First Day of Winter 2017: The Winter Solstice

December Solstice 2017

When is First Day of Winter?

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In 2017, the winter begins with the solstice on December 21. This is the astronomical start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Enjoy our solstice facts, folklore, and more!

Winter Solstice Dates

Winter solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight during the whole year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it always occurs around December 21 or 22. (In the Southern Hemisphere, it is around June 20 or 21.) 

In 2017, the winter solstice arrives at:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 10:44 UTC

Wednesday, December 21, 2017 at 11:28 am EST

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 10:28 am CST

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 9:28 am MST

Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 8:28 am PST

What is the Winter Solstice?

The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day.

At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.

Find out the changing day length in your neck of the woods with our personalized Sunrise/set tool.

Winter photo: “Marshall Point Lighthouse”

Questions and Answers About Winter

Question: Why is there such a time lag between the shortest day of the year (shortest amount of daylight hours) and the lowest average daily temperature of the year?

Answer: This is the shortest day of the year, meaning the one in which we experience the least amount of daylight in 24 hours; it is also the time when the Sun reaches its southernmost point in the sky. Although this part of Earth is cooling, its great thermal mass still retains some heat from the summer and fall. As the gradual cooling process continues over the next two months, temperatures will continue to fall, and the coldest temperatures will be recorded. The same pattern holds true for the summer solstice in June, as the year’s highest temperatures are recorded later, in July and August.

Question: Was Stonehenge built to celebrate the winter solstice?

Answer: That’s one theory. Stonehenge was constructed in several phases over a period of many centuries. Due to the alignment of the stones, experts acknowledge that the design appears to correspond with the use of the solstices and possibly other solar and lunar astronomical events in some fashion. There are several theories as to why the structure was built, including that the area was used as a temple to worship the Sun; as a royal burial ground; and/or as a type of astronomical observatory. However, because none of these theories has been proven correct as yet, the true reason (or reasons) for Stonehenge remains a mystery. Read more about ancient seasonal markers.

Question: Is the solstice the start of winter or the mid-point of winter?

Answer: There is not a black-and-white answer. It depends. Based on the calendar, we follow what the astronomical calendar tells us. The solstice is the beginning of astronomical winter. (An almanac is literally defined as a “calendar of the heavens,” so we use the astronomical definition as well.) Astronomical seasons are based on the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun. However, meteorological seasons are based on the annual temperature cycle. It is important for meteorologists to be able to compare climatological statistics for a particular season from one year to the next for agriculture, commerce, and a variety of other purposes. Thus, meteorologists break the seasons down into groupings of three months. Winter includes December, January, and February.

Did you know? For the ancient Celts, the calendar was based around the solstices and equinoxes, marking the Quarter Days, with the mid-points called Cross-Quarter Days. Learn more about the Celtic calendar.

“Little Bantam in the Snow”

Winter Folklore and Verse

Deep snow in winter; tall grain in summer—Estonian proverb

Visits should be short, like a winter’s day.

A fair day in winter is the mother of a storm—English proverb

Summer comes with a bound; winter comes yawning.

Onion skins very thin, mild winter coming in. 

What Does Winter Mean to You?

Winter inspires both joy and woe. Some people can’t wait for the cooler weather, snow, skiing and ice skating, curling up by a fire, and the holiday spirit. You’ll notice a peaceful sort of silence when you walk through the woods—a muffled kind of quiet. 

Other people dislike the frigid temperatures, blizzards, and wild weather. In colder regions, winter often means shoveling, snowblowing, dealing with bad roads, and sometimes unbearable temperatures.  In warmer regions, the winter temperatures become very mild and cool, and places such as Florida fills up with people escaping the harshness of a northern winter.

What does winter mean to you? Please share below!

Find more information about the four seasons.

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Winter Revelry

I love the contemplative chill and cosying up of winter. I unfortunately live in Florida. However, every few winters we get a real bone-chiller (in the 'teens) and that's when I bundle up and hit our beautiful state parks for that magnificent hush that happens in January and February. It's just the best! I miss winters in North Carolina, where my family is originally from, but I have to admit I don't miss driving the icy winding roads!

Love all the Solstice information!

Please keep me on your sender list. Thank you!

Less Trolls and more Cheer!

The older I get the more I prefer winter to summer. That wonderful time of year when everyone dresses up for the holidays and dresses down to snuggle by the fire. I live for those holiday flavors like eggnog, warm spiced mead, and pumpkin flavored everything. It's a time for family gatherings, family traditions, and bitter sweet memories of family members that are no longer with us. Lets not forget the wonder of fresh snow -- God's airbrush that covers the world's imperfections with a flawless white veil, if only for a little while. Sure winter can be cold but that just gives us a reason to keep warm with someone special.

I thought this was a wonderful article and I am mystified by the amount of Trolls and pseudointellectuals that felt the need to correct the title without bothering to read the content. May all of those miserable Grinches get frostbite on their finger tips and forgo typing again until summer.

Merry Christmas to all - even you, Shmumpkin.

