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The winter season is well and truly here. As you start feeling the chills and find comfort in curling up under the blanket with a cup of coffee, you may have noticed that the days are starting to get shorter and the nights longer! The natural seasonal change also gives rise to a fascinating astronomical phenomenon called Winter Solstice or December Solstice.

Winter Solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. The Winter Solstice falls on December 22, and the sun starts to move towards the north after the solstice. The fascinating thing about this extraordinary natural event is that, in the Southern Hemisphere, the day marks the shortest night and longest day of the year.

What is Solstice?

A solstice is an astronomical event that occurs twice a year. The winter solstice marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere. It is the shortest day of the year. The same day marks the beginning of the summer in the southern hemisphere as the countries in the region experience the longest day of the year. 

As we inch closer to the shortest day of the year 2022 in the northern hemisphere, let us look at the day's significance and what it means to the people.

What is the winter solstice?

On the winter solstice, the sun moves the farthest away from the northern hemisphere and shines directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. On this day, the earth's axis is tilted at 23.5 degrees. Winter solstice mainly occurs on December 21, and hence it is also commonly referred to as the December solstice. However, occasionally it occurs on December 22.

Although the winter solstice occurs only for a few moments, people celebrate the winter solstice for the entire day. In some countries, it is recognised as a national holiday and celebrated as a festival in some cultures.

Winter solstice celebrations

Winter solstice is celebrated differently worldwide. In the UK, people visit Stonehenge in Wiltshire because the monument is lined up in a way that on the day of the winter solstice, the sun's rays pass through the stones during sunrise.

In Rome, people celebrate the day as the return of Saturn, their God of Agriculture.

How short is the day on the winter solstice?

Winter solstice, which marks the shortest day of the year, lasts for about 7 hours, 49 minutes, and 42 seconds. However, the day after the winter solstice, the day gradually starts to get longer again. This means the sun starts to move back to the south. 

Does the shortest day of the year mark the earliest sunset? 

If you think the shortest day of the year will also bring the earliest sunset of 2022, it does not work that way. Instead, the earliest sunset of the year happens a few days before the winter solstice. This happens because of the difference in the sun's time and the clock time, and the tilt of the earth's axis.

With the winter solstice around the corner, you can use the occasion to plan a family holiday and visit one of your favourite winter holiday destinations. The weather in most parts of India is pleasant during winter, and you can enjoy experiencing the chill. 

You can make your holiday even better and cosy by booking your stay at the premium resorts in India offered by Club Mahindra. The modern amenities, warm hospitality, and a chance to indulge in many signature experiences at the resort will make your holiday more fun and memorable!

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