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When is the first day of spring? What you need to know about moving past winter in 2023.

Spring is finally here!

We know what you're thinking — for a minute there it felt like winter would never end. After the holiday season ends, the reality of winter sinks in and the snow and slush lose their magic. With snowstorms keeping us inside and the need to bundle up just to go get the mail, it’s reasonable to look forward to the season changing.

Here are the important dates to keep in mind for the upcoming seasons, and a science lesson on why we celebrate the change when we do.

When is the first day of spring 2023?

The first day of spring, also known as the spring equinox, will be on March 20, 2023, in the Northern Hemisphere.

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What is the vernal equinox?

There are two equinoxes every year on Earth, as well as two solstices that dictate the seasons. The vernal equinox is when we see a change from winter to spring, and the autumnal equinox is when summer changes to fall in the Northern Hemisphere. The equinoxes have opposite dates in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres — the March vernal equinox in the Northern is the autumnal equinox in the Southern, and vice versa.

According to National Geographic, equinoxes are when Earth’s subsolar point (where the sun’s rays shine perpendicular to the Earth’s surface) passes through its Equator. During an equinox, the center of the Sun’s disk is in the same plane as the Equator. After the vernal equinox in March, the Northern Hemisphere tilts toward the sun, until the June solstice when it begins to migrate south.

What are the spring months 2023?

Spring lasts from the end of March until the summer solstice mid-June.

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Will spring come early in 2023?

Famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil forecasted a longer winter when he saw his shadow this Groundhog Day, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says there’s “no predictive skill” for Phil. In fact, the groundhog has only gotten it right about 40% of the time, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information reports.

Groundhog Day is an American tradition dating to 1887 and has origins in the European celebration of Candlemas, the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox.

According to NOAA's seasonal temperature outlook, the northwestern states will see temperatures leaning below historic norms in February, March and April. Above normal temperatures will likely occur among the southern states and may occur in the northeast.

Important dates to know in 2023:

  • First day of spring: March 20, 2023

  • First day of summer: June 21, 2023

  • First day of fall: Sept. 23, 2023

  • First day of winter: Dec. 21, 2023

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: It's finally spring: Here's when the spring equinox starts and why