Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 2010: Winter Flowers & The Coming of the Light

Winter flowers blooming near Fort Point, San Francisco. Less than six weeks until Lunar New Year/ Spring Festival, 14 February!

Daylight report: Currently, dawn occurs at 6:24 in Northern California, as it has every morning since the last full moon on 31 December. This is our latest dawn of the winter season. On January 15th, the date of the next new moon, dawn will break at 6:23; from that morning onward we will gain early morning light at the rate of about two minutes each week.

Spring Setsubun, the Japanese observance of the last day of winter, falls on February 3rd this year. It marks the end of "dai kan", the big cold. (See earlier post on Spring Setsubun for details about this festival). The increase in morning light accelerates with dawn breaking one minute earlier every day.

Lunar New Year/ Spring Festival fall on February 14th on the day of the new moon; dawn will break that morning at 6:03. The darkest days of winter will be behind us; Spring and the Year of the Tiger will begin.