationship to the Earth and the sun. This day that encourages our imaginations and coaxes us to embrace the dark time of year marks the approximate halfway point between the Autumnal Equinox, September 22, and the Winter Solstice, December 21.
Our year is divided into four quarters – the seasons – astronomically manifest in the solstices and equinoxes. Cross-quarter days are the midway points between the quarters. Halloween is the fourth cross-quarter day of the year. Other traditional mid-season folk celebrations that observe a date roughly between an equinox and a solstice are Groundhog Day (and Valentine’s Day), May Day (and Mother’s Day) and summer’s Lammas and Tanabata. In many older calendars, these holidays proclaim the beginning of the new season: even though astronomically we are at the mid-point, the effects of the sun’s comings and goings are already manifest at the cross-quarter moment.
Look up to collect your starry sweet treats at dawn and dusk and all hours in-between.
Encourage children to draw their own mythic figures out of the patterns they see in the stars.