WINTER SOLSTICE: Yaldā Night

Shab-e Yalda ("Yalda night" Persian: شب یلدا‎‎) or Shab-e Chelleh ("night of forty", Persian: شب چله‎‎) is an Iranian festival celebrated on the "longest and darkest night of the year," that is, in the night of the Northern Hemisphere's winter solstice. Calendrically, this corresponds to the night of December 20/21 (±1) in the Gregorian calendar, and to the night between the last day of the ninth month (Azar) and the first day of the tenth month (Dey) of the Iranian civil calendar.

Yalda night

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing that cultural information. I really enjoy learning about the different traditions that we have around this amazing world that we live in.

Not the first day of winter

The Winter Solstice is the MIDDLE day of winter - it is in the middle of the 90 shortest days of the year. Just like June 21 is the middle of summer, not the first day of summer - probably why in almost every northern hemisphere country other than the US, June 21 is called 'midsummer'.

Winter Warmth

A time to appreciate the warmth of the sun, a hot bowl of soup, a novel or two, a shot of scotch or two, reminisce with friends and family and slow down time to enjoy life.

What Winter Means to Me

In the fall, most people are mourning the passing of Summer, but here in south Florida, we say "good riddance." Good riddance to the heat, humidity, daily rain, and mosquitoes. This area is the envy of the nation when it comes to winter weather (it was 85 yesterday Dec. 20). The only downside is all of the traffic because the population of this area nearly doubles between November and April.

Winter solstice

Today is NOT the first day of winter. It is the winter solstice, or Mid Winter's Day. In all lunar calendars the start of winter is around the start of November, although the exact date is not agreed on. That is why there is Bonfire night to boost the power of the sun during the winter months. Today also coincides with the start of the new fiscal quarter. Rents were paid, wages were paid, hiring fairs were held on the quarter days that were the two solstices and the equinox, Or Lady day, mid Summer, Michaelmas and Candlemas. These are fiscal arrangements and not marking the march of the seasons. The seasons change at the start of November, February, May, and August. This puts Mid summers day in mid summer. Tch

Winters Harshness

Bill Murray got it right in the movie GoundHog Day - It is cold, gray, and lasts for the rest of your life!

winter

Winter
We thrive on sun for energy & nutrients.
Our moods change for the sun brings vibrants. Winter & sun in combination is good. But the short day light hours doesn't give people who work inside much outlet to get sun light. Koodos to those who plow the snow as u I prefer the sun.

winter's harshness

in time, every season becomes precious and deserves to be prolonged

Hayye

Hayye

The beauty and joy of winter

After seeing the trees to loose their leaves the winter comes with all its splendor. Snow turns everything white and the sounds are muffled because of it. Love winter!!

Winter Solstice

Means snow, snow, and more snow. You can never have too much snow! I also love the darker days because it gives me an excuse to hibernate like a bear. Only problem is that I still have to go to work every day!

Winter Solstice

Means snow, snow, and more snow. You can never have too much snow! I also love the darker days because it gives me an excuse to hibernate like a bear. Only problem is that I still have to go to work every day!

Winter

After spending 28 years plowing snow I will be so happy to be away from it in 2 years. It seems snow brings out some of the worst in people form where I sit. Winter used to be my favorite time of year looking forward to the beauty of a fresh snow cover, but now all I want is to go where it is warm.

What does winter mean?

A time of rest from labors. A soft downy comforter pulled up around the ears of the ground to let it sleep and regain its energy for a new burst come spring.

Use of the word theory

I note here you apply the 'common' usage of the word theory which in scientific terms would translate to 'Hypothesis'. for example you say: "because none of these theories has been proven correct as yet, the true reason (or reasons) for Stonehenge remains a mystery".
This different usage of the same word is what provides ammunition to deniers of various 'Scientific Theories' like evolution where the word means something more like "It's been tested, peer reviewed, and is the only solution we can accept because the all evidence we have supports this, and only this explanation.

21ST December

Its my birthday! Shortest day but longest night.......

Well, Happy Birthday! I see

Well, Happy Birthday! I see it as "Now, the days are getting longer". Yay!

1st Day of Winter

There are two common definitions of winter.
Meteorlogical Winter: Dec/Jan/Feb
Astronomical Winter: 21st Dec - 19th Mar
In either case 21st December is not mid-winter, merely the shortest day.

midwinter

21st of December is midwinter's day not the start of winter. In four days time we celebrate the return of the sun and The Green Man gives gifts of food to show that spring is coming and we can plant a new crop. The festival was taken over by Christians to become the birth of Christ rather than the birth of a new growing season.

Midwinter

I very much prefer your take on December 25th rather then the Christian
version,and will be looking more into this over the next few days. Thanks

December 21

Yo Shmumpkin, the Christian message is much more important than the pagan message. The Light of the World has come into the world just for you (and everyone else) to show you the Truth. You have the choice to accept or reject the Truth. He will respect your choise, but it is forever.

Winter

As for the truth, yeah ok. Christianity is based on lies, domination and control of the masses. Talk about a passive/aggressive personality, your messiah has it in spades... I bring you peace and truth and IF YOU DON'T DO EXACTLY LIKE I SAY YOU WILL BURN IN HELL

Cart before the horse...

