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December 21, 2013 / Leslie

Winter Solstice

Only 88 more days until spring.

Astronomical winter begins at 12:11 p.m. EST in North America. Here in Chicago we will receive only 9½ hours of daylight and no sunshine as it’s overcast and sleeting today. I’m already tired of the colorless winter landscape and am counting the days until spring.

Cantigny Gardens

Solstice facts

  • The solstice occurs because the earth’s axis is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Saturday Snapshot was originated by Alyce at At Home With Books. It is now hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Sheila (Book Journey) / Dec 21 2013 1:03 pm

    Awesome post! I love that you said 88 days until Spring… I will count them off 🙂


  2. irene / Dec 21 2013 2:51 pm

    I’m ready for spring as well. It was so sleety here yesterday, I’m still drying boots. Love the post, and the photo.


  3. Vicki / Dec 21 2013 4:41 pm

    “Only 88 more days until spring.”… Love it!!
    That photo is amazing! Beautiful…I wish I was there right now!


    • Vicki / Dec 21 2013 4:43 pm

      Forgot to say that I love all the Solstice Facts…I love learning new facts!!


  4. Louise / Dec 21 2013 4:45 pm

    What a great post. I didn’t know winter had a precise starting time within the day. I love your picture too, that one bit of red on the right. Although I’m a bit jealous of your cool, white world. We’re having a pre-Christmas heat wave here in Australia. We don’t start our seasons on the solstice here, ours start on the first of the month, i.e. our summer officially started on Dec 1. Perhaps that’s why ours just starts on the day, because it has no actual astronomical relevance.


    • Louise / Dec 21 2013 4:50 pm

      BTW I notice that you are reading The Night Guest. I was surprised to see it there, it’s an Australian title, and I didn’t know that it had been released internationally. It’s great to see Aussie books getting about so much this year- The Rosie Project has made a big splash this year. I hope you do a review, I’ll be interested in your thoughts. I haven’t read it yet. Your cover is quite different to ours. It’ll help pass the time til spring…..


    • Leslie / Dec 22 2013 11:01 am

      Depending upon who you ask, ie TV weather people vs scientists, winter can also begin on December 1st. For me, it usually begins with the first snow fall. I would take heat wave over cold anytime!

      I’m almost finished reading The Night Guest. It was released here a few months ago. I passed it over at first because the cover was so unappealing. Then I saw a nice review and requested a copy and I’m glad I did. Review will be up later this week. One of the things I’m enjoying (besides the story) is that the publisher didn’t rewrite the book for Americans – Aussie words and phrases were left in place.


      • Louise / Dec 27 2013 6:30 pm

        I read your review, it will go onto my TBR. I’m glad they left the Aussie feel alone, it’s terrible when they do that. The world is becoming too uniform as it is, local idiom is important.


  5. Suko / Dec 21 2013 6:15 pm

    Amazing photo, a gorgeous study in black and white! I’m sorry it’s so cold though.


  6. Mary / Dec 21 2013 6:32 pm

    I love the photo, Leslie. That little bit of red on the left caught my eye. Somehow 88 days doesn’t sound so bad 😉


    • Leslie / Dec 22 2013 11:08 am

      I liked the red flag too. I’d like to say I did it on purpose but I didn’t notice it until I uploaded the photos to my computer!


      • Mary / Dec 22 2013 11:16 am

        And I just noticed the red is on the Right 😉


  7. susanmillerlindquist / Dec 21 2013 8:42 pm

    It’s funny … I love wintertime because of the quiet stay-at-home attitude that I adopt … when the Solstice comes round, I pull in the rugs, close the doors, light the fires, and hunker down … you photo makes me think of the long way ahead of us before spring arrives … it’s beautiful and stark.


    • Leslie / Dec 22 2013 11:10 am

      As much as I dislike cold and winter there is a beauty in the starkness. Good thing, because I might not come out of the house except to take photos and get food. 🙂


  8. BermudaOnion / Dec 21 2013 8:54 pm

    I’m ready for longer days!


  9. postingfornow / Dec 22 2013 7:44 am

    Beautiful photo and interesting post. After seeing many count downs to Christmas, I had to smile at yours until Spring!


  10. samstillreading / Dec 23 2013 6:10 am

    Fantastic photo! I’ve never really considered that the winter landscape is so colourless (ours is extreme green) but I definitely think it would be boring.
    I’ll count down until autumn and less hot weather 🙂


  11. Beth F / Dec 23 2013 7:27 am

    Super photo!! And yes, I am looking forward to every single extra minute of daylight!!!


  12. Bonnie @ For the Love of Words / Dec 23 2013 1:15 pm

    Beautiful shot. I always prefer fall/winter over summer because I can’t stand the heat but it has been exceptionally cold this year! I find myself longing for Spring already too. 🙂



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