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All You Need To Know About The Winter Solstice

Here is all you need to know about the winter solstice.

Most people are aware of the winter solstice. But not many fully understand the approach. Here are some fascinating things to know about the shortest day of the year.

When the winter solstice happens

The date for winter solstice varies from year to year. It can occur between  December 20 and December 23. This is because the tropical year is different from the calendar year. The tropical year is all about the amount of time it takes for the sun to return to the same spot relative to Earth.

Winter solstice happens at a specific moment

Winter Solstice happens on a specific day and specific time of day. The timing of it corresponds to the instant the North Pole is farthest away from the sun. It is also when the sun shines directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. The solstice occurs at the same moment for everybody across the globe no matter where you live on the planet.

Winter solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year

For the northern hemisphere, daylight hours grow shorter as the winter solstice approaches. In some cultures, the day of the solstice is referred to as the “shortest day of the year” or “extreme of winter.”

How ancient cultures viewed the winter solstice

Many ancient cultures believed winter solstice to be a time of death and rebirth. That is why many solstice celebrations and rites called for the return of the sun and hoped for new life.

Stonehenge is aligned to the sunset on the winter solstice

Many speculate the position of the sun may have been some sort of religious significance to the people who built Stonehenge. However, others feel the monumental structure is constructed along with natural features and just happen to align with it. Even though the purpose of Stonehenge is a never-ending debate, its significance on the winter solstice remains important even in the modern world. Thousands of various types of solstice enthusiasts gather in the place annually to make and celebrate the occasion.

Coldest days of winter occur after the solstice

Despite receiving more sunlight in January and February, these months are colder than in December’s short days in the Northern Hemisphere. This is because of the way Earth takes in heat and releases it. Earth absorbs heat during the summer months and slowly releases it during fall and winter.

Darielle Britto

Darielle Britto has been in the world of journalism since 2014 — covering everything from breaking news to lifestyle for some of India's top publications. Currently, she focuses on all things food, fashion, travel, home, health, design and offbeat.
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