The winter solstice is the day that marks the official beginning of winter. Since ancient times, cultures across the globe have praised both the winter and summer solstice as events characterized by supernatural forces and increased energy flowing around. But there’s so much more to the shortest day of the year. Check out these fun and intriguing facts about the day.
Winter Solstice Fun Facts
Read on and learn something new and exciting about the event. Don’t forget to share these fun facts with your friends and family, they’ll be amazed!
The Meaning of the Word ‘Solstice’
The word ‘solstice’ has interesting roots. Some experts claim the word comes from two Latin words, which mean ‘sun’ and ‘stand still.’ During the winter solstice, the angle between the sun’s rays and the equator seems to stand still, which is why ancient people might have thought it was a good idea to name the event that way.
Surprisingly Short in Duration
Many people believe the event lasts throughout the day, but it actually doesn’t. It’s but a blip in time. This year, for example, the shortest day of the year began at precisely 4:48 p.m. EST.
Ancient Beliefs About the Winter Solstice
As we mentioned above, the shortest day of the year has been celebrated for centuries. Individuals across cultures would throw feasts and celebrations to mark the holiday and the beginning of winter. Traditional symbols of the event are thought to be fire and light. Some claim that our modern-day idea about Christmas might hold its origin in celebrations for the shortest day of the year.
Not Everyone Celebrates at the Same Time, Apparently
While some people celebrate the shortest day of the year, the other side of the world doesn’t. When one side of the globe celebrates the shortest day, the other commemorates the longest day.
Strikingly Shorter Than Its Counterpart
Believe it or not, the shortest day of the year is as many as 9 hours shorter than the summer solstice. During the winter solstice, the day lasts for just 7 hours and 50 minutes, while it’s 16 hours and 38 minutes on the longest day of the year.
How to Celebrate the Winter Solstice
The shortest day of the year is marked by traditional rituals. Some of them include brewing drinks and eating specific treats to celebrate the date. Many individuals light lanterns to commemorate the day, following the ancient tradition of the event. An interesting thing you can do to celebrate the occasion is decorating a tree outside for animals to eat. Bring the kids and decorate a tree outside with edible ornaments for birds and other critters to eat. There are plenty of edible ornament ideas on the web. Just make sure not to include any plastics!