So, in the U.S., we say that the seasons “technically begin” on the solstices and equinoxes (equinices?); the longest and shortest days of the year, and the days when night and day last 12 hours exactly each.
Why? Why does Summer begin, according to the calendar, on the longest day of the year? Isn’t it already warm before then? Doesn’t it mean that the rest of the summer has shorter days then the longest day of the year? Doesn’t it mean that the average length day in May (according to this system, still “Spring” – all 30 days of it) is longer than the average day in August, and that every day in May is longer than every day in September (which, according to the calendar is still 22 days of Summer and 8 days of Fall)?
But why should the day length, or when the day happens relative to the solstices define precisely which days make the “first day of Spring” or the “first day of Winter?” I know the calendar (and by “the calendar” I mean, every calendar that I ever have seen that has season dates on them, as well as almanacs, and the national weather service) is not something we go by practically, anyway. I mean, what difference does it make that one day is Fall and the next is Winter, according to the calendar?
I say make up our own rules. Don’t let others define your seasons for you. Define them yourself! I think a lot of people already have done this. For instance, a lot of businesses define their summer hours going from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I think a lot of students (from Kindergarten to Doctoral Programs) call Summer the time when they’re not in school, even though that could be sometime in mid-May to late June, until sometime in late August to mid-September.
What makes up your seasons? Are your seasons even Spring, Summer, Fall (or Autumn) and Winter? Maybe you’re in a more equatorial climate than my own 49 degrees north of the equator and they’re more like rainy and dry? Perhaps they’re more like Baseball, Hunting, Christmas, Basketball and Fishing?
For me, I think I like the Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter system. But I say that the first day of Summer is when you catch yourself thinking that a glass of cold icewater would really hit the spot. The first day of Fall is the first day that the leaves start to change on the horse chestnut tree in my yard. The first day of Winter is the day that I can see my breath during mid-day. And the first day of Spring is when things aren’t frozen.
So what are your seasons, and when do you know it’s one and not the other?