Today, March 20, marks the first day of spring. The spring or vernal equinox is one of the four great solar festivals of the year. Day and night are equal, but about to tip over on the side of light. In many traditions, this is the start of the new year. The Roman year began on the ides of March (15th). The astrological year begins on the equinox when the moon moves into the first sign of the Zodiac, Aries, the Ram. The Greek God Ares is equivalent to the Roman Mars for whom the month of March is named. Between the 12th century and 1752, March 25th was the day the year changed in England and Ireland. March 25, 1212 was the day after March 24, 1211. The vernal equinox is one of the two points where the Ecliptic crosses the celestial equator. At the vernal equinox the sun appears to be moving across the equator from the southern celestial hemisphere to the northern celestial hemisphere. The other point where the sun crosses the celestial equator is the autumnal equinox. It is the apparent motion of the sun eastwards around the ecliptic that creates the seasons that we experience at different times of the year. The arrival of the sun at the vernal equinox on or about March 21 marks the beginning of Spring. Because the number of days in the year is not a whole number, the sun does not arrive at the vernal equinox at the same date every year. The date of the equinox may vary by more than two days, occurring as early as 8 a.m. central standard time on March 19 in the year 2096 or as late as 1 p.m. central standard time on March 21, 1903. Since the vernal equinox represents the beginning of the spring season, we can also refer to it as the spring equinox. Since the sun is on the celestial equator at the vernal equinox, it has a declination there of zero degrees. The position of the vernal equinox is the reference point from which we measure right ascension. Because of this, at the equinox the sun has a right ascension of zero hours. This dictates the equatorial coordinates of the Vernal Equinox as zero degrees, zero hours.