Digital News Report – This year’s winter solstice occurs on Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 12:30 a.m. EST or Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. PST). It is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Some consider this also the beginning of winter, while other say it is marking the mid-point of the cold weather.
The Winter Solstice happens when the Earth’s North Pole is farthest away from the sun. For people living in the Southern Hemisphere, the earth is closest to the sun, creating their summer season.
The full day still lasts 24 hours; however, daylight hours go by quicker during the Winter Solstice. That is why this day is known as the shortest day of the year.
In East Asia, countries like China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam celebrate the Dōngzhì Festival, in which the sunlight is weakest. The next day, the sunlight during the day increases. It means that the positive energy is rising.
Another holiday that a lot of us should be familiar with is Christmas. Christmas is a Christian holiday, celebrating the birth of Christ. Presents are given from one person to another on December 25, 2011. Christmas was assigned to December 25th because many other Pagan holidays fell around this time period.
Hanukkah is also celebrated around the time of the Winter Solstice; however, the holiday can also occur in November. Hannukkah lasts eight days. On each day, a candle on the Menorah is lit up.
By: Robert Williams