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December 21, 2017 / Leslie

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

Only 88 more days until spring.

I am so not a winter person and I countdown the days to spring every year. But I celebrate the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, because from now until summer, the days keep getting longer.

Astronomical winter began this morning at 10:28 a.m. CST in North America. Here in Chicago, we will have only 9½ hours of daylight today. It hasn’t been too bad with no measurable snow and mostly average temperatures. We’ve even had a few sunny days. But I miss the color of the other seasons and will have to make do with shades of brown.

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.


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Leave a Comment
  1. Silver's Reviews / Dec 21 2017 4:41 pm

    I will keep count with you. 🙂

    I don’t like winter either.


  2. Rosemary White / Dec 21 2017 4:45 pm

    Although I am not a winter hater, 88 days sounds reasonable


  3. Mary / Dec 21 2017 7:13 pm

    I love the color that shows in your photo.


  4. BermudaOnion / Dec 21 2017 9:05 pm

    Yes, I’m so happy the days will be getting longer!


  5. Suko / Dec 22 2017 7:55 pm

    Striking photo and informative post, Leslie! I look forward to longer days as well.


  6. sagustocox / Jan 5 2018 12:46 pm

    I like winter when it isn’t brutal, which is rare. This brutal cold and the bomb cyclone was terrible. I can do without all that.


    • Leslie / Jan 5 2018 2:59 pm

      No bomb cyclone here, but we’ve been stuck in a deep freezer for a week now.


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