It’s the last day of August, so I want to take a moment to address one of the few things that’s always bothered me about Denmark.
Here’s the Encyclopedia Britannica’s definition of autumn:
Autumn, season of the year between summer and winter during which temperatures gradually decrease. It is often called fall in the United States because leaves fall from the trees at that time. Autumn is usually defined in the Northern Hemisphere as the period between the autumnal equinox (day and night equal in length), September 22 or 23, and the winter solstice (year’s shortest day), December 21 or 22; and in the Southern Hemisphere as the period between March 20 or 21 and June 21 or 22.
That’s the definition of autumn I was raised with in America. It was something we all agreed on, everywhere. The seasons are defined by equinoxes and solstices in all fifty states: from the tropics of Florida to the Alaskan tundra.
Here’s the Danish Wikipedia’s definition:
Efterår er en af de fire årstider. På den nordlige halvkugle ligger efteråret fra september til november. Der er ingen officiel meteorologisk definition; men for Danmark er foreslået perioden, hvor minimumstemperaturen ligger mellem 0 og 10 °C og gennemsnitstemperaturen falder (ca. 20. september til ca. 30. november).
The Danish Wikipedia article on Årstid gets into the difference between “traditional” and “astronomical” seasons and observes:
Forskellige kalendersystemer og kulturelle traditioner har forskellige definitioner på årstiderne. De såkaldte astronomiske årstider følger neutrale astronomiske fikspunkter. Ifølge dette system begynder foråret (eller efteråret) ved jævndøgn og ender ved solhverv. Derfor begynder sommeren (eller vinteren) omvendt ved solhverv og ender ved jævndøgn.
…but the article it leaves no doubt that the traditional method is favored.
Winter runs from December through February, spring is March through May; June, July, and August belong to summer; and fall runs from September through November…. and to hell with those highfalutin’ equinoxes and solstices.
It’s not the indifference to astronomical science that bothers me, it’s the fact that Danish weather actually follows those idiotic traditional definitions.