Sometimes TikTok provides entertainment and other times it teaches you something new that completely changes your concept of the world.
Today, my friends, we'll be talking about seasons — specifically their start and end dates, because as it turns out they're very different depending on which country you live in.
This was brought to my attention by Aussie TikToker @lachlancrane, who was reacting to @keelybooks pointing out that Australia is one of the few countries that start seasons at the beginning of a month.
Now hold on a second — I am Australian and at my 26 years of age I was not aware that the rest of the world DOESN'T do this.
Like Lachlan, I was bewildered at the concept of seasons starting in the middle of the month. It sounds fake and so much more confusing than how Australians do it.
So, what's the deal? Well, as it turns out, the start times for seasons differ based on whether you're following the astronomical calendar or the meteorological calendar.
The meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle, with the assumption that winter is the coldest time of the year, summer is the hottest and autumn and spring are transitional periods. Each season is broken down into three months and starts on the first day of each month.
With that in mind, here is how we view the seasons in Australia. Meteorological summer is December, January and February; meteorological autumn is March, April and May; meteorological winter is June, July and August; and meteorological spring is September, October and November.
On the other hand, astronomical seasons are based on the position of the Earth in relation to its orbit around the sun. Summer and winter start on solstice days (the longest and shortest days of the year), while spring and autumn fall on equinox days (when the sun appears directly above the equator, resulting in day and night being an equal period of time).
This system is commonly used in the northern hemisphere and explains why the seasons begin at different points in the month.
In its own way, it makes sense — but then, why do we not have the same way of observing the seasons across the world?
If I had to pick one, I'd go with the meteorological calendar — things beginning at the start of the month just makes a teeny-tiny bit more sense in my mind.
Anyway, here's to learning more every day about the world on TikTok. Let me know how seasons are recognised in your country and if you knew this fact (or if I'm the last one to find out).