The shortest day on earth every year happens in the north east towards the end of December. The last one was December 21st 2018 and it’s mostly commonly on the 22nd day of December. It marks not only the shortest day but the longest night and occurs at a specific point in time when the north pole is furthest away from the sun every year. For this reason, it happens at the same time every year. According to Mental Floss, “New York City will experience 9 hours and 15 minutes of sunlight, compared to 15 hours and 5 minutes on the summer solstice. Helsinki, Finland, will get 5 hours and 49 minutes of light. Barrow, Alaska, will not have a sunrise at all (and hasn’t since mid-November; its next sunrise will be on January 22), while the North Pole has had no sunrise since October. The South Pole, though, will be basking in the glow of the midnight sun, which won’t set until March.” It’s important to think about as seasonal depression typically comes with the absence of daylight and cold weather. Additionally, you can save on electricity by knowing when you can benefit from natural light. This was an important time for ancient civilizations that relied far more heavily on the natural fluctuation of light and dark and still carries symbolic importance today. The famous Stonehenge formation (the giant monument of rocks standing in a circle) aligns to the sunset on the winter solstice. The date of December 21st 2012 was popularized as the end of the world because it corresponds to the date 126.96.36.199.0. in the calendar used by Mayans which marked the end of a 5126-year cycle (Mental Floss). There is a festival called Yalda which is generally held by people of Iranian descent in which people remain awake for most of the night in merriment and bask in the blessings of good company during the longest night of the year (which, in itself can symbolize hardship and malice). Knowing about the inherent human fear of darkness and the longest night of the year, it’s no wonder this is the time of year with so many holiday celebrations.
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