You may have noticed that Aries is always first in a list of horoscopes, even though Capricorn season starts the calendar year. This confuses a lot of people and makes astrology feel nonsensical… but there’s an obvious reason why Aries comes first. So what are the dates for the 12 signs, and why do we list them in the same order every time? Express.co.uk breaks down the star signs in order and explains why Aries is always first.
What are the star sign dates?
There are 12 zodiac signs and the dates the Sun is in each sign changes slightly each year.
Astrologer Francesca Oddie explained exactly why this is, and it’s to do with the Spring Equinox.
She said: “The sky is a circle of 360 degrees but there are 365 days in a year so we have a leap year to allow for that.”
We have leap years because the Earth’s orbit around the sun takes 365.25 days, so the extra 0.25 of a day means we need to add an extra day to the calendar every four years.
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Why is Aries always first?
You might have heard of the phrase ‘The First Point of Aries’, but do you really know why Aries is first in the zodiac?
The Babylonians for ancient Mesopotamia who lived about 4,000 years ago celebrated New Year’s Day in mid-March in an 11-day festival called Akitu.
The Romans also celebrated New Year’s Day on the first day of spring, since this is when the natural world is reborn after winter.
It wasn’t until 45 BC that New Year’s Day was celebrated on January 1, and this was because Roman dictator Julius Caesar decided to reform the Roman calendar.
The Roman calendar was meant to be closely linked to the lunar cycle, but it fell out of line and the Julian calendar attempted to fix this.
However, the celebration of New Year’s Day fell flat during the Middle Ages and people didn’t really observe the Julian calendar.
In the late 1570s, Pope Gregory XIII brought in a Jesuit astronomer to come up with a new calendar and this one included leap years.
Since then, people have celebrated New Year’s Day on January 1.
Despite this, astrologers consider Aries season as the start of a new zodiac year.
Francesca said: “When the star signs are calculated we do the first day of Aries on Spring Equinox which is March 20 or March 21.
“It’s normally March 21, but if we’ve had a leap year then it’s March 20.”
Your star sign is not tied to the yearly calendar we all know, it depends on where the Sun was at the time of your birth.
Francesca explained: “It’s just a mathematical calculation from each equinox and solstice.
“They divide that quarter into three and you get the precise moment that the Sun shifts from one constellation to another.
“That is the way the star signs are calculated.
“Because 2020 was a leap year, everything is just that little bit behind in 2020/2021.
“By 2023, everything will be at the very edge with Scorpio season starting on October 23 instead of October 22.”