Published: Sun, December 23, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Five Things You Never Knew About the Winter Solstice

Five Things You Never Knew About the Winter Solstice

This year, the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere will begin on Thursday, December 21 at 5:28 ET in the USA, or 16:28 UTC.

The animation, which was created by Olivia Huynh and depicts a mouse hunkering down for the coldest months of the year, honors the winter solstice, otherwise known as the first official day of winter, according to an announcement from Google. On the day of the solstice the Sun Priest declares the exact moment of the rebirth of the sun with a long call.

Check out the gallery above for last year's winter solstice from around the world. Following this tradition, the Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the "Invincible Sun", and in the year 273, the Christian church chose this day to represent the birth of Jesus. That means that each hemisphere receives different amounts of sunlight during the year. "After this point in time, periods of daylight will once again begin to grow longer".

The word "solstice" comes from the Latin word "solstitium", which translates to "sun standing still".

Although the pagan celebrations of Yule and the Winter Solstice are from Scandanavian and Germanic cultures, Scotland has it's own history with the shortest day.

The amount of daylight you'll see on the solstice depends on your latitude, or distance from the equator. Here in NYC we're expected to get around nine hours of sunlight today, but regions farther north will see as little as three or four. The areas which are highlighted in gold don't get the sunrise until 7:30 a.m. and later. Some parts of ME will even see the sunset as early as 3:30 p.m.

Like this: