Winter Solstice and Holidays

ONE PIECE OF EARTH SCIENCE THAT IS NO LONGER A MYSTERY; IS THE SOLSTICE. YOU’VE PROBABLY BEEN NOTICING THAT THE DAYS JUST SEEM TO BE GETTING SHORTER AND SHORTER...WELL, THAT’S BECAUSE THEY ARE! WE’RE SLOWLY MARCHING TOWARD THE WINTER SOLSTICE! THE WINTER SOLSTICE IS THE SHORTEST DAY OF THE YEAR, AND IT HAPPENS BECAUSE OUR SECTION OF THE EARTH, THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE, IS TILTED AWAY FROM THE SUN AS IT SLOWLY ORBITS.

THIS YEAR, THE WINTER SOLSTICE IS DECEMBER 21ST -- AND IT’S NO COINCIDENCE THAT IT FALLS WITHIN THE HOLIDAY SEASON. IN FACT, FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS MANY RELIGIONS AND CULTURES HAVE HELD TRADITIONAL CELEBRATIONS ON OR NEAR THE SOLSTICE. FOR MANY, THESE TRADITIONS INVOLVED A CELEBRATION OF LIGHT. 

LIGHT IS STILL VERY MUCH A PART OF THE HOLIDAY TRADITIONS WE HOLD TODAY. THOSE WHO OBSERVE HANUKAH LIGHT A CANDLE ON THE MENORAH ON EACH OF THE 8 DAYS OF THE JEWISH HOLIDAY. SIMILARLY, THOSE WHO CELEBRATE KWANZAA LIGHT ONE CANDLE ON THEIR TRADITIONAL CANDLEHOLDER -- CALLED A KINARA – ON EACH DAY OF THE WEEKLONG CELEBRATION. AND, OF COURSE, WHAT CHRISTMAS WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT A BRIGHTLY LIT TREE? 

Instructional Links

Website Article: Time and Date, Ten Things about the December Solstice https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/ten-things-december-solstice.html

eBook: PBS LearningMedia, Teacher's Guide, All about the Holidays https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1096291551

Video: PBS Learning Media, All About the Holidays, Summer and Winter Solstice http://ideastream.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/f9234420-7efa-4414-ad3e-...

Website Article: PBS Parents, Winter Holiday Crafts for Kids http://www.pbs.org/parents/fun-and-games/activities-and-crafts/winter-ho...

Games and Activities: A Kids Heart, Winter Fun and Games http://akidsheart.com/holidays/winter/winter.htm

Interactive Website: Peter Hawkes, Build a Snowflake http://www.petehawkes.com/snowflake/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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