How To Celebrate The Autumnal Equinox

September 22nd is the autumnal equinox. As summer gives way to fall — with nights starting to stretch out longer than the days — here are some ways to celebrate the changing of the seasons.

Harvest your ripe veggies and fruits. Plant fast-growing salad crops like radishes and lettuce. (Here’s a guide to fall gardening.) Start planning and preparing — you can plant garlic now — for spring.

Prepare for winter.
Make the fall’s harvest last all winter. Invite a few friends over to spend the day in the kitchen. Freeze fruits and vegetables. Make jams, pickles, sauces and other preserves that will feed you until spring. Make sloe gin now, and it will be ready to drink at Christmas.

Host a dinner party.
Share the bounty with your nearest and dearest. Host a dinner party in your backyard, serving up fresh local produce in seasonal dishes. (What you can’t get from your garden, source from farmer’s markets and roadside stands.) Serve with hearty bread and local wines.

Establish the theme of your party with decor. Use whatever natural elements best represent the season to you — apples, fallen leaves, gourds, acorns, bare branches, corn and wildflowers — and create a centrepiece that celebrates the abundance of fall.

String up twinkly lights in your backyard and light candles for an outdoor party that will go late into the evening.

For many, the equinox symbolizes balance — day and night are of equal length on the 22nd — and is a time to reflect on the “inner harvest.” Look back on the summer and express gratitude for what you have. Contemplate inner growth. Commit to pursuing healthy habits and intentional self care in the colder months.

Consider initiating a Thanksgiving circle with your dinner-party guests. Or have guests scribble down their reflections on the year on scraps of paper, then burn them in a backyard campfire.

Other ways to demonstrate your thanks: tie ribbons on trees, or pour wine on the ground.

Stay up late.
On September 22nd, the day is as long as night. Why not enjoy them both? (If an all-nighter is too much, consider keeping the party going until midnight.