In a couple days the world is going to be full of people taking about the first day of Autumn. Please do me a favor and correct this widespread relabeling of our seasons.

@tomasino I think Foghar and Second Harvest are Canadian 1970s rock bands.

@tomasino The exact meteorological definition of summer depends on where you are, and where that ends up on the calendar varies on top of that. But generally summer on the northern hemisphere starts some time in June or late May, and I always found midsummer a really funny name for the holiday, as summer had just got started.

As for Hong Kong, summer has stayed long this year, and only now near the end of September have we had our first day of enjoying breakfast without the air conditioning on, indicating that the oppressive summer heat is finally giving way to the cool autumn breeze, never mind that mid-autumn festival was last weekend.

@clacke @tomasino Yep seasons, like gender, are culturally defined. In the Middle Ages in Europe it was defined astronomically (by day length) these days a lot of people find a meteorological model more appropriate since it matches actual temperatures more closely. And of course yet other cultures, with different local weather and geography, define the seasons in different ways from those two options. What works for you is valid.

@clacke @tomasino I didn't check this morning, but my day range has been ~5 to 18 all week I think.

@clacke @tomasino And then there are the astronomical seasons, that are (usually) defined as changing at the equinoxes / soltices…

Not aligned with the meteorological ones, of course, but it is the standard method used in some countries, and thanks to… in some places it is closer to having summer in the actual warmest months than a system where the solstice is in the middle of summer.

@tomasino I don't think there's a need to get haughty about "correcting" people. There's a meteorological definition of seasons and an astronomical one.

@W10x12_UNO indeed, but re-read that and you'll see the astronomical (which I'm referencing) is wrong. 45 days off. :D

Meteorological calendars are much more useful for local weather reference, but astronomical ones have their place in the calendar. I just get annoyed that it's so universally changed.

Does that put me in the wrong? Probably! Terms mean what people agree they mean. It's pedantic and I'm a curmudgeon about it because there's so much history in the West around the dates

@tomasino Gonna have to disagree. We learned the seasons starting at the equinoxes and solstices back when I was but a wee lad in school back in the late 1960s.

(As I'm neither pagan nor Catholic I don't fuss with either of the religious reasons for those)

@tomasino "Right" in language is defined by how it's actually used. At this point you're fighting with over a half-century of common usage.

And tomorrow I shall wish people a happy Autumn.

@filkerdave comon usage does indeed trump everything. I'll stick with my pedantic and doomed fight for the terms, but happy Autumn either way 👍

@tomasino okay but I think the seasons are more usually and usefully discussed meteorologically, and that means for where we live spring is starting, and the weather is starting to get warmer. It would be better if we followed the seasonal calendars of local indigenous nations (here, 7 seasons) which matches the actual cycle far better than 4 equal length seasons, but it’s still better than saying spring started 45 days ago.

@tomasino sorry to clarify, here spring started 21 days ago (first day of September). So somewhere in between — I didn’t know other countries used the solstices/equinoxes officially.

@sophistoche meteorological calendars indeed can define it as it happens locally, add that makes the most sense. The global adaptation of the astronomical seasons being offset by 45 days is what irks me. Those have a long history. Is it pedantic, yep! But that's what pet peeves are for

@tomasino @sophistoche Of course these concepts are subjective and can't really be argued about as correct or incorrect, but to me summer makes the most sense as the warm season, and the warm season certainly does not peak around midsummer, as the amount of sunlight determines how the place heats up, not how hot it is right that moment, see seasonal lag. The seasonal lag where I grew up is closer to 45 days than to 0 days.


Oh, goodness. So, your post made sense and now this annoys me, too.

It's wrong _everywhere_.

I think I'm going to refer to these days as midsummer day, midautumn day, midwinter day, and midspring day.

Because, seriously, when did "mid" start to mean "beginning of" instead of "middle of?"

"My midsection almost never gains weight." ::pats own head::

@yam655 I know the terms 4 season I describe was in wide spread use with the Julian calendar by the 1st century AD. It's hard to tell what's real with british history because the gardanian wiccan tradition rewrote a lot of it. Still, 2,000 years of use seems to have changed overnight sometime in the late 1800s or early 1900s. I can't find a clear reason why.

Frankly, "seasons" make more sense to be governed by local meteorological dates anyway. But still. Grrrr!


Personally? I think the blame may land on commercial calendar companies.

I imagine it was around the time you could buy whole-year calendars to hang on your wall.

So, first calendar companies released whole-year calendars where the year could be evenly divided in to four sections marking four seasons, then they pushed the revised astrological seasons as their reasoning.

Neither astrology nor astronomy cares about seasons, so nobody argued the point.

Commerce wins again! 😉

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon @ SDF

"I appreciate SDF but it's a general-purpose server and the name doesn't make it obvious that it's about art." - Eugen Rochko