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Author Topic: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st  (Read 14478 times)

bamford6

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The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« on: December 20, 2010, 11:54:53 am »
The shortest day, winter solstice and midwinter are the colloquial terms used to describe the 24 hours around an annual astronomical event which occurs around the 22nd December. The shortest day marks the point when the days start to get longer and the nights shorter, and has profound cultural meaning around the world and throughout history. The cultural significance varies, but generally refers to a time of rebirth and renewal and is celebrated with festivals and rituals.The solstice itself may have been a special moment of the annual cycle of the year even during neolithic times. Astronomical events, which during ancient times controlled the mating of animals, sowing of crops and metering of winter reserves between harvests, show how various cultural mythologies and traditions have arisen. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites such as Stonehenge in Britain and Newgrange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise (New Grange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge). Significant in respect of Stonehenge is the fact that the Great Trilithon was erected outwards from the centre of the monument, i.e., its smooth flat face was turned towards the midwinter Sun. The winter solstice may have been immensely important because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months. Starvation was common in winter between January and April, also known as the famine months. In temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began. Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was almost the only time of year when a supply of fresh meat was available. The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but the beginning of the pre-Romanized day, which falls on the previous
Since the event is seen as the reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common and, in cultures using winter solstitially based cyclic calendars, the year as reborn has been celebrated with regard to life-death-rebirth deities or new beginnings such as Hogmanay's redding, a New Year cleaning tradition.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2010, 11:58:30 am by bamford6 »

bamford6

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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2010, 11:56:47 am »
Will Tuesday Be the Darkest Day in 456 Years

Break out the flashlights. When a full lunar eclipse takes place on the shortest day of the year, the planet may just get awfully dark. 
The upcoming Dec. 21 full moon -- besides distinguishing itself from the others in 2010 by undergoing a total eclipse -- will also take place on the same date as the solstice (the winter solstice if you live north of the equator, and the summer solstice if you live to the south).
Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and marks the official beginning of winter. The sun is at its lowest in our sky because the North Pole of our tilted planet is pointing away from it.
So, how often does the December full moon coincide with the solstice? To answer this question, let's use Universal Time (UT), also sometimes referred to as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). We do this because in answering this question, it's important to define a specific time zone.
For example, if you live in Honolulu, this December's full moon does not fall on the date of the solstice. Hawaii Time runs 10 hours behind GMT and the full moon occurs on Dec. 20 at 10:13 p.m. local time, while the solstice comes the following day at 1:38 p.m. Alaska, too, will have the full moon and the solstice occur on these respective dates, but in a time zone one hour later than Hawaii.



princesspiggy

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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2010, 12:23:53 pm »
did u watch the Time Team special on stongehenge ? really interesting but threw old theories out. cant wait for days to get longer!!  :wave:

ellied

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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2010, 12:46:11 pm »
I will gladly go outdoors and do some form of ritual tomorrow to ensure the return of the sun - it will be a very short one but very heartfelt, just as I'm sure our ancestors would have prayed at a time when survival was so uncertain and the winter so much more dangerous without heating or solid walls even :o

My post-ritual celebration won't be newly slaughtered cow or sheep but is more likely to be hot soup or a baked tattie, and no less celebratory for that ;)

Interesting it's 456 years since the last full moon/full lunar eclipse/solstice simultaneously occurred - I'd best look up history sites to see what happened as a result, just to be prepared as I'm not sure if it's a good sign, an omen, or what it's a sign of?  Anyone know what happened in GMT time zone in December 1554 or shortly thereafter?
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Daveravey

  • Joined Jul 2009
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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2010, 12:51:51 pm »
How can they say it's gonna be the darkest day in 456 years when light meters were only invented in the last 100 years ?

It's Yule tomorrow as well

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2010, 02:26:31 pm »
Does anyone else celebrate the Solstice?  We do with just a quiet day going over the year past and planning for the coming one.  We have a celebratory evening meal of home grown produce - this time it will be roast gigot of hogget with potatoes and sprouts or kale (whichever doesn't shatter when I pick it) followed by a Yule log (which will be a log-shaped Christmas cake)  We bring in a freshly felled log from our coppice and keep it in the hearth until next year.  It is decorated with things which have particular symbolic significance to us, spun and woven.  Last years log is then put on the fire.  It's not the same as the traditional yule log, but is our own ceremony.
Any idea what time the eclipse of the moon will be in Britain?
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Rosemary

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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2010, 02:29:15 pm »
I quite like the idea of celebrating the two solstices - they probably mean more to us than religious festivals. I can't get Christmas at all this year.

lazybee

  • Joined Mar 2010
Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2010, 04:09:20 pm »
I think it falls on the 22nd this year ???

bamford6

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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2010, 04:56:18 pm »
at least we will get   lighter days

knightquest

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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2010, 06:02:31 pm »
I'm not sure if it's a good sign, an omen, or what it's a sign of? 

I think it's a sign called coincidence.......................sorry, I'm very matter of fact  :)

ian
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doganjo

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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2010, 06:34:39 pm »
Same as me, Ian.  Black is black, white is white, grey is grey. ::) ;D ;D ;D
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

ellied

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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2010, 07:46:27 pm »
Ah well, each to their own - I will celebrate solstice, Christmas isn't for me :) Not so sure about black white and grey any more, I prefer colours to monochrome and lots of shades and textures too for preference ;)

Eclipse is due in northern Europe around dawn with maximum point at 816 but as the moon is setting during that period we apparently will only see the start from around 740..  Yes I googled it ::)

 
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Bright Raven

  • Joined May 2010
  • North Shropshire
Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2010, 10:44:45 pm »
I'm not sure if it's a good sign, an omen, or what it's a sign of? 

I think it's a sign called coincidence.......................sorry, I'm very matter of fact  :)

ian

Ahhh yes but what if all coincidences are spiritual puns?
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If I am here it's because I am putting my feet up!

Bright Raven

  • Joined May 2010
  • North Shropshire
Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2010, 10:55:49 pm »
It might be nice to try and plant a tree, I have seven fruit trees that need to go in, but the ground is so hard at the moment I don't think I would succeed. I have also saved all the blood from my turkeys which I bled out into a bucket of wood chippings, that would I am sure make a fantastic fertilizer and please the old gods at the same time, not to mention resourcefully nourishing the earth.

Last year I opened the front door and the back door to let the old year out and the new year in. I burnt incense and asked for a more productive year and traced a pentagram on my kitchen table with the dust.
This year I will light a candle and stop cursing the darkness. - I have also made a note on the kitchen wall to be prepared for power cuts.

I humbly offer my mysticism and pragmatism in one post.
Julia xxx 3 acres and a day job!!!! Chickens, Turkeys, Sheep, Pigs, Veggies and Homebrew. Husband, son, pets, chutney and music.
If I am here it's because I am putting my feet up!

doganjo

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Re: The shortest day, winter solstice december 21st
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2010, 11:02:26 pm »
Last year I opened the front door and the back door to let the old year out and the new year in. I burnt incense and asked for a more productive year and traced a pentagram on my kitchen table with the dust.
I do too, providing there isn't a freezing cold howling gale outside  ::)  So sometimes my superstitions get the better of me  ;D
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

 

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