Some Words on Winter Solstice

By Juna Nagle


With short days and long nights, the signs of winter have commenced. Even though darkness sweeps the town early, the rise of a great light is about to come of it.  The celebration of the winter solstice.

Winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, opposed to the summer solstice, which is the longest. On winter solstice, which falls on Wednesday,  December 21st, Vermont will only see eight hours and 49 minutes of sunlight . The sunrise will be at 7:46 AM and the sun set will be at 4:16 PM - barely longer than our school day.

All over the world, the winter solstice is celebrated, and in many cultures the winter solstice is marked as the day where we begin to see more light again. Because of this, there are many celebrations in which symbolize the rebirth of the Sun. In Rome, they celebrate it as the day of Saturn; the Christian community traditionally burns yule logs to give offerings to God. In parts of Pakistan there is a seven day long festival called Chaomos, in which Pakistanis light torches, dance, chant, and take part in a purifying process. Many of people all over the world take part of a winter solstice ritual without even realizing it. It is believed that the birth of Christ was chosen by angels on December 25th because it is after the winter solstice, meaning Christ was born on a day where more and more light begins to emerge on the northern hemisphere.

To celebrate the winter solstice ,there are many activities that you can do here in Vermont.  The ECHO Center in Burlington has assorted solstice related activities from December 27th through the 3rd. Here in Montpelier you can be a part of the solstice celebration by participating at the Ice on Fire Winter Festival at the North Branch Nature Center. At Ice on Fire, dancing and singing and all sorts of art forms will be abundant. Also, in Burlington at Oakledge Park, there is a celebration all night for the longest night of the year.