Welcome to winter — the 2016 solstice. We’re celebrating the shortest day of the year at Singing Rooster with a LONG DEAL on coffee & chocolate.
10 things you didn’t know about the Winter solstice:
- The Latin word solstice means ‘sun stands still.’ During a solstice, the sun appears to remain still — at noon.
- Most count the entire day as the solstice, but it’s a mere moment. In 2016, it came at 4:44 AM CST. The entire world experiences the solstice at the exact same moment.
- Different seasons are not defined by how far the Earth is from the Sun. During winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth is actually closest to the Sun. Seasons occur because our Earth orbits the Sun on a 23 degree tilt. Different amounts of sunlight reach the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, causing variation in temperatures and weather patterns throughout the year.
- This means our friends south of the Equator are celebrating the Summer solstice today!
- North Pole Alaska will have less than 4 hours of daylight on this day. In June, this flips, where the summer solstice sun rises ~4:30 am and sets at ~11:30 pm (19 hours of daylight). This is the reason Alaskans grow the largest pumpkins in summer and have the highest rates of seasonal affect disorder in Winter.
- Solstice celebrations date back centuries and marked important annual events like when to sow crops, mate animals, harvest, and inventory winter food reserves.
- Stonehenge was built 5,000 years ago; many believe it was to mark the solstice.
- Newgrange (the redheaded step child to Stonehenge) is in Ireland and is believed to have been constructed in alignment with the solstice a thousand years BEFORE Stonehenge (and the pyramids).
- Today is one of the longest nights in history. Ever since the Earth has had liquid oceans and a moon, its rotation has been gradually slowing over time due to tidal friction. 4.5 billion years ago, it took the Earth six hours to rotate the sun. 350 million years ago, it took 23 hours.
- Gustaf Host’s Christmas carol, In the Bleak Midwinter, was based on a poem written by Christina Rossetti in 1872; she submitted her poem to a magazine contest.
Dad’s favorite carol – we miss you and cherish the lessons you taught us.