An essential part of being an awesome uncle is having a repertoire of tricks and jokes that will amaze your nieces and nephews, and crack them up. So from time to time we’ll be offering you current and future uncles out there a tutorial on some gags that’ll have them thinking you’re the coolest dude in the world. Check out all our Cool Uncle Tricks.
Cool uncles don’t just show off awesome tricks to the younger ones in their family; they also use those opportunities to impart real knowledge. Luckily, balancing an egg on its end offers you the chance to achieve both goals thanks to some misguided astronomical beliefs.
Every year, the earth spins around the sun on its tilted axis. That tilt is what gives us our seasons. Above the equator, we get winter when our hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, and summer when it’s tilted toward the sun. But, twice a year, we reach a stage of equilibrium known as an equinox, where the sun is directly over the equator and daytime/nighttime hours are roughly equal all over the planet.
The vernal or spring equinox is one way to identify the beginning of spring, which in the northern hemisphere occurs on March 20th or 21st. The autumnal or fall equinox occurs on September 22nd or 23rd (this year it’s the latter).
So, what does all of this have to do with eggs?
Legend has it that balancing an egg on its end was so difficult that you effectively needed planetary alignment to make it happen. Thus, the myth was born that balancing an egg was only possible on the equinox.
Fortunately, it’s completely bogus. The equinox plays no part in your ability to pull off this feat of agility. All you really need is a few eggs, a smooth and level surface, and plenty of patience. So teach your nieces and nephews the “science” of egg balancing any day of the year. Or, do it this week on the equinox and spin a whole story about how this trick is only possible on that day; because, actually, perpetuating myths and legends is something cool uncles do too.