It’s Fall—Time for Some Fun Facts

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NEW YORK—For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, fall has officially… fallen. Autumn is usually a pretty exciting season—it means bringing the cozy sweaters out of the back of the closet, breaking out the scented candles, gorgeous foliage, and gearing up for the holiday season.

Of course, things are looking a little different this year, and the holiday season we’re all so used to celebrating is shrouded in uncertainty. But that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate and welcome the start of fall, or enjoy long walks outside in the crisp autumn air.

To celebrate safely, we’ve searched high and low for some of the strangest fun facts about the autumnal season, from why we call it fall in the first place to how the Ancient Greeks understood the change of seasons.

1. Daylight saving might actually be good for us. According to Reader’s Digest, a report from the New England Journal of Medicine found that Americans’ rates of heart attacks often falls on the Monday following the end of daylight savings time in November—and the opposite happens in the spring.

2. Pumpkins, the ultimate symbol of fall, grow in six out of the seven continents, with Antarctica as the only exception, Reader’s Digest reports.

3. We really do call it fall because the leaves fall. Redbook reports that the season used to be called the harvest, but as Americans began to move to cities in the 1600s, that usage dwindled. Instead, people began referring to the season as “fall of the leaf,” which then developed into the fall we know and use today.

Children born in the fall seem more likely to live longer. According to Redbook, people born in the fall are more likely to live to 100—this is due to how environment influences infant development.

5. In the same vein, Reader’s Digest reports, testosterone levels spike in men and women in the fall—as a result, more babies.

6. According to Greek Mythology, fall began because Hades abducted Persephone, planning to make her Queen of the Underworld. Demeter, the Goddess of the Harvest and Persephone’s mother, was so distraught by losing her daughter that she caused all crops on Earth to die—until her daughter’s return in the spring.

7. The UK’s Met Office explains that fall foliage happens because the presence of chlorophyll in tree leaves begins to decline. In return, other chemicals in the leaves, such as flavonoids, carotenoids and anthocyanins, become more prominent. These are also some of the chemicals that give carrots and egg yolks their colors.

8. The fall equinox usually falls on either September 22 or 23. Very rarely, though, it falls on the 24th. The last time this happened was in 1931, and the next time won’t be until 2303, The Met Office explains.

According to the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve, the Arctic Tern bird travels 11,000 miles each way for its annual migration in the fall and winter.

10. Fall is also the best time to see the Northern Lights, due to the longer nights and cooler weather. Redbook and NASA also report that geomagnetic storms are about twice as frequent in the fall.