On December 21, at exactly 16:58, the winter solstice begins. Then it is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Winter will last until March 20, 2022.
In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice begins every year on December 21 or 22, while in the southern hemisphere, the date is June 20 or 21. The winter solstice occurs when the northern hemisphere of the Earth moves as far away from the Sun as possible. While winter begins on this date in our country, summer begins in the southern hemisphere and is the longest day of the year.
The first day of winter has been marked differently throughout history. Because of the short days, December is called the darkest month, and in the past, people thought the Sun would disappear. When they realized that the days would be longer again, they started celebrating. In many cultures, the arrival of the winter solstice was once celebrated with various rituals because it marked the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun. To get rid off bad habits and negative feelings and hope for a better tomorrow with longer and sunnier days.
The Romans celebrated the festival of the birth of the Invincible Sun, while in ancient Egypt the god Osiris died on December 21, and after midnight priests would take the child out of the temple and hint that Osiris was born again.
The Celts celebrated the winter solstice as the day when the sun deity travels through the underworld and learns the secrets of life and death, while in Persian times in Iran it was believed that the god of light and truth Mithras was born on the first day of winter.
Even today, in some countries, this day is celebrated with various festivals and celebrations. So in Sweden, people gather around a bonfire, make toasts and tell stories.
Makar Sankranti, one of the most important festivals of the year, is held in India. The celebration is dedicated to the Sun's journey to the northern hemisphere, which brings longer days and allows for a good harvest.
Canada hosts a lantern release festival that people can make themselves. The custom includes dancing, entertainment, music and food.
In the UK there is a famous celebration of the winter solstice in Stonehenge, the famous stone remains where visitors have the opportunity to enter the high mysterious stone circle for the sunrise ceremony under organized guidance. This traditional celebration has been held for over a thousand years.
Regardless of various customs around the world, what winter certainly brings are longer days and shorter nights. This means more daylight, sun, vitamin D, more positivity, outdoor activities, socializing. The fact is that the emotional, mental and physical condition of the Earth's population improves in direct proportion to the increase in the length of daylight. Even a small (a few minutes) prolongation of the day immediately after the winter solstice has a noticeable positive effect on human health. The positive effect of sunlight on the body is explained by the increase in the production of the hormone serotonin, which controls the emotions of happiness and joy.
In January, daylight at Zagreb's latitude averages 7 hours and 51 minutes. February 9 hours 38 minutes. In March its duration reaches 11 hours 51 minutes, in April 14 hours 11 minutes, in May 16 hours 14 minutes. In the fall, the light hours continue to decrease.
In September and October, its duration is 12 hours 45 minutes and 10 hours 27 minutes, respectively. The last cold dark months of the year, November and December, are known for record short bright days, whose average day length does not exceed 8 hours 22 minutes and 7 hours 16 minutes, respectively.