Wednesday 22 September is officially the first day of autumn here in the UK. 'But why?' I hear you say. Well, read on for five interesting facts about autumn that you may or may not have known.
1. Where does the name 'Autumn' come from?
The word autumn entered English from the French 'automne' and didn't become common usage until the 18th century. Before that the word 'fall' was used widely in England. Originally this was a shortening of the phrase 'fall of the leaf' and was a common phrase in England in the 17th century. This wasn't the first description for autumn though. Long before 'fall' and 'autumn' the third season of the year was known as 'harvest'. The term "harvest" comes from the Old Norse word "haust," which means "to gather or pluck" which was quite appropriate at the time considering the farm work during this time of year.
2. When does autumn start?
The first day of autumn is calculated by the Earth's axis and orbit around the Sun. This year autumn begins on 22 September 2021 and ends on 21 December 2021. The astronomical calendar determines the seasons due to the tilt of the Earth's axis in relation to its orbit around the Sun. However, according to the Met Office, in order to record climate data, it is important to have set dates that can be compared, so meteorological autumn always begins on 1 September.
3. What happens to hedgehogs in autumn?
4. Why do robins sing in the autumn?
Robins sing all year round and male robins in particular, use it as a way to defend their territory. The 'autumn song' starts after the moult, from late summer onwards. It is more subdued and melancholy in its tone, while the spring song is powerful, confident and upbeat as they also use the song to attract a mate.
5. Why is autumn the best?
It's a great time to get cosy, start drinking hot chocolate, and have an excuse to stay indoors with a good book and not feel guilty about missing the sunshine. The season is associated with a sense of comfort, warmth and reflection. It's a perfect time for lighting candles, getting out the cushions and throws and bringing in a new style into your home. Take a look at these Autumn must-haves for some inspiration this year.