December Solstice in United Kingdom, for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018.
|December Solstice||21st December||21st December||21st December|
What is the December Solstice?
The December Solstice, also known in the Norther Hemisphere as midwinter day and the shortest day, occurs when the North Pole is farthest away from the sun.
When is the December Solstice?
The December Solstice usually falls on the 21st December each year, although it can vary a little bit due to the sun's position. In the northern hemisphere, the December Solstice is mid-winter's day, and in the southern hemisphere the opposite is true - it is mid-summer's day.
The year is divided in nature by these two solstices, plus two equinoxes, one in spring and the the other in autumn. The word 'solstices' means 'sun standing still' and 'equinox' means of 'of equal length'. These solstices and equinoxes are observed, and even celebrated by some people around the world.
Who celebrates the December Solstice?
The Winter Solstice has been celebrated since ancient times, and is one of the oldest festivals we know about. Indeed, the Romans marked Winter Solstices by celebrating the return of the sun.
Nowadays, the largest of December Solstice festivals happen at Stonehenge in England. Pagans, Druids, Wiccans alongside families and tourists gather at dawn to witness the sunrise on the 22nd of December, marking the gradual return to longer days. Both Solstices are celebrated at Stonehenge.
How is the Winter Solstice celebrated?
Although the days start to get longer in the Northern Hemisphere, after the winter solstices, the coldest winter months are still to come. Festivals traditionally included eating large amounts of the available food and sharing it with family and neighbours. The oak tree, holly and mistletoe are traditionally used in the solstices as they can be readily found at this time of year.
Many of the December Solstice celebrations have become part of modern Christmas traditions as a gradual blending of the season's festivals has evolved.