Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

September 19, 2013

Gather around the campfire for Autumnal Equinox Celebration

The Andover Townsman

---- — The start of school may have signaled the end of summer for many. But this weekend it becomes fact with fall’s official arrival.

The Shawsheen River Watershed Association will mark the occasion with its third annual Autumnal Equinox Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Pomps Pond Recreation Area on Abbot Road in Andover.

The event will include a short program on astronomy and the history and culture of the equinox. There will be boating on Pomps Pond. Boats and gear will be available on a first-come, first-served basis; people can also bring their own boats.

Joe’s Garage will supply the music and a campfire will be roaring for ambiance and for cooking s’mores and toasting marshmallows. People should supply their own food.

The playground will be open for enjoyment. However, the beach is closed and there will be no public swimming.

The association will be repeating the “hazelnut relationship predictor” tradition that began last year.

According to Bob Rauseo of the Shawsheen River Watershed Association, the tradition plays on the annual harvest of hazelnuts, which ripen and are usually picked at the equinox.

The story goes that a young couple would take two hazelnuts and place them close together in the hot coals of a fire.

If the hazelnuts burned down evenly and slowly, it was a sign of a long, happy relationship.

If the hazelnuts sputtered, cracked open and split apart, the couple’s future seemed less bright.

Rauseo says that most of the couples who tried the tradition last year had been together for 20 to 55 years, so the outcome was somewhat moot.

Saturday’s Autumnal Equinox Celebration is open free to the public.