Friday, December 9, 2011

Winter Solstice

I have always wondered… what and when is the Winter Solstice. So I did some research and here is what I found out.

The Winter Solstice happens on December 21 or 22. It is the shortest day of the year, or conversely, the day with the longest night time. In today’s world observing the Solstice is rare, but it wasn’t rare in ancient times. It was observed throughout Europe, the British Isles, China, India and Scandinavia.

Solstice is a word that comes from the Latin word Sol Stetit – meaning, “The sun stood still.” For about six days in late December the sun appears to rise and set in almost the same place. The ancient Romans celebrated the Winter Solstice with a festival called saturnalia – dedicated to Saturn, their god of agriculture. Early in the fourth century, Constantine declared that Christianity would be the new faith of the Roman Empire. That gave a new name and meaning to Saturnalia. With the birth of Jesus, it became known as Christmass or Christmas as we know it today.

Watch for the Winter Solstice on December 21st and 22nd.

By Lois Jamieson

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