New Delhi: Google marked winter solstice — the shortest day and the longest night of the year — with a wintry doodle that captures the cold December vibe. Winter solstice happens once every year in December when one of the Earth’s poles is tilted away from the Sun to the maximum.
The word “solstice” is derived from the Latin solstitium meaning “sun stands still.” The day and time of the solstice vary each year.
Also known as midwinter, the phenomena occurs twice a year, once in each hemisphere.
In the Northern Hemisphere it is the December solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s June solstice.
In the Northern Hemisphere, it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, located at 23.5° south of the equator. This tilt in Earth’s axis of rotation gives different parts of the planet more exposure to the Sun at different times of the year.
In December, the Earth’s North Pole turns away from the Sun, giving the Southern Hemisphere the most sunlight.
At Stonehenge, people come together to celebrate and capture the moment when the sun directly aligns with the famous stones.
In Ireland, people gather days before the solstice at Newgrange — a massive gravesite that’s more than 5,000 years old. The crowd awaits chance to see the sunrise light up the ancient passage tomb.
The Chinese refer to the Winter Solstice as Dongzhi Festival while the locals enjoy rice balls meaning “family reunion.” This treat is said to bring prosperity and unity-something all of us can enjoy on this auspicious day.