...or perhaps sleigh before the reindeer? Either way, my dear, you've got it back to front. The reality is that your most solemn and dreadful end is to burn in hell anyway. Jesus Christ came to earth to save you from that, if only you will repent of your rebellion against him and submit to his infinite love and compassion. In so doing you will discover that he is worthy of your love and worship.

Praying

Anddrea, my prayers are with you. Until you have a personal relationship with the Lord, you just can't understand it. I pray you never totally close your heart and mind to Christ. Merry Christmas and God bless you.

There is no Christmas without Christ.

There is no Christmas wioht Christ. It's all a bunch of hype to get you to buy stuff. There are Christian roots in the Christmas tree, in St Nicholas, also called Santa Claus. That day is actually Dec 16. The same goes for Halloween Hallo meaning holy. All Souls' Day and then Nov 1 being all saints day. All of these holidays are based in Christianity. But commercialism has slowly brainwashed people into buying and wasting more and more. So if you take Christ out of Christmas you're left with the mall, and television commercials.

Winter

My daughter loves the Winter, and prays for snow. Snow is lovely but I am generally averse to cold temperatures. I get cold easily but love seeing and feeling seasons come and go and it's lovely to mark them. I was interested by what Crystal, above, was saying about hibernation. I believe we should have 'hibernation leave' built into working practice. When the sky is grim at 2pm I feel it pressing down on me and I just want to sleep. You're just not as functional during the winter. The winters seem to have been getting milder but the lack of light is of course the same :)

Founding traditions

If this almanac was founded in 1792, it must have originally used a very old version of HTML.

natural

I celebrate winter and summer solstice and spring and Autumn equinox. It is so amazing to be apart of natural process that so many people throughout history have connected to. me and my friend exchange gifts we have made using natural material. however i do suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, i believe natural we should hibernate but our human system is so built up we cant, so we struggle along in winter like zombies. Nevertheless the best thing about winter solstice is now we start to get longer days. winter is beautiful because we know with everything in life, where there is dark there is light somewhere to be found. winter reminds us that we need to have hope for the future. xxx

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder, is helped tremendously by being exposed to full spectrum lighting for several hours of the day. It works a hell of a lot better than drugs. If you are not on a regiment of light treatment, I suggest you start. Find a doctor that knows about it.

WInter

I would like to comment that 21st December is the MIDWINTER point NOT the first day of winter which began on November 1st..... Just as June 21st is the MIDSUMMER point... I do wish the internet sites followed the true traditional dates for the seasons.

2nd February is first day of spring.. 21st March Equinox 30th April first day of summer 21st June Midsummer 2nd August first day of Autumn 21st September Equinox Ist November first day of Winter 21st December MIdwinter...... Thank you

QUARTER DAYS

The Solstices and Equinoxes are called Quarter Days. So I guess this would make the Cross Quarter Days, the mid-points between the Quarter Days, the Fist Days of the season. Some very interesting celebrations old and new occur near these days. The pagans and the Christians both seem to like to celebrate year round. Lakiam!

And which planet are you on.

And which planet are you on.

Winter solstice

Thank you Elaine - at last someone who knows the difference between the fiscal world and the natural world. Happy Solstice. x

Winter :)

I really like winter, especially when it snows, but since I live in the U.K. we don't get much snow. There is Christmas though and I like getting presents for everyone, and seeing what they think they open them makes me happy. There are temporary ice skating rinks which are fun and when it does snow everyone goes sledging. It's also cold which is nice because it's easy to warm up (if you want to) but you don't feel hot and sticky all the time like you do in the summer

Winter time

Winter in the UK seems milder that years ago or is it my age! Our summer is milder too... we used to have really cold snow covered times in January but I can remember the last time we had snow here. I feel a bit let down as I don't like the winter in the slightest and hate hiding away from the dark nights at home. Snow was a joy and the best part! Think that I need to go and find some and frolic!

Yes it is warmer

I've noticed a distinct warming of winter than compared to 30 years ago. I can't remember the last time we had snow on xmas day recently, but I do as a kid and as a teenager, but the summers have gotten longer and we have more Indian summers now than we used to.
Its a shame that my kids have only experienced big snow several times in their life in 25 years.

Think you need to go and get

Think you need to go and get some sleep!! How were you awake that early-I'm just starting my day!

headed south

I moved to Texas after I had retired to get away from tge Michigan winters... so glad I did..

Michigan Winters

I agree one hundred percent! I think the concept of Winter Solstice is very interesting reading, however; when it come to the frigid temperatures, I can really do without that especially with four months of aching joints. I am counting down to my retirement so that I can move Southwest to get away from the snow and frigid temperatures. The Winter Solstice is Interesting reading; however you can keep the winter days.

Winter

Winter..Brings back all the Great Memories of growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan...Ice skating., skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing....staying outside all day on Saturdays at the Ice Skating Rink was my favorite then going into the warming shed to have Hot dogs and Hot chocolate...my mother enjoyed having 5 children gone for the whole day for herself !

