Fall Equinox

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16 Fun Ways To Celebrate the First Day of Fall With Your Kids

From bonfires to crafts and pumpkins, here are some great fall equinox traditions to start.

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The fall equinox goes by many names, depending on your family’s culture and lifestyle. There’s the autumnal equinox, the first day of fall, and Mabon, a fall pagan holiday. Regardless of what you call it, it’s fun to come up with fall equinox traditions to start with your family and celebrate this change of seasons. Fall equinox represents so much, and it’s the official start to the coziest time of the year.

The fall equinox falls in September, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. This is the official start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, and “it occurs at the same moment worldwide,” per the Almanac. In addition to the naturally occurring changes happening on this day, the fall equinox/Mabon has an intricate past steeped in tradition, celebration, and gratitude. It, historically, has been a time to feel grateful for a bountiful harvest, to prepare for the long dark nights ahead, and to sort of “close out” one part of the year and prepare for the next. It’s such a sweet moment in fall, honestly, and having some fall equinox traditions with your family really pulls it all together.

Whether you do fall crafts, make some fall recipes, or just turn on It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and have a movie night, there is so much magic to be had during the fall equinox.


Go for a hike.

What better way to celebrate a new season than to go enjoy it in nature? Going for a hike is a wonderful way to get some exercise, all while enjoying family time and possibly even picking up some materials for fall-themed arts and crafts.


Give to others or volunteer.

Since this is the holiday for giving thanks and counting your blessings in Pagan households, your family can take advantage of this by doing your own "fall cleaning" like a "spring clean," and donating your items to those less fortunate. You can also volunteer at a food bank, or do any other kind of community service to really get into the spirit.

Another option, according to Sabbats: A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways, is to take parts of your fall harvest — especially gourds — and leave it out for the wildlife. They’ll definitely need to bulk up for the dark winter months ahead depending on where you live.


Make pumpkin recipes.

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It just wouldn't be fall without celebration of a certain gourd, am I right? Luckily there are tons of great fall-themed recipes to make to celebrate the fall equinox, and a lot of them feature some great harvest gourds like pumpkins, squash, and more.


Do a sweet leaf-rubbing activity.

I remember doing this and really enjoying it as a kid. Maybe on your new fall equinox traditional hike, grab some leaves, and when you return home, check out this Leaf Rubbing Activity from KC Edventures and make a leaf print from rubbing either a crayon, oil pastel, or colored pencil over a sheet of wax paper. You can then discuss all the different parts of the leaf if you'd like, or just use the rubbing for some fun DIY fall decor.


Visit an apple orchard.

Apple picking is a great fall activity to celebrate fall equinox, and if you're feeling Pagan or celebrating Mabon, talk about how folks in earlier times would pick these apples for harvest and use them directly from the source. Celebrate getting back to nature and your agricultural roots.

Apples are associated with divination, the underworld, and eternal life in many types of folklore, and they can also be a symbol for abundance.


Decorate your home with fall things.

Since we will be spending a lot more time at home now that fall has arrived and it will get lighter later and darker earlier, now's the time to clean and decorate, making your home look and feel cozy. Learnreligions.com suggests putting sickles, scythes, and bales of hay around your yard, and placing leaves, gourds, and twigs in baskets around your home. The website also suggests in addition to physically cleaning your house, you should also metaphysically cleanse your house with a smoke cleanse.


Do a ritual smoke cleanse.

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You can use sweetgrass, sage, or any bundled herb if your choice and go through your home and bless each room. You can even use incense if you prefer, but the point of all of this is to have the smoke carry negative energies out of your home and cleansing it for the rest of the season. Don't forget to open the windows so the negative energy can leave.

"Go clockwise around your house — usually starting at the front door — and gently wave the smoke into the air. Spend a bit more time smudging the room corners, as they tend to accumulate stagnant energy. Be sure to also open the closet doors and carefully smudge inside. Do not forget about spaces such as the laundry room, the garage, or the basement," Feng Shui expert Rodika Tchi recommended.


Create a "food altar" or tablescape.

Go ahead and set up your table for Thanksgiving while you're at it, I know you'll enjoy looking at it until the big day. And if you want to take it a step further in honor of the Fall Equinox or Mabon, you can create a food altar.

Learnreligions.com noted, "In most Pagan traditions, Mabon, the autumn equinox, is a celebration of the second harvest season. It's a time when we're gathering the bounty of the fields, the orchards and the gardens, and bringing it in for storage ... why not invite friends or other members of your group, if you're part of one, to gather their garden treasures and place them on your Mabon altar during ritual?" You can look at the bounty of your "harvest" all in one place.

The website suggests using apples (maybe from when you went apple picking?), berries, grapes, nuts, corn, wheat, potatoes, pumpkins, onions, etc., as decoration and/or creating your altar/tablescape. "Your altar should be dressed in the very best produce you can find from field, forest and market, from garden and the wild. Apples, pears, damsons, sloes, rose hips, elderberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries, the possibilities are large. If you collect from the wild, be not greedy — always leave plenty of fruit and berries for the birds and wee creatures."


Make a fall wreath together.

This Dollar Store Hula Skirt to Fall Wreath craft from 30 Minute Crafts would be fun to make as a family, and you'll have a beautiful and festive result.


Make fresh bread.

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As with most harvest celebrations, bread is an important thing to bake to celebrate the Fall Equinox or Mabon. If you want to make a Mabon-specific recipe to welcome the new season, try this Dark Mother – Mabon Honey Wheat Bread recipe, from Just a Pinch, which is inspired by Dark Mother Bread, another Pagan story.


Honor the darkness.

Because the days are getting shorter, now might be a good time to "honor the darkness,.”

Celebrate the ritual by lighting candles and turning off the lights, while reflecting on the end of the harvest and of the light.


Talk about all your blessings and gratitude.

Since Mabon is sometimes considered the Pagan Thanksgiving, you can celebrate the fall equinox by sitting down and making a gratitude list with your family.


Work on an acorn craft.

The acorn is a symbol of strength and power, and it’s also a symbol of perseverance and hard work, like reaping the benefits of the harvest you worked so hard for all year.

Acorns are also just a pretty normal "fall" symbol since they tend to fall onto the ground during this season. Whichever symbol you lean toward, it will still be fun to do this Handprint Acorn Lacing Craft from Kids Craft Room to celebrate the Fall Equinox/Mabon.


Do a cornucopia craft.

The website The Goddess & The Greenman noted that the cornucopia is a symbol of Mabon and the fall equinox. "It is a wonderful symbol for the wealth of harvest," the website suggested, so maybe you could do a cornucopia craft to honor the symbol of the wealth of harvest? This Thanksgiving Cornucopia Craft from All Kids Network would be fun, simple, and tasty. And if you want to do one yourself for some decoration, This Cornucopia Door Sign Thanksgiving Craft Kit from Oriental Trading would be great as well.


Have a bonfire.

There's just something about a bonfire and fall, feeling the crisp air around you and the warmth from the fire on your face. If that's not a fun way to celebrate this time, I don't know what is.


Celebrate a few days later with the Harvest Moon.

The Harvest Moon is September’s full moon, and while it’s a few days after the fall equinox, you can celebrate by making mooncakes, moongazing, and talking about what that big, gorgeous full moon represents.

No matter how you celebrate, the fall equinox is a great time to hunker down and be with your family.

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