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Autumn Leaves Day (Fall Equinox)

"Come, little leaves," said the wind one day.
"Come o'er the meadows with me, and play'
Put on your dress of red and gold,—
Summer is gone, and the days grow cold."

~ The Wind and the Leaves, George Cooper (1840-1927)

In many parts of the world, the leaves have already begun to change to their fall colors. In Japan, the custom of viewing the changing colour of maples in the autumn is called "momijigari". In the autumn season, various shades of red, yellow, purple, black, blue, orange, magenta, and brown are visible, sometimes on a single leaf. Deciduous plants were traditionally believed to shed their leaves in autumn primarily because the high costs involved in their maintenance over the benefits from photosynthesis, but today other other theories for colour change include special signallling mechanisms to discourage insects. Regardless, for the northern hemisphere, the equinox marks the advent of warm rich colours to visually balance the cooler temperatures of fall. 🍁🍃 🍂

This tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, exhibits the rich colours of maple leaves in the fall.

Many maples have bright autumn foliage, and many countries have leaf-watching traditions. In Japan, the custom of viewing the changing colour of maples in the autumn is called "momijigari". 

The Acer saccharum Sugar Maple trees are a major contributor to seasonal fall tourism in North America, particularly in Central OntarioQuébec, and the northern tier of the United States including Wisconsin, Michigan, VermontNew YorkNew Hampshire and Western Massachusetts.

Maples are important as source of syrup and wood. Dried wood is often used for the smoking of food and the charcoal from maples is an integral part of the process used to make Tennessee Whiskey.


Sugar maple wood ("hard maple") is the wood of choice for bowling pins, bowling alley lanes, pool cue shafts, and butcher's blocks, and the manufacture of wooden baseball bats.

Maple is also considered a tonewood, or a wood that carries sound waves well, and is used in numerous musical instruments, including violins, violas, bassoons, electric guitars, cellos, drums, recorders, and double basses.

For more on the custom of "leap peeping," click the beautiful Japanese maple tree.