Have you ever wondered about the difference between an equinox and a solstice?
According to the National Weather Service an equinox is one of the “two times of the year when the Earth’s axis is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun, resulting in a “nearly” equal amount of daylight and darkness at all latitudes.” The Equinoxes occur in the Spring (Vernal) and Autumn (Autumnal).
A solstice occurs “at the moment the earth’s tilt toward from the sun is at a maximum. Therefore, on the day of the summer solstice, the sun appears at its highest elevation with a noontime position that changes very little for several days before and after the summer solstice… The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. ”
So on this day, December 21, 2017 we are experiencing the shortest day and longest night of the year. Is it any wonder so many cultures and religious traditions celebrate light during this season?
Winter Solstice is observed as a Pagan Holiday with ritual and celebration involving light, including bonfires. We know that our own celebration of Christmas includes traditions and practices “borrowed” from other cultures and religions. So on this shortest day and longest night of the year it seems fitting to at least take a few moments to stop and reflect on the light that shines in the darkness no matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs. Light a candle, or a bonfire or set out luminaria along your driveway, hang lights on you house, put a great big smile on your face and let that light shine!