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5 Fun Facts About The Winter Solstice That You Might Not Know!Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The event is the astronomical beginning of winter and throughout history, festivals, rituals and holidays recognizing the winter solstice have been celebrated.

Here are 5 Fun Facts about the Winter Solstice:

  1. According to National Days Calendar, “In all corners of the Earth, there are ancient remains that seem to have been built around marking the winter solstice. Probably the most famous of these is Stonehenge, England. Every year when the sun sets on the winter solstice, the sun’s rays align with two of the giant stones known as the central Altar and the Slaughter stone.”
  2. The date of the winter solstice may vary. The event can happen on December 20, 21, 22 or 23, although December 20 or 23 solstices are rare. In fact, the most recent winter solstice occurring on December 23 solstice was in 1903!
  3. The word solstice is derived from the Latin word solstitium, which translated means ‘the Sun stands still.’
  4. According to com, “Ancient Romans held several celebrations around the time of the winter solstice. Saturnalia, a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture, was a weeklong celebration in the days leading up to the winter solstice.Saturnalia was a hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down. For a week, slaves would become masters. Peasants were in command of the city. Business and schools were closed so that everyone could join in the fun.”
  5. The solstice actually happens at a very specific moment in time. Today, that moment will occur at occurs at 4:28 p.m. This is the very moment that the North Pole is aimed furthest away from the sun on the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth’s axis.

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