Winter Cold

I couldn't stand the cold, even as a child. My mom told me I was a "summer baby" (June 1st birthday), But now as I am about to turn 61 (jun.) it's worse, with every year I dread it more. I DO NOT LIKE WINTER!!!!

Winter

Winter used to be so much fun when I was young...skaimg for hours in the bush and on the pond, sledding and snow trails and snow sculpting competitions...
my Spirit still loves all these things...but my 53 year old body is fight cancer and Lyme...but since I changed to fighting for my life; drug free; I believe I will be skating in February!

Skating in February

I hope you can! And pray for a miracle for you!. God Bless!

Winter

I've lived in Florida, but lately I spend most of my time in New York. I like winter, and I like all seasons. I think it's great that the seasons change , and one has the opportunity to change ones wardrobe. It's certainly boring to live in an area with the same weather all year.
One thing I really like about winter is a big snowstorm(blizzard).☃ There's nothing more beautiful than viewing a panoramic snowstorm from a high level apartment.
One negative of winter is the thought of walking on black ice.

Winter

I love winter but I hate it too! In the western part of Canada it is very dry in the winter so I hate it because it means lots of lotion, but I love it too because when I walk in the snow it's very crunchy and I like the sound of it under my boots. When there's no wind and it's clear at night I love stepping outside to breathe in that cold air and see the stars sparkling and then I thank God for the wonderful things He made for us to enjoy. I hate the winter though when I have to get up early for work and I have to go out and scrape my windows off and go to work in a cold car. When it gets really cold out I use the command start but then I think of the gas I waste and the fumes it makes then it makes me mad. I get very sad when I see street people wondering around out in the cold.

Winter

Psalms 74:17 says-"17 You set up all the boundaries of the earth; You made summer and winter." l personally favor the summer and fall but I will always be thankful that God gave us four seasons and the snow can be so beautiful. JW.ORG

cold vrs hot

where I live in Nevada it down in the teens [20F last night] but as high as 120 in the summer
and I can deal with cold much better then the heat , but the wife is opposite hides from the cold
... me ..im just like an old bear , ...... I sleep through the coldest part ! gnite !

i love

I love the winter season very much.

Dislike Winte

Houston! I dislike Winter. .Dry skin, chilled all the time. You have to wear a lot of clothes. Air Conditioner one day Heater the next day.50 degree change in 12 hour's. I think Florida has it great! & I'm a Texan. It is what it is!

Winter

I live in Minnesota and been through 60+ winters. Winter lets you know a significant higher power is in charge, your priorities have changed whether you like it or not. I went sliding with my granddaughter today she ate the carrot off the snowman’s nose... Deal with it as best you can. Happy Solstice!

Winter

I am not a big fan of Winter. I love the heat and the warm sun. It takes me ten minutes just to get ready to go out and another ten to warm up the car, scrape the windows and the whole routine. Summer a short and flip flops and I am out the door. Also feel so sick to my stomach when I see homeless people sleeping outside in this season.

homeless folk in winter

my wife and I feel the same grief for people in the cold
we go to the thrift store and church sales in warm weather and by coats and snow pants
then we give them in the winter as the Lord leads us..

winter pet peeve !!

when one is out at the stores and you see "parents" walking into the store
in cold weather 50 to 35 F and their little 1 year old is in a thin tee and diaper,
while they are wear sweaters as they walk in !! ...... thoughtless !

Thank you for thinking of the

Thank you for thinking of the less fortunate. People like you will get it back down the road. Have a great winter.

What winter means to me

Winter can be very pretty after a fresh snowfall, that is if you are on the inside looking out.
However, winter can be very mean if you are on the outside and it's freezing cold. Winter days
are often grey and gloomy. My body seems to run on solar batteries and in the winter my solar batteries just do not seem to stay charged for very long - does that make me a sun worshipper?

What winter means to me.

I call it a guilt free season, I don't have to mow the lawn, or feel guilty about being inside when the sun is out. The other nice thing is if I get cold I can always put on more clothes, but if I get hot in the summer there are only so many I can take off to cool down. L.O.L.

What winter means to me.

Great no orange cone season for a while

Winter

Hate it. Period !

What Winter Means to Me.

Winter means it's time to prune the roses so they can re-emerge in the spring in all their glory. It means dragging my Texas-born hubby to my home state for a New England Christmas. I love the cold weather and the snow. It's a time to bundle up and walk in the snow covered woods, where everything is so quiet. It's when hats, scarves and mittens are placed on the radiator to dry after making snow angels. Ice skating, snowmen, snowballs and licking icicles. I wish it would snow in south Texas!!

Winter is Necessary

Winter makes you appreciate summer all the more! Winter makes you tough, keeps you humble and forces you get some rest!

Winter-snow

i still like the snow, when everything is covered you will have that brief period of beauty, quiet, as i enjoy the movies on TMC and AMC.

Winter is necessary

Yes Meg..even humans sort of hibernate...

What Winter Means to Me

I am not sure what winter means to me I have only experienced winter once in the last 16 years. Living in S. Florida and now Southern New Mexico I do not see much winter unless it is on TV.
Maybe this year in Southern New Mexico we may see snow and cold temperatures.

