The 2015 Winter Solstice falls on Monday, December 21, 2015 at 11:48 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory. This annual astronomical event occurs at the precise moment the Northern Hemisphere is tilted farthest away from the sun. Which make it the shortest day of the year, and the longest night of the year.*
You can celebrate the winter solstice by watching the sun set. Where permitted, light a bonfire and gather around it to tell stories or sing Christmas carols. (“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” can be adapted to “We Wish You a Merry Solstice” for this occasion.) Or simply observe the night sky and look for constellations.
Lights are an important focal point of solstice celebrations. With the day turning to darkness so early in the North, it is cheering to look out into the cold and dark at lights sparkling and glittering in the crisp air. This would be a good night for driving around the neighborhood to look at all the Christmas lights.
The Winter Solstice is also called Yule. The name “Yule” derives from the Norse word for “wheel,” to identify the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowpoint, ready to rise again. If you have a fireplace, fire up your Yule log. If you don’t have a fireplace, gather around your lighted indoor Christmas tree and sing carols. Or have a candlelight dinner.
In Clown Town, the Longest Night of the Year is a festive occasion for Loonette and her clown family to exchange gifts, sing songs and, best of all, stay up all night long to watch the most beautiful sunrise of the year! They welcome the return of the light while wishing each other gifts of comfort and joy in the video below.
*Solstices are opposite on either side of the equator, so the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa.