Seven facts about winter solstice – the first official day of winter

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Winter solst‪ice is here – the day that marks the beginning of winter for the northern hemisphere. Since ancient times, the day has been spiritually and scientifically important.

Given below are seven facts about the day that makes it unique:

  • The word ‘solstice’ originates from a Latin word, solstitium, which means ‘standing sun.’
  • On this day, the sun rays are directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, i.e., 23.5° south latitude.
  • It is the day between September and March when Earth’s Northern Hemisphere gets the least exposure to direct sunlight over the course of a day.
  • Our Earth orbits on a tilted axis. From September to March, the northern hemisphere gets less direct sunlight than the southern hemisphere, thus making the days shorter and the nights longer. The rest of the year, southern hemisphere gets less direct sunlight than the north. It’s the reason why we have different seasons.
  • This is the shortest day and longest night of the year, at times, even called the darkest day of the year.
  • Although it is the first official day of winter, it is not the coldest day of the year. The coldest days are in the months of January or February (in some places).
  • Usually astrologists describe the day as a ‘significant turning point’ or ‘a start of a new cycle’. It is thus believed to be a good time to slow down and introspect your life decisions.

The article was originally published on Dec 21, 2017

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