Today is winter solstice–the day the sun appears to stand still before beginning its journey back from the southern sky. Throughout human history, this has been a day of celebration, and in many cultures the beginning of weeks of celebration as the return of the sun is welcomed, encouraged and–as some thought–induced by their rituals.

The precise moment of solstice was 5:37AM Pacific time this morning.

Around the world, celebrations and preparation for celebrations began. Christians celebrated the last Sunday in Advent last Sunday and will commence their Christmas celebration on the 24th. The Christian celebration overlays many older pagan rituals, including the Roman Saturnalia, a prolonged solstice observance that involved merrymaking and the exchange of gifts.

To learn more about the Solstice and how world peoples celebrate it, click here.

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