Winter solstice: All you need to know about the longest night of the year

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Winter solstice: All you need to know about the longest night of the year
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  • Winter solstice takes place on December 21-22 in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • The event marks the beginning of the winter season.
  • It finds a historical significance in many cultures.
The solstice, which is a biannual event, gives us the longest day and night alternatively. The winter solstice marks the “beginning of winters” in the Northern Hemisphere with the longest night of the year. The same day is marked by people in the Southern Hemisphere as the beginning of summer as they experience the longest day of the year.

As we are closer to the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, let’s take a look at what happens on the day and what it means to the people.

What is the Winter Solstice?


It is the longest night and the shortest day of the year and takes place between December 21-December 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and between June 20- June 21 in the Southern Hemisphere each year.
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During the event, the Sun is the farthest away from places in the respective hemispheres and shines on the Tropic of Capricorn. The earth’s axis is tilted 23.5 degrees when the solstice occurs.

When will we experience the winter solstice in 2022?


The winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere will occur on December 21, 2022 at 03:18 IST.

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Although it usually takes place on December 21, it occasionally occurs on December 22 as well.

Significance of the winter solstice


Winter solstice is also known as the “return of the sun” as it marks the beginning of more sunlight on Earth. After the solstice, the days start to get longer and the nights shorter as more sunlight starts falling on the Earth.

It also has historical significance in festivals as the Ancient Romans celebrated the day as the return of Saturn, their God of agriculture. In the United Kingdom, people celebrate the Winter Solstice by visiting Stonehenge to witness the sunrise and sunset. The festivals Christmas and Hanukkah are said to have an association with pagan festivals celebrating the winter solstice.
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In India, Makar Sankranti is celebrated to mark the end of the month with the shortest day. The solstice is also celebrated in Japanese and Chinese cultures.
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