The December solstice marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the next winter solstice occurs in North America on Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 11:28AM ET (Eastern Time) and in the UK at 16:28 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
All about the Winter Solstice
While the beginning of summer marks the longest day of the year,
the winter solstice brings the shortest day - and the longest night! - of the year.
The reason for the different seasons in the two hemispheres is that while the earth rotates around the sun, it also spins on its axis, which is tilted some 23.5 degrees. Because of this tilt, the Northern Hemisphere receives less direct sunlight and the Southern Hemisphere receives more (and vice versa) depending on the season.
In ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated at the feast of Saturnalia, while in pre-christian Britain, the end of December centered around the pagan Yule log in a fiery display to melt the heart during a cold and dreary winter.
Ih many pre-Christian cultures, however, December was considered the most dreaded time of year, when the lack of heat and light and a limited supply of food spelled danger.
The cold was stark and the darkness seemed perpetual.
Even today, modern science points to a mental disorder that is now officially recognized as SAD, or seasonal affective disorder that results in moodiness or depression during the winter months due to the lack of
The cure? Turn up the wattage! indeed, the use of artificial light is the only known treatment for SAD.
Yet as the old wise man once said, it truly is darkest before the dawn. After the Winter Solstice, the light slowly begins its inevitable return, and the days begin to grow blessedly longer, flipping the switch to ON for the inevitable countdown to spring