Winter Solstice is an interesting day – you may notice that the sun rises late and sets early and that the day is very short while the night is very long. In fact, this is the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest day in the Southern Hemisphere.
The solstice is an astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis, and its motion in orbit around the sun, according to EarthSky. “Because Earth doesn’t orbit upright, but is instead tilted on its axis by 23-and-a-half degrees, Earth’s Northern and Southern Hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly.”
The tilt of the Earth – not our distance from the sun – is what causes winter and summer. At the December solstice, the Northern Hemisphere is leaning mostly away from the sun for the year. At the imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Capricorn, the sun shines directly overhead at noon.
After winter solstice the days are going to get longer, but slowly. You probably won’t notice until March when it’s time to turn the clocks forward by one hour for daylight saving.
Many traditions exist to celebrate this special time of the year. Some ancient peoples considered it to be the new year. Many customs are almost extinct, which is just another reason why they are so much fun. You can also start your own tradition.