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Facts about Autumn for Kids


Autumn marks the transition from summer into winter, in September (Northern Hemisphere) or March (Southern Hemisphere) when the arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier. The equinoxes might be expected to be in the middle of their respective seasons, but temperature lag (caused by the thermal latency of the ground and sea) means that seasons appear later than dates calculated from a purely astronomical perspective.

  • Some cultures regard the autumnal equinox as “mid-autumn”, others with a longer lag treat it as the start of autumn.
  • Meteorologists (and most of the temperate countries in the southern hemisphere) use a definition based on months, with autumn being SeptemberOctober and November in the northern hemisphere, and March, April and May in the southern hemisphere.
  • In Ireland, the autumn months according to the national meteorological service, Met Éireann, are September, October and November.
  • However, according to the Irish Calendar which is based on ancient Gaelic traditions, autumn lasts throughout the months of August, September, and October, or possibly a few days later, depending on tradition.
  • The word autumn comes from the Old French word autompne, and was later normalised to the original Latin word autumnus.
  • Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season, as it is common in other West Germanic languages to this day.
  • However, as more people gradually moved from working the land to living in towns (especially those who could read and write, the only people whose use of language we now know), the word harvest lost its reference to the time of year and came to refer only to the actual activity of reaping, and autumn, as well as fall, began to replace it as a reference to the season.
  • The alternative word fall for the season traces its origins to old Germanic languages.
  • The term came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of Middle English expressions like “fall of the leaf” and “fall of the year”.
  • During the 17th century, English emigration to the British colonies in North America was at its peak, and the new settlers took the English language with them.
  • Association with the transition from warm to cold weather, and its related status as the season of the primary harvest, has dominated its themes and popular images.
  • In Western cultures, personifications of autumn are usually pretty, well-fed females adorned with fruits, vegetables and grains that ripen at this time.
  • Still extant echoes of these celebrations are found in the mid-autumn Thanksgiving holiday of the United States and Canada, and the Jewish Sukkot holiday with its roots as a full-moon harvest festival of “tabernacles” (huts wherein the harvest was processed and which later gained religious significance).
  • There are also the many North American Indian festivals tied to harvest of autumnally ripe foods gathered in the wild, the Chinese Mid-Autumn or Moon festival, and many others.
  • This view is presented in English poet John Keats’ poem To Autumn, where he describes the season as a time of bounteous fecundity, a time of ‘mellow fruitfulness’.
  • Similar examples may be found in Irish poet William Butler Yeats’ poem The Wild Swans at Coole where the maturing season that the poet observes symbolically represents his own aging self.
  • Autumn has a strong association with American football, as the regular season begins during September and ends with playoff competition in December or January, in the winter season.