What winter means to me!

I love to watch it snow, but I hate to be out in it, because of the cold, I have Reynaud's Disease, so I get too cold a lot quicker than most people at least in my fingers, toes, nose, and ears. I tried living in Southern California once, but it gets way too hot there in May, winter was great, Spring not so much...we went North then. Right now I live in CO and in a canyon the weather isn't so bad, it does get cold and we usually get some snow, but not a whole lot. Sadly we just had some single digit temps over night the last couple of nights.

Winter?

Just getting more excited for Spring and Summer!

Updated Seasons

We now have 4 updated seasons in the Great Lakes Region... Hot, Cold, Dry, and Wet.
Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter are just a memory.

Winter? Learning to love it again

After spending the first 31 years of my life in upstate NY during the inhospitable winters, and dealing with all of that, I've spent the past 21 years living in a relatively warm part of Japan as a teacher and most recently a farmer.

The only problem with winter here is the lack of central heating and insulation in the buildings. It is literally as cold inside the schools as it is outside, which makes both teaching an interesting English class and learning how to effectively layer clothing vitally important.

I don't miss the cold of an upstate winter, but I do miss the holidays. Stay safe and warm everyone!

Winter in Japan

gene. You say you are in Japan, but it really depends on where you are in Japan. If you are on the southernmost islands, like Okinawa winter is similar to southern California. If you are on the island of Hokkaido you have WINTER! Enen on the main island of Honshu, the weather varies from north to south. Would have been nice to know exactly where you are.

I love winter

Winter has a charm and an old world romantic, nostalgic vibe that other seasons just don't have. I love snow, I loved the hushed feeling, everything that is connected with the winter season. I love driving around the snowy town and seeing how much prettier everything looks in snow. I just feel younger in the winter. In summer, the stifling heat makes it hard to breathe. I don't like sweating or feeling unclean. Winter is my season! I also love Fall.

I love winter

I have loved winter as far back in childhood as I can remember. I must admit though, living in southern California, I never have had to deal with snow unless we drove to the mountains after a winter storm. But I absolutely love the rain and our rainy season is Wintertime. I think my father passed his love of rain to me. I remember so many early rainy mornings in the '80s...Dad & Mom would pack us 3 kids in the car and we'd drive to La Jolla cove and the Children's Pool to watch the huge swells on the ocean and watch the huge waves crashing. It was so exciting.
And since we barely get rain over here in CA...I prefer it over sunny skies any day.

Winter Is For Kids

At 7 years-old, I loved winter. It could mean days off from School. It was a good time for taking the sled down steep hills. At 12 years-old, winter came to mean shovel and sweep the walkways. After the chores it was time to slide down the best hills in the neighbourhood. At 17, winter wasn't any fun at all. All I did was shovel and sweep the walk, stay inside, and pass the hours reading.

At 64 years-old, winter can go to Hell. These days, I feel cold even at 19º C. I now have more complaints about winter, but there is one good thing. I don't have to shovel snow.

Franky and his no more shoveling snow

Hey Franky,
Winter is crisp, clean, and wonderful. How about shoveling yourself with the one you want to grow old with , (? or find a loved one ) and snuggle under a quilt, all warm and comfy; to create some new memories for the winter. Just a smiling thought.
Peace and Blessed Be....

Franky and his snuggles

I like you way of thinking!! ;)

Winter fun!

I LOVE winter. Mostly because of the snow. There's always more high tech layers that can be added, but there's only so much you can take off in the heat of summer. Even that doesn't mean you are cool!
Plus, I come in two colors: white and red. Never brown. Summer means more skin showing, thus more sunblock. Clothes are far easier to put on.

Winter

The first day of winter is the day with the least time between sunrise and sunset. After that the days slowly begin to lengthen. Those who think of winter as being so dark might want to track the times of sunrise and sunset. As for me, I enjoy winter. It is the only time I can see the branches and limbs that define the shapes of the trees. I am amazed to see bird nests that I never suspected were nearby. And the sound of falling snow is a special kind of music.

WINTER SOLSTICE

A day that's short & cold, is custom made to curl up & read, while sipping a hot cup of cocoa with marshmallows melting...

Winter

I am dreading this winter like no other. I am dreading the early darkness. I am dreading the snow. I am dreading the ice. I am dreading the cold. I'm claustrophobic already just thinking about it.

Hello

Winter means freezing tempatures and high ones it means being stuck in snow and bundling up.

Winter solstice

The winter solstice IS NOT the first day of winter? It is half way through from the autumnal equinox to the vernal equinox.

Is Florida ever going to have

Is Florida ever going to have any winters

Florida and winter

Nope, at least not as the world is now. With the warming that is happening, most of Florida will be underwater.

clear this up for me...

11:48pm EST.... Does that mean Winter Solstice for the west coast, PST is three hours later @ 2:48am on the 22nd or at the same time as the east coast... Which would be 8:48pm on the 21.. Mother in law says her west coast edition says 8:48 pm. If so, why do most places I look and most calendars say Dec 22 is winter solstice

When is the winter solstice?

