December 21 is the Winter Solstice, a day that marks the shortest amount of daylight and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Even more precisely, it’s the moment when one full rotation of Earth around its axis is completed and the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky. The Winter Solstice has long been celebrated by many cultures for centuries, both as a source of hope for brighter days ahead and to mark important seasonal transitions. In this blog post, we explore this annual event by looking at some of its history and symbolism, plus how it’s still celebrated today. Let’s dive in!
What is the winter solstice?
The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. It occurs when the Earth’s North Pole is tilted away from the sun. For people in the Northern Hemisphere, this happens on December 21 or 22. After the winter solstice, the days start getting longer again.
The history of the winter solstice
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and has been celebrated by cultures around the world for centuries. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin solstitium, which means “sun stands still.” On the winter solstice, the sun appears to stand still in the sky before reversing direction and beginning to rise again.
The earliest known celebration of the winter solstice was in ancient Egypt, around 4,000 years ago. The Egyptians built a temple called Karnak to align with the sun on the winter solstice. The temple was aligned so that sunlight would shine through an opening in the roof and illuminate a statue of the god Amun-Ra.
The winter solstice was also important to the ancient Greeks. They believed that it marked the rebirth of the sun god Apollo. The Romans also celebrated the winter solstice as a festival called Saturnalia. This was a week-long celebration in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. During Saturnalia, businesses and schools closed, slaves were given a holiday, and people exchanged gifts with each other.
The winter solstice is still celebrated today in many cultures around the world. In China, it is known as Dongzhi Festival and is a time for families to get together and eat dumplings. In Japan, it is called Toshikoshi-soba and people eat buckwheat noodles on this day to represent cutting off bad fortune from the previous
How to celebrate the winter solstice
Although the winter solstice occurs on December 21st, you can celebrate it any day or time around that date! Here are some ideas on how to celebrate the shortest day and longest night of the year:
-Have a picnic dinner outside underneath the stars.
-Build a bonfire and roast marshmallows.
-Make a homemade snow globe.
-Bake cookies in the shape of snowflakes.
-Wear all white or all black to represent light and dark.
-Write down everything you’re grateful for in the past year.
-Set intentions for what you want to manifest in the coming year.
Winter solstice traditions from around the world
The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year, and has been marked by cultures around the world for millennia. Here are some of the most popular winter solstice traditions from around the globe:
In Japan, the winter solstice is known as Tōji, and is celebrated with a special Buddhist ceremony called Kōyō-sai. This ceremony is meant to bring good luck and fortune in the coming year.
In China, the winter solstice is known as Dongzhi. It is a time for family reunion, and people will make special dumplings called zongzi to celebrate. Red bean paste soup is also traditionally eaten on this day.
In Korea, the winter solstice is called dongji, and is considered a time of rebirth. On this day, people will eat rice cakes called tteokguk which symbolize new beginnings. Families will also clean their homes to sweep away any bad luck from the previous year.
In Scandinavia, the winter solstice was once known as jul (or Yule). This was a time when people would celebrate with feasts and bonfires. Nowadays, many people in Scandinavia still celebrate Christmas on December 25th (which falls close to the winter solstice), but some have started adopting more pagan-based traditions such as decorating their homes with evergreen branches and lighting candles in honor of the returning sun.
WINTER SOLSTICE DATES
The winter solstice on December 21 is a significant celestial event that marks the longest night of the year. It reminds us to slow down, relax and enjoy some much needed rest during the colder months. So when December 21 arrives, take time out for yourself and appreciate the beauty of nature around you. Enjoy this special day and use it as an opportunity to reflect on all that has passed in 2020, so that you can look forward to a brighter 2021 filled with hope and joy!
Important days and events on December 21
|National Coquito Day
|National Short Girl Appreciation Day
|Look on the Bright Side Day
|National Armagnac Day
|National Crossword Puzzle Day
|National Flashlight Day
|National French Fried Shrimp Day
|National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day
|National Lee Day
|National Maine Day
|São Tomé Day
|World Snowboard Day