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Winter Solstice December 21st

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The winter solstice is the beginning of winter. Marked as the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere – early tomorrow morning, at 12:30 a.m. EST.

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Tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees relative to its orbit, The Earth, turning on its axis as it circles the sun. As the seasons turn, the axis points the same way, with Polaris, the North Star, hovering over the North Pole.

The axis, as seen from the north, points as directly away from the sun. It is the time, everything north of the Arctic Circle will experience 24 hours of darkness.

"Solstice" derived from the Latin phrase for "sun stands still."

After months of days growing shorter and the sun lower—the sun's arc through the sky appears to stabilize, with the sun seeming to rise and set in the same two places for several days. Then the arc begins growing longer and higher in the sky, reaching its peak at the summer solstice.

Occurring twice a year, the solstices -around December 21 and June 21. Happen because the Earth is tilted by an average of 23.5 degrees as it orbits the sun—it is this phenomenon that drives the seasons.

With both cultural and religious traditions, people since ancient times have celebrated the winter solstice.

Germanic peoples of Northern Europe honored the winter solstice with the still-standing tradition of the long-burning Yule log.

The Roman feast of Saturnalia, was a weeklong December feast that included the observance of the winter solstice. The Romans also celebrated the lengthening of days following the solstice by paying homage to Mithra, an ancient Persian god of light.

Today, ancient winter solstice traditions have been replaced with Christmas.

More Family fun ideas:

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More Family fun ideas:




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