Annualy, Earth Day is not observed once but twice. The Equinox Earth Day, or Equinoctial Earth Day, is the first Earth Day celebration of the year. Read all about the origin and significance of the Equinox Earth Day. If you like reading this article on the Equinox Earth Day, let your friends and dear ones know about it too by clicking here and pass on this article to them. Have a great time!
The Equinox Earth Day, like the World Earth Day, is a time to celebrate the progress made by mankind in the preservation of the planet and plan out better strategies for the betterment of the climate.
Every year, the Equinox Earth Day (also known as "Equinoctial Earth Day") is celebrated on the Vernal equinox (around 20 March), a time that marks the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere and the first day of autumn in the southern hemisphere. The tradition began since March 21, 1970, when the first Equinox Earth Day and also the first Earth Day was celebrated.
The Earth Day celebrations in March is said to have started with John McConnell, a newspaper publisher and influential community activist. In 1969, McConnell attended a UNESCO Conference on the Environment, where he proposed the idea of having an annual global holiday called Earth Day that would remind people of their responsibility to maintain the environmental equilibrium of the earth. He hoped that this singular occassion would make people join hands and recognize their common need to preserve Earth’s resources. He chose the vernal equinox as the time of the Earth Day celebrations. Supporting his decision regarding this date of observance, he himself said later:
"When I first conceived of Earth Day, a global holiday to celebrate the wonder of life on our planet, I thought long and hard about the day on which it should fall. It must be meaningful. One that might be accepted universally for all of humankind.
When the Vernal Equinox dawned on me, I immediately knew it was right. The Earth tremor that shook our California dwelling at that moment seemed an omen of confirmation. What could be more appropriate than the first moment of Spring, when day and night are equal around the world and hearts and minds can join together with thoughts of harmony and Earth's rejuvenation. Just as a single prayer can be siginificant, how much more so when hundreds, thousands, millions of people throughout the world join in peaceful thoughts and prayers to nurture neighbor and nature.
And so it came to pass we initiated the celebration of Earth Day on March 21, 1970....Earth Day was firmly established for all time on a sound basis as an annual event to deepen reverence and care for life on our planet. "
The idea of having an Earth Day caught on among like-minded people. On March 21, 1970, the Mayor of San Francisco issued the first Earth Day proclamation. The first ever Earth Day celebrations were held in various major cities such as San Francisco and California.
On February 26, 1971, U.N. Secretary-General U Thant provided an official support to McConnell's global environmental initiative. He signed a proclamation officially declaring the Earth Day celebration to be held henceforth on the vernal equinox every year. He stated:
"May there only be peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life."
With Thant's extension of official endorsement to the occassion, Earth Day began to be celebrated by the United Nations. The UN began the tradition of observing Earth Day each year by ringing the Peace Bell at U.N. headquarters in New York at the exact moment of the vernal equinox, a custom that prevails even today. This bell was donated to the United Nations by Japan.
The annual equinox Earth Day ceremony at the UN is held by the Earth Society Foundation, an organization established by John McConnell and Margaret Mead to foster participation of nations across the world in the peaceful care of Earth, and to promote the annual celebration of Earth Day on the Equinox (March 20-21).
With passing years, the Earth Day celebrations in various cities worldwide have come to be held at the same time as the celebration at the UN. The 2008 equinoctical Earth Day celebrations saw the occassion being observed in a grand manner in New Zealand, California, Vienna, Paris, Lithuania, Tokyo and many other places other than New York.
Annually, this significant occassion is observed in 175 countries. According to the Earth Day Network, a nonprofit organization that coordinates Earth Day festivities, Earth Day is now "the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a half billion people every year."