How the Winter Solstice Marks the First Day of Winter

The winter solstice is going to be here before we realize it, bringing both winter and longer days. I find it strange that the coldest time of the year also ushers in more daylight, but I most definitely welcome more sunlight.

December 21st marks the day that we stop losing daylight hours. The word “solstice” is a combination of the Latin words “sol” for sun and “sistere” for standing still. We use the solstices to mark the seasons along with the equinoxes. Light is gained with the winter solstice as the sun reaches its lowest altitude for the year, and the opposite happens with the summer solstice. Losing light in the summer isn’t as traumatic to me because the weather is still pleasant.

The winter solstice is also a time of celebration for many. While the idea of having a party to usher out the shortest day of the year isn’t exactly new (see: Stonehenge), it’s only recently come back into vogue. It’s a fun reason to have a party, and why not? Even though it’s the official start of winter, the solstice also represents the coming of a new year and the spring that comes soon after.

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