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Dueling Google Doodles take flight to welcome first day of spring and fall

Google welcomes the change of seasons with a bunny in the Northern Hemisphere and a gray squirrel in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Google Doodle soars with spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

Google

The spring equinox arrives in the Northern Hemisphere on Thursday, officially heralding the end of winter, one of two days of the year when the length of day and night is nearly equal. The word "equinox" comes from the Latin for "equal" and "night," and across the world Thursday, nighttime and daytime are both 12 hours.

For almost as long as Google has been around, it's livened up its barebones search page with artwork that draws attention to notable people, events, holidays and anniversaries. Google Doodles have celebrated, among many other things, Pac-Man's anniversary, Copernicus' birthday, Mother's Day and the World Cup.

To mark the promise of warmer weather and progressively longer days, the Google Doodle on Thursday features a floppy-eared bunny floating through the sky in a hot air balloon, brightly decorated with nature's symbols of spring: colorful tulips, green leaves and -- yes -- even some rain.

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In the Southern Hemisphere, a soaring squirrel helps usher in fall.

Google

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, Google is helping the Southern Hemisphere welcome the autumnal equinox and the shorter, cooler days it portends. For the Google Doodle south of the equator, a grey squirrel is piloting a hot air balloon featuring an argyle pattern emblazoned with familiar fall colors, while autumn leaves swirl around the balloon.

Whatever your season, enjoy the spectacle nature has in store.