Winter Solstice 2020: When will it begin in India and why is it so special this year
Winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year, will occur on Monday, December 21. Winter solstice is also known as the “first day of winter” in the northern hemisphere as well as ‘hiemal solstice or hibernal solstice. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs twice every year in each hemisphere of the earth. ‘Solstice’ is a Latin word that means ‘stalled sun’. A solstice occurs twice in a year once in the summer and again in during winter.
When will the solstice begin in India?
In India, the winter solstice will begin from 3.32pm on Monday.
When does a solstice take place?
Around this time every year, countries in the northern hemisphere are farthest from the Sun and the Sun shines overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn. The earth’s axis is tilted at an angle of 23.5 degrees as it rotates around the Sun. This phenomenon causes the movement of the Sun from the northern to the southern hemisphere and vice versa bringing in seasonal changes in the year.
How is Winter Solstice 2020 special?
This year, the day is special as it coincides with a stunning celestial event - the ‘Great Conjunction’ of Jupiter and Saturn, happening after nearly 400 years. The two planets come in conjunction when they have the same right ascension or celestial longitude and that is known as ‘Great Conjunction’.
What are the historical traditions associated with winter solstice?
Ancient Romans celebrated the day in honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture. A week-long celebration would lead up to the winter solstice. In the United Kingdom, people traditionally gather at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise and sunset on the winter solstice. But this year, owing to the pandemic, the gatherings won’t be allowed but people can watch it online. The Japanese believe that the Sun gets stronger from this day, bringing with it a good fortune for the people. The Chinese call the winter solstice Dong Zhi meaning ‘winter arrives’.