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Winter Solstice

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Winter Solstice

Post  Bad Wolf on Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:43 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice
The winter solstice occurs at the instant when the Sun's position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane as the observer. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the event of the Winter solstice occurs sometime between December 20 and 23 each year in the Northern hemisphere, and between June 20 and 23 in the Southern Hemisphere, and the winter solstice occurs during either the shortest day or the longest night of the year (not to be confused with the darkest day or nights). Though the Winter Solstice lasts an instant, the term is also used to refer to the full 24-hour period (day and night) within which the event occurs. A more accurate usage might be the "day of the winter solstice" or the "night of/before the winter solstice".

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.

The seasonal significance of the Winter solstice can be a controversial subject, since it is sometimes said to astronomically mark both the beginning or middle of a hemisphere's Winter. Winter is a subjective term, so there is no scientifically established beginning or middle of winter but the Winter Solstice is itself clearly defined.

The word solstice derives from Latin sol (Sun) and sistere (stand still), Winter Solstice meaning Sun stand still in winter.
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Christmas or Christ's Mass is one of most popular Christian celebrations as well as one of the most globally recognized midwinter celebrations. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the God Incarnate or Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth, later known as Jesus Christ. The birth is observed on December 25th, which was the winter solstice upon establishment of the Julian Calendar in 45 BC. Banned by the Catholic Church in its infancy as a pagan, or non-Abrahamic, practice stemming out of the Sol Invictus celebrations, Christians revitalized its recognition as an authentic Christian festival in various cultures within the past several hundred years, preserving much of the folklore and traditions of local pagan festivals. So today, the old festivals such as Jul, Коледа and Karácsony, are still celebrated in many parts of Europe, but the Christian Nativity is now often representational of the meaning. This is why Yule and Christmas are considered interchangeable in Anglo-Christendom. Universal activities include feasting, midnight masses and singing Christmas carols about the Nativity. Good deeds and gift giving in the tradition of St. Nicholas by not admitting to being the actual gift giver is also observed by some countries. Many observe the holiday for twelve days leading up to the Epiphany.
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http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/1221/solstice.html
[quote]
An attempt to use modern technology to share an ancient Irish tradition with the world failed this morning in Newgrange, Co Meath. While the stream for this morning's Winter Solstice illumination of the passage and chamber at Newgrange was working, Heritage Ireland's web servers was unable to handle the heavy traffic during the 8am hour.

If conditions remain good, tomorrow's sun rise will also be available to view online. The star will illuminate the passage and chamber between 8.58am and 9.15am GMT.
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Just 20 people are able to be in the chamber for the event. A lottery is held annually to choose the lucky few. To watch tomorrow's webcast, just go to rte.ie/news.

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