Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Halfway Out of the Dark

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone! 

Depending on where you live, the winter solstice is either today (if you live in or west of CST) or tomorrow (if you live east of CST).  The article I linked to above shows you how to determine the approximate time the solstice occurs for you.  I live in EST, so for me it's 12:30am on December 22.

Photo by Andrew Dunn
This is probably not a big surprise seeing as I am a bit of a nerd who throws parties in honor of things like the Perseid meteor shower, but I really like that tradtions such as adorning our houses with Christmas lights and candles and burning a Yule log originated from the fact that winter solstice (a function of the earth's axial tilt and its position in relation to the sun) marks when the nights start to get shorter and the days get longer.  I'm also a fan of the fact that using evergreens to decorate the home symbolizes the persistence of life in the dead of winter. 

So much of the imagery and symbolism behind this season is just so hopeful and optimistic, and because much of it is actually rooted in astronomy just makes it that cooler!

Last year's Doctor Who Christmas special (if you haven't watched it, you should!) used the term "halfway out of the dark" to describe this time of year.  Personally, I think that's a fantastic description, both from a literal and metaphorical perspective. :-)

(Speaking of which, 4 days til this year's Christmas special!  Is anyone else going through Doctor Who withdrawal??)


  1. dont hate me but I've never seen an episode of Doctor Who. Please still be my friend.

  2. I love the astronomy side of things! I've been watching so many How the Universe Works etc things on NetFlix lately. Not looking forward to next winter solstice, though...too much stress, whether it ends up being justified or not.


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