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Winter solstice is a time of renewal

by Lauren Yanks

Throughout the ages, a variety of cultures have viewed the winter solstice as a time for celebration and renewal. The tilt of the earth’s axis makes the winter solstice the shortest day — and longest night — of the year. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the word solstice comes from the roots “sol,” which means sun, and “stit,” which means stand. In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice usually falls on Dec. 21 or 22.

“The winter solstice is a day when we’re reminded that we are on a planet, and the seasons are cyclical,” said Jim Metzner, producer of the “Pulse of the Planet” radio series. “It’s a visceral reminder of the seasons passing. It’s a time of renewal, and a time when art and culture and science collide. It re-invokes the question of who we are.”

In ancient times, winter was very challenging for those living in the north. When the growing season ended, people lived on stored food and whatever animals remained. People feared the sun would disappear forever, leaving them hungry and cold. Partaking in rituals that honored the natural world helped to ensure the sun’s return and continued life.

Read the original article at: Poughkeepsie Journal

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