The Winter solstice is a period that marks both the shortest day as well as longest night of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, this is known as the June solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is known as the December solstice. During the Winter solstice, the axial tilt of Earth causes the two opposite points in the sky to make Earth's axis of rotation change very slowly. As the Earth orbits around the Sun, the hemisphere experiencing Winter will face the sun and experience Summer. This occurs due to the two hemispheres facing different directions along the Earth's axis. The Winter solstice is seen as a symbol to mark the end of Autumn and the beginning of Winter.
About The Winter Solstice
The Winter solstice happens on the shortest day and longest night of the year, due to the Sun's daily elevation in the sky being at its lowest point. The moment itself is quick, so other cultures use different terms to describe the Winter solstice. The significance of the Winter solstice is the reversal of longer nights and shorter days. The earliest sunset and latest sunrise dates depend on latitude because of the variation in the solar day during the year. This is caused by the Earth's elliptical orbit.
The Winter solstice dates back to neolithic times. These types of event were used to understand activities such as animal mating and the sowing of crops. Many traditions and mythologies were born from the Winter solstice. The Winter solstice became important, as people were dependent on monitoring seasonal progress. Since the Winter solstice was seen as the reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence, concepts of the birth of sun gods occur in different cultures that used cyclic calendars. The Winter solstice was also referred to as a new year or the year being reborn.
Winter Solstice Throughout The World
There are a number of different holidays and traditions throughout the World that help celebrate the Winter solstice. The Feast of Juul was a festival in Scandinavia during the Winter solstice. Fires helped symbolize the heat and life giving abilities of the sun. A yule log was burned in the honor of Thor.
In Ancient Rome, there was a winter solstice festival known as Saturnalia. The festival began on December 17, and lasted for a week. The festival was held to honor Saturn. All disagreements were temporarily put aside, while courts and schools were closed. There were also parties thrown. Gifts such as dolls, fruit, and candles were offered.
Yalda Night is an Iranian Festival celebrated on the Winter solstice. People get together to eat, drink, and read poetry long through the night. Some of the food consumed during the celebration includes nuts, fruits, watermelons, and pomegranates. The redness in these fruits symbolize the Crimson of dawn and the overall glow of life.
The Dongzhi Festival is celebrated in China and around East Asia. The history of this festival goes back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony. After the celebration, there will be longer daylight hours, which results in an increase of positive energy. During the Donzhi Festival, people enjoy dumplings. Everyone head to their ancestral temples to worship. There is a feeling that with a new year approaching, everyone should behave better.