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December 21, 2010 / Leslie

Random Tuesday: First Day of Winter and a Wovel

Happy Winter Solstice

At 5:38 PM CST in North America the winter solstice will occur and with it the beginning of winter. For the first time in 372 years, the winter equinox and a total lunar eclipse happen on the same day. According to NASA, it has only happened once in the past 2000 years and won’t happen again until 2094.

It was cloudy and snowing in Chicago so I missed out on the eclipse. It occurred around 4am and I doubt I could have stayed awake for it anyway. I’ll greet the arrival of the winter solstice tonight with a cup of hot apple cider, a warm blanket and a good book.

There is much more cold to come here in the midwest, but I celebrate the lengthening daylight hours and the coming of spring. I know that soon the bare trees will grow leaves, the dogwood and forsythia will wake up and birds will once again begin to sing. Each year I find winter and snow more annoying; it’s difficult to believe that as a child I actually liked the stuff.

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Sno Wovel

I have a neighbor with a plow that clears snow from the driveway, but that doesn’t help with the sidewalk or backyard. Yes, we have a snowblower, but it’s not worth firing it up for a quick clean-up plus it’s noisy and not very environmentally friendly. I think I’ve discovered the solution to the snow shovel, a Wovel. Anyone have one of these?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Some Solstice Facts

  • The solstice occurs because the earth’s axis is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees. The winter solstice is the day the north pole is furtherest from the sun.
  • The word solstice comes from ancient Latin. Sol meaning “sun” and sistere, “to stand still.” For several days before and after the solstice the sun appears to stand still in the sky and it’s noon time elevation does not change.
  • It’s probably no coincidence that today’s Christmas Holiday occurs during the time of the original Winter Solstice festivals. Some say early Christmas celebrations have their roots in the Feast of Saturnalia, a winter solstice celebration to the Roman god Saturn. When Christianity was introduced to the Roman Empire, the church allowed the feast to continue but dedicated it to the birth of Christ.
  • The custom of giving presents comes from the Roman feast of Saturnalia.
  • Stonehenge is aligned with solstice. The timber circle is orientated towards the rising sun on the midwinter solstice.

 


 


Really Random Tuesday is hosted on random Tuesdays by Suko at Suko’s Notebook. It’s a way to post odds and ends–announcements, musings, quotes–any blogging and book-related things you can think of.
 

2 Comments

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  1. Suko / Dec 21 2010 4:29 pm

    Leslie, I hadn’t heard of a Wovel before. It seems like a good idea! We are greeting winter here with a steady rainstorm which has been quite heavy at times.

    Interesting Winter Solstice facts.

    Thank you for doing this meme. You have made my Tuesday, again!

    Like

  2. Rebecca Rasmussen / Dec 21 2010 4:31 pm

    I think I want a wheel-powered wovel! I love this post — the cutest! xo

    Like

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