Hi Tina, It depends on your calendar and time zone. Many calendars use Universal Time. The solstice occurs at the same instant everywhere on Earth. In the U.S., it officially occurs 11:48 p.m. EST Monday, 10:48 p.m. Central, 9:48 p.m. Mountain, and 8:48 p.m. Pacific. In Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, this means that the solstice actually comes on Tuesday.
 

Winter Solstice

It is ridiculous to call the Winter Solstice the first day of winter. The winter and summer solstice and the spring and autumn equinoxes are all mid points in the Earth`s orbit around the Sun. Therefore it is much more accurate to refer to the solstice as mid winter and mid summer, as is the case in many European countries.

winter soltice

Hi Phillip, Writing here from England. :-) The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a “calendar of the heavens,” refers to the astronomical winter when we talk about the winter season; this is based on when the sun reaches the most southern point on the globe, the Tropic of Capricorn. 

Also, this is different than the meteorological winter which refers to weather and is the three month period that runs from the 1st of Decemeber through the end of February.

Cheers, your OFA editors

Are you sure?

My mistake. I did not see EST.

Are you sure?

The first day of Winter in 2015 happens on Dec. 22 not the 21st.

dst

I cannot wait until the 21st. I care for my mother, whose attitude toward participating in her rehabilitation is enhanced by Sunlight.

Fake sunlight

If sunlight helps her then you should expose her to a full spectrum light in winter. Many people become depressed in climates where the sun is often obscured by clouds, like Seattle, Washington and in winter when the daylight hours are shorter. (In the Northern hemisphere) Exposure to full spectrum lights improves this condition a LOT. Can't hurt her to try it, right? You need to ask a doctor that is experienced in this to know how long to use the light. Most people who need it sit and read as they are being treated.

Daylight savings time ended

Daylight savings time ended on November 2, 2014 and starts again March 8, 2015.

That means we only have 4 months of Daylight Standard time and 8 months of daylight saving time.

Why bother?

Indiana, Arizona and other states never change and are on Standard time year around.

I live in Illinois so what's the big deal.

Just as much farming in Indiana as Illinois.

An Old Indian Saying goes like this:
"only the government would believe you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom and have a longer blanket"!

My preference is Standard time year round in Illinois.

I totally agree! The

I totally agree! The difference between the latest and earliest sunsets would only be about two hours instead of three, much more natural and easier to adjust.

Contrary to what this report

Contrary to what this report and all media may say, Sunday 12.21.14 is NOT shortest day of year, it is shortest daylight day of year - shortest day of year is in March when clocks are turned back 1 hour, making that day 23 hours and conversely, longest day of year is in November, when clocks are turned ahead, making that day 25 hours

Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your feedback. We have revised the article a bit to make it clearer what we mean by "shortest day." Interesting point about Daylight Saving Time!

Days are not shorter or

Days are not shorter or longer..Daylight is more or less..DST is mans clock not the heavenly clock.

You have that backwards! We

You have that backwards! We turn the clocks AHEAD 1 hr. in March. In November we turn them .BACK 1 hr. Remember: "Spring forward--Fall back".

Technical so and so

Technical so and so

Just split the difference in

Just split the difference in two. Chandelier the tome by 1/2 hour and never look back.

i think the time should be

i think the time should be left alone. The change back and forth effects all of our eternal clocks, causes us to be late and other issues. It just makes for more confusion and adds more difficulties to life. Thanks

Since April of 2006, all

Since April of 2006, all counties in Indiana have observed daylight savings time.

If my memory of history is

If my memory of history is correct when daylight saving time first started, standard & DST were split about equally. Then, in more recent history trying to make maximum productive use of available daylight the politicians went to far into DST: Parents complained that their children we're going to school in the dark. So, a compromise was struck: When it was light enough at 07:00 DST for kids to go to school, that's when ST ended & the reverse.

I live in Indiana on CST and

I live in Indiana on CST and we observe daylight savings time.

Daylight Savings Time

I live in San Diego, Ca. and I am one who loves Daylight Savings Time. I am a musician and I am seldom up before noon. In winter that means I see many few hours than those who work day jobs. My favorite day of the year is when Daylight Time begins and my least favorite time is when Standard time begins. Standard time means less hours I can be in sunlight and the natural warmth it brings. I would hate living in Arizona where they stay on Standard time year round. If I lived in Alaska it might not mean so much to me, due to the 'Midnight Sun'.

I noticed that the winter

I noticed that the winter solstice is conjoined with the dark moon this year. I was reading about how rare it is for the full moon to be conjoined with the solstice but is the dark moon just as rare? This joins a very short duration of light to an extra dark night.

It appears to be just as

It appears to be just as rare. Looking into dates up to 2025, a new Moon (or full Moon) won't be occurring at the same time as the winter solstice for at least the next 11 years (and beyond). A first quarter Moon will occur at the same time as the winter solstice in 2020, at least in North American time zones.

Pam your comment is so

Pam your comment is so poetic! I was just searching to find the winter solstice date for 2014 and came upon these curious and interesting comments. Yours is delightful. I hope you are a writer, if not please consider it! Thanks.

