Winter Solstice happens on a busy day. As if being the Mayan Doomsday isn’t enough, today is the shortest day of the year, which is what the Winter Solstice is.
Astronomically, Winter Solstice represents the shortest day and the longest night, when the sun is lowest on the horizon in the northern hemisphere. After 12-21-12, the days will get longer. 12-21-12 marks the first day of winter–known to the ancients as the starving time or the dark time. Daylight on Friday, December 21, 2012 will officially be 9 hours, 26 minutes long. Winter begins at 11:09 a.m. (The Washington Post says 6:12 a.m. but who’s counting?)
The Capital Weather Gang reports some interesting facts HERE.
Winter was a very terrifying time for ancient people. Darkness consumed much of their day. Freezing temperatures, snow, ice and freezing rain made life difficult and dangerous. Survival was never a sure thing. Too much snow could trap the ancients inside their shelters which were usually caves. Those who couldn’t get out often died of thirst and hunger. Its no wonder that rituals began and the night before winter began was one of merriment–a little cheer to tide the folks over until spring.