What you should know about the winter solstice

For the Northern Hemisphere, particularly the far north, it's a dark, cold day – and the turning point of light… The winter solstice is just around the corner.

The winter solstice is just around the corner. The winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere falls on December 21st at 10:27 p.m. EST. South of the equator, this moment marks the unofficial start of summer. Solstice occurs at the same time around the world, but its local time varies depending on the time zone. But whether you're in Tirupattur (India) or Mobile (Alabama), it's an ancient and pivotal scientific moment. Summer is just around the corner in the southern hemisphere and winter is coming in the northern hemisphere – the shortest day of the year.

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If you're there It is twilight all day in Longyearbyen, where residents experience the midnight sun in the Arctic Circle when the sun does not set at night. People may have observed the winter solstice as early as the Neolithic period – the last part of the Stone Age, which began around 10,200 BC. BC begins. Stonehenge, set up for Stone Age people to celebrate the solstice, is believed to be another example of historical markers.

Photo by Ron Lach via Pexels

Cultures around the world have long held festivals and holidays around the winter solstice. Fire and light are traditional symbols of celebrations on the darkest day of the year. There are some celebrations here

Soyal is the winter solstice festival of the Hopi Indians of northern Arizona. Ceremonies and rituals include purification, dancing and sometimes gift-giving. At the time of the solstice, the Hopi welcome the Kachinas, guardian spirits from the mountains. Prayer sticks are made and used for various blessings and other rituals.

The Persian festival of Yalda or Shab-e Yalda is a celebration of the winter solstice in Iran that began in ancient times. It marks the last day of the Persian month of Azar. Yalda is traditionally seen as the victory of light over darkness and the birthday of the sun god Mithra. Families celebrate together with special foods like nuts and pomegranates and some stay up all night to greet the morning sun.

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Even Antarctica is getting involved in the solstice celebrations, thanks to the long, dangerously cold season during which researchers are there. While those of us in the northern hemisphere enjoy the most daylight hours, those in the southern hemisphere celebrate midwinter. Celebrations include special meals, movies, and sometimes even handmade gifts.

St. Lucia Day is a festival of lights celebrated in Scandinavia around the winter solstice. Although now commemorated in honor of Saint Lucia, a Christian martyr, it has been incorporated into earlier Nordic solstice traditions, such as lighting fires to ward off spirits during the longest night. Girls dress in white robes with red sashes and wear wreaths of candles on their heads in honor of Saint Lucia.

The four most common ways most people celebrate the winter solstice: drinking, complaining about the lack of light, consuming cannabis, and preparing for the holiday.

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