Winter Solstice in December
About Winter Solstice
When is the Astronomical Winter Solstice? December 21, 2022; December 21, 2023; December 21, 2024; December 21, 2025; December 21, 2026; December 2021, 2027; December 21, 2028
When is Meteorological Winter? Generally December 1 to March 1
Winter Solstice marks the beginning of astronomical winter. It is the shortest day of the year. However, there is a second date. It is called Meteorological Winter. It always begins on December 1. This leads people to ask, “When is winter?” To avoid confusion, almost all of us consider the Winter Solstice as the official start. If you’re a little confused, you’re in good company…. read on.
On this day, it seems as if the nighttime darkness lasts all day and all night. At the North Pole, the sun never rises on this day. It is not the coldest days of the year, as the northern hemisphere continues to lose more heat than it gains. This will continue until late in the season, as the longer daylight hours at that point begin to have a net warming effect. But for now, heat up a cup of hot chocolate and put another log on the fire! Wintertime will be here for a while.
By the way, while the northern hemisphere is experiencing its shortest day, the southern hemisphere is basking in sunshine and enjoying the first day of summer.
For thousands of years, Winter Solstice has celebrated the new solar year. It celebrates the return of the sun, as every day now will see more sun. The sun is at its southernmost point and now begins its long, six-month journey north.
Winter Solstice is also been known as Christmas, Yule, and Saturnalia.
Astronomical Versus Meteorological Winter
Since ancient times, man has viewed the Winter Solstice as the beginning of wintertime. This is primarily because it is the shortest day of the year on the astronomical calendar. Hence it is also called Astronomical Winter, meaning it is based on astronomy.
But we all know that winter weather doesn’t begin in late December. Many parts of the northern hemisphere have already seen plenty of snow, and even a snowstorm or two. As a result, meteorologists defined Meteorological Winter to begin when winter weather arises. Generally, that’s December 1 to March. The trouble with this definition is winter weather does not begin at the same time in all parts of the country.
To avoid any confusion, the Winter Solstice is what we all use to identify the first day of winter.
How to Celebrate Winter Solstice
- If there’s snow outside, go out and build a snowman and/or a snow fort.
- Have a snowball fight.
- Go Skiing.
- Put another log in the fireplace.
- Cozy up by the fireside and read a book.
- Have another cup of hot chocolate.
“Now is the winter of our discontent.” – – William Shakespeare
More About Today
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