Dark Moon

It's not a Dark Moon that occurs on Dec 24 2015.
It is a Cold Moon; because the midwinter night is long, and the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. It has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun, thus the name Cold Moon.

When I find wooley bear

When I find wooley bear cattipilars in the fall I noticed that when they are more black than orange the winter seems really cold and snowey, when they are more orange than black the winter seems to be milder. I've been keeping track for over 25 years now and they are always right.

What you didn't say was how

What you didn't say was how were the little wooley bears this year :)

What will the weather be on

What will the weather be on Christmas Eve And Christmas Day? I've been wondering because I couldn't find it on the website. I hope it will SNOW!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving,
Madison Flanders

Hi, Madison: We had a great

Hi, Madison: We had a great Thanksgiving -- thanks! -- and we hope you did, too. This is an excellent question! At the top of Almanac.com, click on Weather. Then: Long-Range Weather Forecast. Then, even though the title says "2015 Long-Range Weather Forecast" -- and we want December 2014 -- enter your zip or postal code and hit Search. This will take you to a page where you can buy the 2015 Long-Range Forecasts ($4.95) for your locale, BUT it also gives you the next two months (Dec. 2014 and Jan. 2015) for FREE, without buying anything. Here you will find the forecasts for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for your area. Thanks for asking, and Merry Christmas from the OFA!

What if most history that we

What if most history that we have been taught is false...if u ask questions about Stonehenge from a religious perspective u will receive a man made answer...look at the crop circles that are being created by light beings(Orbs) right beside Stonehenge and study the ancient math of the Egyptians...connect the dots and u will have your own personal answer...your personal journey...it is not about following what u see but what u feel is true to your heart...feel the energy at these places and know there is no separation in all that exists...God is there in your heart...not from a man made god... but the essence of the God that lies within us all.

Crop circles have been proven

Crop circles have been proven to be man made.

SOME crop circles are man

SOME crop circles are man made, that does not mean that ALL crop circles are man made. Think, do not be gullible. Use your intellect, exercise your ability to reason, and some logic, it is fun once you get the hang of it. Remember that there is much, much more that we do not know, compared to all that we think we do.

Don't confuse me with facts -

Don't confuse me with facts - I've made up my mind.

Don't follow what you see, but what you feel!? What a load of claptrap.

Here in Ireland there is a

Here in Ireland there is a structure that pre-dates the great pyramid of giza by 500 years and it only allows light to pass into its inner chamber on the winter solstice, it's called Newgrange and it is thought to be the oldest man made enclosed building in the world!

how very neat. I have Ireland

how very neat. I have Ireland on my bucket list and would love to see it one day. I think this would be very neat to go and see while I am there.

I have been to Ireland

I have been to Ireland several times and only found Newgrange in 2010. It was by far one of the most intriguing and interesting sites in Ireland.

I was there in '99. Within

I was there in '99. Within the same week I located the stone circle that is the Summer Solstice sacred spot. I met my dear pal Mary there. Now I can't remember where it was just that it was way in the country & hard to find. Do you know?

The only place that springs

The only place that springs to mind would be the Grange stone circle in Limerick, did you visit or travel through a village called Bruff by any chance?

A note: If there is duplicate

A note: If there is duplicate posting on our site, we will remove it, especially if we have already responded. You may also find it interesting to reference our overall Seasons page: http://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-seasons
Thank you, the OFA

LOVE FOLLOWING WEATHER

LOVE FOLLOWING WEATHER PREDICTIONS AND FORCASTS. BUT WONDERING ABOUT THE UPPER MID-WEST {N.W.IL. AREA,} Silvis IL FOR snow prediction 2013-14. We moved here in 2011 an have had 2 really mild snowfall. THE 2010-11 YR I WAS TOLD chicago got 2ft of snow.Could this be the yr...I moved from Eastern Pa.after 65 yrs.

I have heard that hares and

I have heard that hares and foxes turned white in winter but this the first time I have seen an albino "chicken".

The chicken is a white

The chicken is a white leghorn. They are one of the best egg layers and are a white breed, not actually an albino.

last winter here in oregon

last winter here in oregon (willamette valley) there was no snow at low levels (250 feet) or, about sea level. i'm 57- it was the only winter with no snow i can recall.and for some odd reason in my garden i could not seem to persuade my pumpkins or winter squash to do much - in fact there were no pumpkins bigger than a softball (coulda been my fault) and turban squash grew at first then rotted on the vine. sunflowers grew, tomatoes somewhat lethargic also. for 15 years i religiously bought the Almanac. still have them too. can i access your archives on computer ? greg field independence or.

is there any correlation to

is there any correlation to moon cycles and the solstice? i noticed this year it is 7 days after the half moon, twelve days between new and full [25th dec]. any lunar winter solstice that corresponds in historic calanders, like the aramaic lunar calander used in 4ad?

