Since ancient times, the winter solstice has been celebrated by different cultures.
Some of them survive to the present day, though not always in the form you might expect.
So why do so many holidays occur during this time?
In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice always occurs on or near December 21 and marks the beginning of the winter season. Reportedly, it is the shortest day of the year with the least amount of daylight between sunrise and sunset.
Whereas, in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the time of the summer solstice and the longest day of the year.
The term solstice means “sun stands still.” On the year’s two solstices (winter and summer) the sun appears to be on a pause and changes very little in position during this time.
Did the Romans invented Christmas?
The Roman mid-winter festival of misrule has heavily influenced many Christmas traditions, including the time of year we celebrate.
“Christmas in December is a Western, Roman idea whereas in the Eastern Church it falls later, around the feast of the Epiphany in early January,” explains Dr Matthew Nicholls, senior lecturer in Classics at the University of Reading.
Saturnalia originated as a farmers’ festival and commemorated the dedication of the temple of Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture and the harvest.
Check out this amazing video by TestTube News that tells you “Why Do so many Holidays fall around the Winter Solstice”: