Autumn

Autumn

Overview
Autumn is one of the four temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 season
Season
A season is a division of the year, marked by changes in weather, ecology, and hours of daylight.Seasons result from the yearly revolution of the Earth around the Sun and the tilt of the Earth's axis relative to the plane of revolution...

s. Autumn marks the transition from summer
Summer
Summer is the warmest of the four temperate seasons, between spring and autumn. At the summer solstice, the days are longest and the nights are shortest, with day-length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice...

 into winter
Winter
Winter is the coldest season of the year in temperate climates, between autumn and spring. At the winter solstice, the days are shortest and the nights are longest, with days lengthening as the season progresses after the solstice.-Meteorology:...

  usually in September
September
September is the 9th month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with a length of 30 days.September in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of March in the Northern Hemisphere....

 (Northern Hemisphere
Northern Hemisphere
The Northern Hemisphere is the half of a planet that is north of its equator—the word hemisphere literally means “half sphere”. It is also that half of the celestial sphere north of the celestial equator...

) or March
March
March is in present time held to be the third month of the year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is one of the seven months which are 31 days long....

 (Southern Hemisphere
Southern Hemisphere
The Southern Hemisphere is the part of Earth that lies south of the equator. The word hemisphere literally means 'half ball' or "half sphere"...

) when the arrival of night
Night
Night or nighttime is the period of time when the sun is below the horizon. This occurs after dusk. The opposite of night is day...

 becomes noticeably earlier.

The equinox
Equinox
An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator...

es 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.
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Encyclopedia
Autumn is one of the four temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 season
Season
A season is a division of the year, marked by changes in weather, ecology, and hours of daylight.Seasons result from the yearly revolution of the Earth around the Sun and the tilt of the Earth's axis relative to the plane of revolution...

s. Autumn marks the transition from summer
Summer
Summer is the warmest of the four temperate seasons, between spring and autumn. At the summer solstice, the days are longest and the nights are shortest, with day-length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice...

 into winter
Winter
Winter is the coldest season of the year in temperate climates, between autumn and spring. At the winter solstice, the days are shortest and the nights are longest, with days lengthening as the season progresses after the solstice.-Meteorology:...

  usually in September
September
September is the 9th month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with a length of 30 days.September in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of March in the Northern Hemisphere....

 (Northern Hemisphere
Northern Hemisphere
The Northern Hemisphere is the half of a planet that is north of its equator—the word hemisphere literally means “half sphere”. It is also that half of the celestial sphere north of the celestial equator...

) or March
March
March is in present time held to be the third month of the year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is one of the seven months which are 31 days long....

 (Southern Hemisphere
Southern Hemisphere
The Southern Hemisphere is the part of Earth that lies south of the equator. The word hemisphere literally means 'half ball' or "half sphere"...

) when the arrival of night
Night
Night or nighttime is the period of time when the sun is below the horizon. This occurs after dusk. The opposite of night is day...

 becomes noticeably earlier.

The equinox
Equinox
An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator...

es 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. The actual lag varies with region. 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 September, October and November in the northern hemisphere, and March, April and May in the southern hemisphere.

In North America, autumn is usually considered to start with the September equinox. In traditional East Asian solar term
Solar term
A solar term is any of 24 points in traditional East Asian lunisolar calendars that matches a particular astronomical event or signifies some natural phenomenon. The points are spaced 15° apart along the ecliptic and are used by lunisolar calendars to stay synchronized with the seasons. Solar terms...

, autumn starts on or around 8 August and ends on about 7 November. In Ireland, the autumn months according to the national meteorological service, Met Éireann
Met Éireann
Met Éireann is the national meteorological service in Ireland, part of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.-History:...

, are September
September
September is the 9th month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with a length of 30 days.September in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of March in the Northern Hemisphere....

, October
October
October is the tenth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of seven months with a length of 31 days. The eighth month in the old Roman calendar, October retained its name after January and February were inserted into the calendar that had originally been created by the...

 and November
November
November is the 11th month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with the length of 30 days. November was the ninth month of the ancient Roman calendar...

. However, according to the Irish Calendar
Irish calendar
The Irish calendar is a pre-Christian Celtic system of timekeeping used during Ireland's Gaelic era and still in popular use today to define the beginning and length of the day, the week, the month, the seasons, quarter days, and festivals...

 which is based on ancient Gaelic
Gaelic
Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels", including language and culture. As a noun, it may refer to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually.-Gaelic languages:...

 traditions, autumn lasts throughout the months of August
August
August is the eighth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of seven months with a length of 31 days.This month was originally named Sextilis in Latin, because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC, when March was the first...

, September
September
September is the 9th month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of four months with a length of 30 days.September in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of March in the Northern Hemisphere....

, and October
October
October is the tenth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of seven months with a length of 31 days. The eighth month in the old Roman calendar, October retained its name after January and February were inserted into the calendar that had originally been created by the...

, or possibly a few days later, depending on tradition. In Australia, autumn officially begins on March 1st and ends May 31st According to United States unofficial tradition, autumn runs from the day after Labor Day
Labor Day
Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.-History:...

 (i.e. the Tuesday following the first Monday of September) through Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving (United States)
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday,...

 (i.e. the fourth Thursday in November), after which the holiday season that demarcates the unofficial beginning of winter begins.

Etymology


The word autumn comes from the Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 word autompne (automne in modern French), and was later normalised to the original Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word autumnus. There are rare examples of its use as early as the 12th century, but it became common by the 16th century.

Before the 16th century, harvest
Harvest
Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...

was the term usually used to refer to the season, as it is common in other West Germanic languages to this day (cf. Dutch herfst and German Herbst). 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
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

. The exact derivation is unclear, the Old English
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 fiæll or feallan and the Old Norse fall all being possible candidates. However, these words all have the meaning "to fall from a height" and are clearly derived either from a common root or from each other. The term came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of Middle English
Middle English
Middle English is the stage in the history of the English language during the High and Late Middle Ages, or roughly during the four centuries between the late 11th and the late 15th century....

 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. While the term fall gradually became obsolete in Britain, it became the more common term in North America.

Harvest association


Association with the transition from warm to cold weather, and its related status as the season of the primary harvest
Harvest
Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...

, 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. Many cultures feature autumnal harvest festival
Harvest festival
A Harvest Festival is an annual celebration which occurs around the time of the main harvest of a given region. Given the differences in climate and crops around the world, harvest festivals can be found at various times throughout the world...

s, often the most important on their calendars. Still extant echoes of these celebrations are found in the mid-autumn Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the...

 holiday of the United States and Canada, and the Jewish Sukkot
Sukkot
Sukkot is a Biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei . It is one of the three biblically mandated festivals Shalosh regalim on which Hebrews were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.The holiday lasts seven days...

 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. The predominant mood of these autumnal celebrations is a gladness for the fruits of the earth mixed with a certain melancholy linked to the imminent arrival of harsh weather.

This view is presented in English poet John Keats
John Keats
John Keats was an English Romantic poet. Along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, he was one of the key figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement, despite the fact that his work had been in publication for only four years before his death.Although his poems were not...

' poem To Autumn
To Autumn
"To Autumn" is a poem by English Romantic poet John Keats . The work was composed on 19 September 1819 and published in 1820 in a volume of Keats's poetry that included Lamia and The Eve of Saint Agnes. "To Autumn" is the final work in a group of poems known as Keats's "1819 odes"...

, where he describes the season as a time of bounteous fecundity, a time of 'mellow fruitfulness'.

While most foods are harvested during the autumn, foods particularly associated with the season include pumpkin
Pumpkin
A pumpkin is a gourd-like squash of the genus Cucurbita and the family Cucurbitaceae . It commonly refers to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita mixta, Cucurbita maxima, and Cucurbita moschata, and is native to North America...

s (which are integral parts of both Thanksgiving and Halloween
Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

) and apple
Apple
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family . It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apple grow on small, deciduous trees that blossom in the spring...

s, which are used to make the seasonal beverage apple cider
Apple cider
Apple cider is the name used in the United States and parts of Canada for an unfiltered, unsweetened, non-alcoholic beverage made from apples...

.

Melancholy association



Autumn in poetry has often been associated with melancholy. The possibilities of summer are gone, and the chill of winter is on the horizon. Skies turn grey, and many people turn inward, both physically and mentally.

Similar examples may be found in Irish poet William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms...

' poem The Wild Swans at Coole
The Wild Swans at Coole
The Wild Swans at Coole is a collection of poems by William Butler Yeats, first published in 1917. It is also the name of a poem in that collection...

where the maturing season that the poet observes symbolically represents his own ageing self. Like the natural world that he observes he too has reached his prime and now must look forward to the inevitability of old age and death. French poet Paul Verlaine
Paul Verlaine
Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French poetry.-Early life:...

's "Chanson d'automne
Chanson d'automne
"Chanson d'automne" is a poem by Paul Verlaine, one of the best known in the French language. It is included in Verlaine's first collection, Poèmes saturniens, published in 1866...

" ("Autumn Song") is likewise characterised by strong, painful feelings of sorrow. Keats
John Keats
John Keats was an English Romantic poet. Along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, he was one of the key figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement, despite the fact that his work had been in publication for only four years before his death.Although his poems were not...

' To Autumn
To Autumn
"To Autumn" is a poem by English Romantic poet John Keats . The work was composed on 19 September 1819 and published in 1820 in a volume of Keats's poetry that included Lamia and The Eve of Saint Agnes. "To Autumn" is the final work in a group of poems known as Keats's "1819 odes"...

, written in September 1819, echoes this sense of melancholic reflection, but also emphasises the lush abundance of the season.

Other associations



In the Anglosphere
Anglosphere
Anglosphere is a neologism which refers to those nations with English as the most common language. The term can be used more specifically to refer to those nations which share certain characteristics within their cultures based on a linguistic heritage, through being former British colonies...

, most notably in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, autumn is also associated with the Halloween
Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

 season (which in turn was influenced by Samhain
Samhain
Samhain is a Gaelic harvest festival held on October 31–November 1. It was linked to festivals held around the same time in other Celtic cultures, and was popularised as the "Celtic New Year" from the late 19th century, following Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer...

, a Celtic autumn festival), and with it a widespread marketing campaign that promotes it, in the U.S.A. The television, film, book, costume, home decoration, and confectionery industries use this time of year to promote products closely associated with such a holiday, with promotions going from early September to 31 October, since their themes rapidly lose strength once the holiday ends, and advertising starts concentrating on Christmas.

Autumn has a strong association with American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

, as the regular season begins during September and ends with playoff competition in December or January, in the winter season. Canadian football
Canadian football
Canadian football is a form of gridiron football played exclusively in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play long and wide attempting to advance a pointed prolate spheroid ball into the opposing team's scoring area...

, on the other hand, begins in the summer, but extends its season through the autumn season and into November. A normal activity for high schools in the US is attending Friday night football games in Autumn, while Sunday afternoons are reserved for the professional game, particularly the National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

, and Saturdays are traditionally used for college football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

. The sport is generally geared around fall weather and playing in cold elements.

Television stations and networks, particularly in North America, traditionally begin their regular seasons in autumn, with new series and new episodes of existing series debuting mostly during late September (series that debut outside the fall season are usually known as midseason replacement
Midseason replacement
In American and Canadian television, a midseason replacement is a television series that premieres in the second half of the traditional television season, usually between January and May...

s). A sweeps period takes place in November to measure Nielsen Ratings
Nielsen Ratings
Nielsen ratings are the audience measurement systems developed by Nielsen Media Research, in an effort to determine the audience size and composition of television programming in the United States...

.

Most schools open in early fall (depending on the region, late August or early September) after summer vacation.

Since 1997, Autumn has been one of the top 100 names for girls in the United States.

In Indian mythology, autumn is considered to be the preferred season for the goddess of learning Saraswati
Saraswati
In Hinduism Saraswati , is the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology. She is the consort of Brahma, also revered as His Shakti....

, who is also known by the name of "goddess of autumn" (Sharada).

Tourism


Although colour change in leaves occurs wherever deciduous
Deciduous
Deciduous means "falling off at maturity" or "tending to fall off", and is typically used in reference to trees or shrubs that lose their leaves seasonally, and to the shedding of other plant structures such as petals after flowering or fruit when ripe...

 trees are found, coloured autumn foliage is most famously noted in three regions of the world: most of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Eastern Asia (including China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Korea
Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

, and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

), and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.

Eastern Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 (a region in North America) are famous for their autumnal foliage, and this attracts major tourism (worth billions of U.S. dollars) for the regions.

Gallery



File:Cherry-trees-in-autumn.jpg|Cherry
Cherry
The cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy stone fruit. The cherry fruits of commerce are usually obtained from a limited number of species, including especially cultivars of the wild cherry, Prunus avium....

 trees in autumn
File:Old-oak.jpg|Oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

 tree in autumn
File:Mallard Lake in Golden Gate Park.jpg|A brightly coloured tree contrasts with the green foliage which surrounds it
File:Autumn-hill.jpg|A forested hill over Struma (river) valey in Vitosha
Vitosha
Vitosha is a mountain massif, on the outskirts of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Vitosha is one of the tourists symbols of Sofia and the closest site for hiking, alpinism and skiing. Convenient bus lines and rope ways render the mountain easily accessible. Vitosha has the outlines of an enormous...


File:Fagus sylvatica Purpurea JPG4a.jpg|Copper beech
Copper beech
Copper beech may refer to:*An ornamental cultivar of the European Beech, Fagus sylvatica*The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, a Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle, part of the collection "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes"...

 in autumn
File:Fall season tree.jpg | Autumn season tree from Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...



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