“Solstice is the reason for the season, so it is our duty to pay respect to them.”–Unknown
Those of us who are fascinated by the sky and the weather understand the basic natural mechanics of our planetary journey around the Sun. We depend upon the ever-shifting orientation of the Earth to result in seasonal changes. In the past, most people did not understand planetary rotational and orbital science, but they did notice that the Sun appeared at various positions and durations in the sky. The peak days, when the Sun was visible for the shortest and the longest amounts of time came to be named “Solstice”.
Today the world will experience December solstice at 15:59 UTC. I live in Northeast Nebraska which is U.S. Central Standard Time, so winter officially begins at 9:59 am here. If you live somewhere else, solstice will occur at a different local time. You can discover the exact time that Solstice begins for you by a quick Internet search.
I prefer to refer to today as December solstice rather than the First Day of Winter for a couple of reasons. The main personal reason is that wintry weather usually begins far in advance of when the calendar proclaims winter’s arrival. The second reason is that I have friends who live in the Southern Hemisphere. This means that today marks the arrival of summer for those friends. Of course, six months from now–June 21, 2022, the reverse will occur.
Pondering these astronomical facts causes me to feel like I’m an integral part of the world and the Universe. The changing of the astronomical seasons at the two annual equinoxes and solstices is both logical and wonderful at the same time.
The ancient astronomers and shamen were aware of these sky-based events and oversaw the construction of various monuments and tools to help keep track of when solstices and equinoxes occurred in their lands. These events were frequently the reasons that particular sacred holidays were established by various civilizations. Many religions naturally adopted them because the changing of the seasons affected people’s survival and lifestyles.
An important aspect of December solstice is that the name is not specifically “Northern Hemisphere centric”. The first day of winter specifically applies to the Northern Hemisphere; whereas December solstice applies to winter and summer according to each Hemisphere. December solstice and June solstice are all-inclusive names. I find this especially pleasing.
I hope you have a happy winter or summer, wherever you live. Happy Solstice!
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes activist, artist, life coach, and writer, Eileen Anglin. “May the light illuminate your hearts and shine in your life every day of the year. May everlasting peace be yours and upon our Earth.”