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September 22 is the first day of fall—and the point at which things start generally trending colder and definitely trending darker. Sure, you could mark the occasion by donning your coziest sweater, burrowing into the couch, and indulging in all the pumpkin-spiced things—but to help you make the transition and earn some karma points in the process, we’ve rounded up four fun and philanthropic ways to mark the 2022 autumnal equinox in Denver.
Also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, this Chinese holiday (versions of which are widely celebrated across East and Southeast Asia) technically fell on September 10 this year. However, the harvest-centric festivities will continue this Sunday, September 25, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the family-friendly Full Moon Festival at Improper City in RiNo. In a show of support for Denver’s AAPI community, the giant indoor/outdoor venue will host more than a dozen local Asian businesses, from pop-up global snack purveyor Conbini to Colorado Sake Co. to Bánh & Butter Bakery Café, while funk band Lavender Jones provides the soundtrack.
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A flickering flame is classic cool-weather decor—and if the candle it comes from emits an oh-so-autumn aroma? That’s just a bonus. Denver-based KarmaLit’s Fall Lovers combo contains six such ambience-boosters: Fall Festival, October, Favorite Hoodie, Hazelnut Drip, Apple Picking, and Flannel Shirt. The sale of each eight-ounce soy candle also helps support owner Sejal Parag’s Smell Good, Do Good initiative, which funds classroom needs (such as books and science experiment supplies) for teachers across the country.
As darkness descends earlier and earlier, it’s a great time to revisit how you’re illuminating your home’s exterior spaces. Light pollution is increasingly being recognized not just for obscuring the stars, but also for confusing and disrupting migrating birds and other nocturnal animals. Lights Out Colorado, launched in April 2021, is an initiative that asks Coloradans to shield outdoor light sources and turn them off before midnight (particularly during peak migration in April, May, August, and September). Timers, motion detectors, and reflective paint are all easy fixes to reduce your impact, as is replacing bright, blue-white light bulbs with warmer, yellower colors rated 3,000 Kelvins or less, which are thought to be less disruptive to human and animal health.
Habitual Roots, a nonprofit based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Denver, is hosting a fall equinox celebration on October 8 with a yoga class, ceremonial cacao circle, and ecstatic dance session; the group’s paid community events support its mission to provide underserved youth and seniors with the skills they need to integrate their emotional and mental health. Until then, co-founder Kevin J. Wong suggests that families implement a practice the group teaches to students it works with: After everyone’s home from school and work, sit down with your kids and decompress with a box breathing exercise: inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts, and hold the exhale for four counts. Then get curious and encourage conversation with questions like: How did you play today? What made you laugh today? What do you need to forgive yourself for today?