The orbit of the Moon around

The orbit of the Moon around Earth, and of Earth around the Sun, are independent of one another, so there is no direct correlation between Moon phase and the seasons. However, Greek astronomer Meton observed that 19 solar (tropical) years approximately equals 235 synodic (lunar) months. That means that every 19 years, the Moon phases usually recur on the same dates of the solar calendar year. (For example, in 2012, the Full Moon on Nov 28, the Last Quarter on Dec 6, etc., would also occur on those dates in 2031, or very close to it--it's not a perfect formula.) Called the Metonic cycle, it was used in calculations for ancient lunar and lunisolar calendars (such as the Hebrew calendar), as well as in calculations for the date of Easter in the Julian calendar. For lunisolar calendars, often an extra month would be added about every 3 years to keep it in sync with the seasons.

(Callippus refined the Metonic cycle later, and Hipparchus refined it even more.)

Hope this helps!

how bad will the winter be in

how bad will the winter be in ohio

To find our long-range

To find our long-range weather forecast for your area, go to: http://www.almanac.com/weather... and type in your zip code, or your city/state. It will give you our predictions for the current month and next month (Nov/Dec now).

To find out our weather predictions for the entire year, you can purchase a copy of The 2013 Old Farmer's Almanac online at Almanac.com/Store or by calling 1-800-ALMANAC. You can also buy the Almanac wherever books and magazines are sold in your area. Thank you!

Thanks for pointing out that

Thanks for pointing out that winter's arrival will be earlier this year than since 1896. Can you provide any historical context about the end of winter? (i.e., will the 2012 vernal equinox of 7:02am EDT be earlier or later than usual?)

The vernal equinox of 2012

The vernal equinox of 2012 (March 20 at 1:14 am EDT; March 19 at 10:14 pm PDT) was the earliest since 1896, but the vernal equinox of 2013 is not quite as spectacular, starting on March 20 at 7:02 am EDT; March 20 at 4:02 am PDT.

It looks like the next time that the vernal equinox will occur on March 19 in PDT will be in 2016 (at about 9:30 pm PDT); for EDT, in 2020 (at about 11:50 pm EDT). But even in EDT, the vernal equinox of 2016 will be earlier than the one in 2012: March 20 at about 12:30 am EDT.

How bad will the winter be?

How bad will the winter be? I will tell you on June 1, 2013. To me a bad winter would be one without snow!

how bad will winter be for

how bad will winter be for southern west missouri will there be alot of snow

There will be record breaking

There will be record breaking snow fall this year

Look for 8-10ft in your area

Was the first day of winter

Was the first day of winter 2012, December 21, 2011?

The winter solstice in 2011

The winter solstice in 2011 was on December 22 at 12:30 A.M. (EST). The first day of winter for 2012 is on December 21 at 6:12 A.M.

Will Almanac Staff be

Will Almanac Staff be responding to an earlier comment I read here in Nov.2013 referring to Winter Solstice being the middle of winter, not the beginning of winter?

Signs of winter: Juncos

Signs of winter: Juncos (snowbirds), like robins announce spring, snowbirds announce that winter has arrived.

I agree! These have been my

I agree! These have been my winter and spring signs for many years.

@DruidJames Your note on

@DruidJames
Your note on Stonehenge is slightly misleading in that it speaks as though it is established and verifiable fact. Considering that the builders left no written record and not even the most intimately involved researchers debate as to who began construction, one would be wise to recognize that it is not as straight forward as all that. Construction was done over a 1,700 year period with additions and changes made along the way.

Furthermore, the Druid's (as opposed to modern day neo-druids) association with Stonehenge has been thoroughly dispelled in T.D. Kendrick, The Druids: A Study in Keltic Prehistory.

While most of what you say regarding the stones positioning is more or less true, the purpose has never been ascertained, again mainly due to the lack of a written record, however scholars now are convinced that it was likely a place of ancestor worship and death rituals (funerals and burials)- "cremated remains found on the site indicate that deposits contain human bone material from as early as 3000 BC, when the initial ditch and bank were first dug. Such deposits continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years." (See Schmid, Randolph E. "Study: Stonehenge was a burial site for centuries" for more info)

All this to say that posting Notes for informational purposes is great, but readers must use a great deal of discernment in accepting their accuracy.

Note on Stonehenge. It was

Note on Stonehenge.
It was Built by the village Brehon's or Priest. We know them as Druids. It was built on the convergence of land lines or energy lines of the land. They used the stones as markers of the cycle of the year. To mark when to begin planting or harvesting. The major cycles of the year are marked by the equinox and solstice of the seasons and the cross quarters of same.
They then celebrated the seasons of change and through the posative energies they assured themselves and the land a posative outcome.

Co-opting a pre-existing

Co-opting a pre-existing human-made creation and claiming it for one's religious beliefs is hubris at its most annoying. Christians have done this time and time again. Please avoid repeating their mistakes. There is as much evidence to support your assertions as there is to support creationism. Paganism is a wonderful thing (I know - I am a pagan); but willful ignorance is not. Passing off one's faith as fact is to be avoided at all times because while facts are facts, faiths will differ.

+1

+1

Oh dear - DruidJames is

Oh dear - DruidJames is plainly incorrect according to all the available evidence and Mairi speaks a good deal of sense (and I am not a pagan).

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