Winter solstice : All you should know about year’s shortest day and longest night

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New Delhi : Winter Solstice, which marks the beginning of Christmas and New Year celebrations worldwide, is today. The world will today witness a rare astronomical event which is going to happen after 800 years. December 21 will be the shortest day of the year 2020, while the night will be the longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice usually takes place between December 19 and 23. This year, it is today on December 21 (Monday). The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.

Very few people are able to witness this astronomical event in their lifetime. That is why it is being called the Great Conjunction. According to the US space agency NASA, both planets, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen very close to each other in the evening. At the time of this event, the distance of the Jupiter from the Earth will be about 5.924 Astronomical units and the distance of Saturn will be 10.825 Astronomical units. The two planets will certainly look very close but will actually be more than 73 million km (733860864 km) from each other.

What is winter solstice?
The winter solstice, marking the beginning of festivals and rituals, is also known as the hiemal solstice or hibernal solstice. It occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun.

Holidays during winter solstice –
Below is the list of holidays marked worldwide, on the winter solstice day:

– Alban Arthan (Welsh)
– Blue Christmas (holiday) (Western Christian)
– Brumalia (Ancient Rome)
– Dongzhi Festival (East Asia)
– Korochun (Slavic)
– Sanghamitta Day (Theravada Buddhism)
– Shalako (Zuni)
– Yaldā (Iran)
– Yule in the Northern Hemisphere (Neopagan)
– Ziemassvētki (ancient Latvia)
– Midwinter Day (Antarctica)

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