Winter Solstice: 4 Traditions You Can Adopt to Mark the Shortest Day of the Year
Welcome the First Day of Winter!
The astronomical first day of winter and the shortest day of the year in America and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere is on December 21st, 2021. It’s the winter solstice, which is timed at 10:59 a.m. EST on that day.
On this day, we’ll experience the fewest hours of sunlight in the whole year, making it the shortest day and longest night of the year. On the other hand, people living in the Southern Hemisphere will experience their shortest night and longest day.
A solstice is an astronomical event caused by the tilt of Earth’s axis and by its orbital motion around the Sun. It’s this tilt — not our distance from the Sun — that causes winter and summer. Even though the Earth is closest to the Sun at the turn of every new year, we in the Northern Hemisphere are moving into winter. That’s because the Northern Hemisphere leans farthest away from the Sun at around this time.
What People in Other Countries Do at This Time of the Year
People in various parts of the world have different beliefs and celebrations related to the winter solstice.
In China, people celebrate the Dong Zhi, or the “arrival of winter” festival. Families prepare special foods, such as tang yuan (glutinous rice balls), for this occasion.
In the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, and Denmark), they celebrate St. Lucia’s around the time of the winter solstice. Although the celebration is meant to honor St. Lucia, a Christian martyr, it has been incorporated with earlier Norse solstice traditions, such as lighting fires to ward off spirits during the longest night.
In Iran, people celebrate the Shab-e Yalda festival. It is viewed traditionally as the victory of light over dark, and the birthday of the sun-god Mithra. Families celebrate the day by feasting on special foods such as nuts and pomegranates. Some stay awake all night long to welcome the morning sun.
Winter Solstice Traditions You Can Adopt
Here in the United States, you and your family can adopt some of the traditions followed in other countries as you prepare to welcome the winter solstice. Here are four of them:
- Light a Yule candle.
You can create an altar and place on top objects representing the things that bring you peace and joy. Surround the altar with candles. The candles represent the sun shining on the things that bring you happiness.
- Watch the sunrise.
While the days are shorter during winter, the sun can still bring you warmth as it shines on your face and the beauty that surrounds you.
- Enjoy a winter feast.
Celebrate the start of the winter with foods that will warm your hearts and your bellies.
- Have a winter solstice bath.
Enjoy a bath using essential oils that represent the energy of the sun.
Warm Up the Hearts of the Needy This Winter Solstice
Just like the sun, you can warm the hearts of people living miserable lives in your community. They include the men and women who are burdened by disabilities, lack of job experience, essential skills, or education, and other personal impediments, such as having prison records.
If you have a car that you no longer need, you can use it to improve the lives of these folks. All you have to do is hand over that vehicle to us at Goodwill Car Donations. We will use your donation to provide them with opportunities to harness their full potential so they can achieve financial stability and start living productive and fulfilling lives.
We will put your vehicle up for auction and turn over the proceeds to the Goodwill organizations serving your area. These IRS-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofits cater to disadvantaged Americans, using the funding sourced from vehicle donations to provide them with job and skills training, vocational services, scholarships, financial aid, mentoring and internship assistance, disability benefits, family support, and other types of support services.
As a Goodwill donor, you’ll enjoy meaningful returns for your generosity. These include the free towing of your unwanted vehicle and your entitlement to the highest possible tax deduction in the next tax season.
Moreover, nothing compares to the joy and satisfaction you’d feel, knowing that your charitable contribution will greatly benefit your community in terms of the jobs that it will help create for the empowerment of your less fortunate fellow residents.
To get to know our quick and easy vehicle donation process and other details, head over to our FAQs page. Should you have any questions or concerns, you may call us through our toll-free hotline at 866-233-8586. You may also write to us here.
Make a Difference in Your Community Today!
Make your celebration of the winter solstice extra special by supporting disadvantaged individuals in your community at this time of the year. Make a difference in their lives with a simple auto donation. Call Goodwill Car Donations at 866-233-8586 or fill out our online donation form now!