The days have been becoming shorter and shorter, and the Winter Solstice has arrived in India and other northern hemisphere nations on December 21. The day marks the year’s shortest day, when the sun’s journey across the sky reaches farthest south.
While the meteorological winter begins on December 1, the astronomical winter begins on either December 21 or 22 with the Winter Solstice. Because the sun takes the shortest course through our sky on a daily basis, individuals in the northern hemisphere see the least amount of sunshine and, as a result, the shortest night. After the Winter Solstice, the days begin to become longer again in the months leading up to the Summer Solstice in June, which is the year’s longest day.
Since ancient times, the December Solstice, also known as the Winter Solstice, has held enormous significance for mankind.
What is the historical & cultural importance of Winter Solstice?
Since the Neolithic age, also known as the New Stone Age, when our prehistoric predecessors were at the pinnacle of cultural progress and technical advancement, the day has held tremendous significance for astronomers.
For many civilizations, the day signified the end of economic cycles. It was also used as a guide for civilizations growing crops or preparing for famine-like conditions in the winter by conserving food and getting rid of surplus domesticated cattle. Longer days were expected to begin after the Winter Solstice, which was also known as ‘midwinter’ in certain civilizations.
Several celebrations take place on the day of the Winter Solstice or are related to it across the world. In India, the Makar Sankranti celebration, which falls on January 14, celebrates the end of the month with the shortest day of the year.
Winter Solstice in 2021
Only 8 hours and 46 minutes of daylight are projected in the northern hemisphere in 2021. The north pole will be the furthest from the sun on December 20, 2021. The sunrise on the winter solstice in India will be at 07:10 a.m., and the sunset will be at 05:29 p.m., for a total day length of 10 hours 19 minutes and 11 seconds.