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Cosmic Pizza
Equinoxes & Solstices

Edible Earth Calendar

The HELIO COMPASS is round galactic calendar. Pizza is also round. Deciphering the truth of the universe and expressing it via a pizza is our challenge for each exciting episode of Cosmic Pizza.


Equinoxes are the paramount balance point

HELIO COMPASS inventor Kaichi Sugiyama offers a commentary on the real-time motion of the stars, and this inspires Swedish pizza parlor Omnipollos hatt to design a pizza. Each edition of Cosmic Pizza presents a new pizza created through a collaboration between HELIO COMPASS and Omnipollos hatt.

2022 Equinoxes & Solstices

March 21 Spring equinox
June 21 Summer solstice
September 23 Autumn equinox
December 22 Winter solstice

Make a start in perfect balance

What day do you consider the beginning of the New Year? For many of us, the immediate answer might be January 1. But actually, the most suitable day for making a fresh start is the spring equinox.

“We Japanese today observe the New Year according to the Gregorian calendar. But in our bodies, we still feel the transition around school entrances and graduations at the start of the new Japanese fiscal year, and that loosely coincides with the spring equinox. Cherry blossoms are a tacit harbinger of endings and beginnings, aren’t they?”

Sure enough, plants bud and begin to bloom in the spring, and bear fruit and begin to wilt in the autumn. Life cycles in the ecosystem do start at the spring equinox.

In fact, the spring equinox marked a fresh start for many civilizations that practiced Sun worship—Maya, Inca, Ancient Egypt, Sumer, Babylonia, Ainu, and so on. The principles of astronomy also suggest that the spring equinox is a logical starting point. On this day, the Sun rises due east and shines down from directly above the equator, all over Earth. The ecliptic longitude is 0 degrees, bringing the solar calendar to the start line. North and south are equally illuminated, restoring balance between the northern and southern hemispheres. Day and night are of equal duration, recovering equilibrium between sun and shade. It’s the optimal switching point between the seasons, and this is why Kaichi Sugiyama always admires the rising sun and celebrates the arrival of the New Year at the spring equinox.

“The HELIO COMPASS recognizes the spring equinox as the New Year, too. It has universal grounds for being the starting day.”

Equilibrium at the equinoxes

The opposite of the spring equinox is the autumn equinox, and it too marks a clear divide between sun and shade, where day and night are of equal duration. Although one leads to the summer and the other to the winter, set aside this difference, and both equinoxes represent the middle day on which north and south, east and west, day and night, and light and dark are all in balance.

In Japan, we celebrate the higan holidays during the week covering three days before and after both the spring and autumn equinoxes. It offers a good chance to balance our body and soul.

“If an instrument is strung too tightly or too loosely, it won’t make pleasant music. The strings need to be adjusted to just the right tension.”

We should be aware of the timing when Earth strikes a balance and try to strike a balance ourselves. After all, we are creatures living on Earth. It stands to reason that we should be in harmony with our planet.

The cycle of the seasons

Earth rotates on its axis once a day and completes an orbit around the Sun in a year. The axis is tilted at an angle of 23.4 degrees to the plane of the orbit, and as we know, this is what creates the four seasons. The Sun is higher and the daylight hours longer in the summer; and the Sun is lower and the daylight hours shorter in the winter. The changing duration of the daylight hours defines the transition between the seasons.

Let’s picture the year as a circle. Cut it crosswise in half, like a pizza. The right-hand edge of the cut is the spring equinox, and the left-hand edge the autumn equinox. At these two points, or times of the year, daytime and nighttime are of equal duration. The highest point of the top half is the summer solstice, and the lowest point of the bottom half the winter solstice. The 24 solar terms in China also recognize the two solstices (summer and winter) and the two equinoxes (spring and autumn) as the most important terms.

The top half of the circle corresponds to spring and summer, and the bottom half to autumn and winter. In further detail, the first half of the year represents positive, light, and hot; and the second half negative, dark, and cold. The contrary elements coexist and correlate to complete the circle.

“Compare the four seasons, starting with the spring, to the four-part structure of classic Chinese stories—introduction, action, twist, and conclusion. This will necessarily tell us which season we are in right now.”

The seasons come around regularly, repeatedly, on rotation. And yet the same day, the same time, the same moment never happens twice. What a miracle. Rather than allowing the calendar to dictate our daily lives, we ought to take the initiative and make use of nature’s timetable, and by doing so, synchronize ourselves with Earth’s cycle. Imagine what that might do for our emotional state, our physical condition, and the destination of our soul.

Balanced contrasts—half & half

Inspired by Kaichi’s commentary on the spring equinox and elaborating on the key phrases “dark and light” and “sundial,” Omnipollos hatt created a tart-style dessert pizza.

“In one half, I expressed the light season from the spring equinox to the autumn equinox with apricot, local apple, and apricot and red currant jam. In the other half, I created a contrasting dark and cold season from the autumn equinox to the spring equinox featuring blueberry jam, plum, and mint leaves.”

The caramelized orange in the center of the half & half provides the element of the Sun, standing for the almighty ruler, adding a powerful essence to both the look and the taste, and completing the newest cosmic pizza, always freshly baked in Sweden. 

Dessert Equinox (Half & Half)

The spring equinox bursting with light versus the autumn equinox alluding to the harsh winter ahead—the high contrast between the Northern European seasons is expressed with a generous topping of fruit in this delicious dessert pizza.

Kaichi Sugiyama
Born 1977 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Sugiyama self-studied calendars and designed the HELIO COMPASS. His invention was inspired, to some degree, by the extremity of time that he experienced in the course of his part-time job at a pizza parlor.

Is a map of time and space in the solar system. It shows the user’s place on planet Earth within the solar system within the cosmos.
Is a pizza and craft beer restaurant in Stockholm. Its latest branch opening is the beer stand Omnipollos Tokyo in Nihombashi. The pizza presented here was created by the owner–chef and artist Björn Atldax.
time reader | Kaichi Sugiyama pizza creator | Björn Atldax text | Mick Nomura (photopicnic) phography | Gustav Karlsson Frost