Here on the floor of my room is the turning point of the sun,
Beyond the edge of the rug, not far from the bookshelves.
The movements of earth and sun in the vastness of space
Are focused here, where the window looking south,
Observing the universe, marks upon my floor,
In this shaft of yellow light, the march of the seasons.
The narrow oaken plank with the lozenge of oblong grain
Is the place of the solstice. There the sun stands still
For several days at noon-- and there it turns
To flow, so slowly, back again to the window,
On its way to the waiting corners of the garden.
-- Roland English Hartley
Occurring in mid-December, Winter Solstice recognizes the birth of the new solar year and the beginning of Winter, which astronomically lasts until the Spring Equinox, when the Sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is almost equal — this year until March 20th. Today, December 21st, 2020, the Earth’s axis tilts furthest away from the Sun, causing, for a brief instant, a shortening of the day and lengthening of the night. We have but nine hours and fifteen minutes of daylight, with the sun rising at 7:16am and setting at 4:32pm.
Culturally the event has been interpreted by many different countries as a time of renewal and rebirth, intricately connected to celebrations around this time, including Yule, Christmas, Saturnalia, and many others.
As the snow melts after recent closure of the campus due to inclement weather, join the Gottesman Libraries in appreciating the environmental and historical significance of the Winter Solstice and be inspired for the beginning of a new season, with many happy and healthy returns.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- The Winter Solstice. (1887, Dec 06). New York Times (1857-1922)
- The Heavens In December: The Sun At the Southerly Point Of Its Journey. (1893, Nov 26). New York Times (1857-1922)
- Serviss, G.P. S. (1913, Feb 16). When Winter Is Coldest: It Does Not Occur At Winter -- Solstice Because a Balance Must Be Struck Between Amount Of Heat Radiated Away At Night and That Received By Day. The Washington Post (1877-1922)
- Serviss, G. P. (1916, Mar 05). The Secret Of the Changing Days. The Sun (1837-1995)
- Roland, E. H. (1951, Dec 24). Winter Solstice. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- Uncle Ray's Corner: Slanting Rays Provide Less Warmth In Winter. (1954, Dec 23). Newsday (1940-1992)
- Winter Solstice. (1963, Dec 22). New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Tufty, B. (1981, Dec 21). Winter Solstice. The Sun (1837-1995)
- Groom, R. (1993, Dec 08). It's In the Cards: From Christmas To the Winter Solstice, A Season Of Greetings. The Washington Post (1974-Current File)
- Watkins, R. (1995, Dec 13). The Winter Solstice: Soon the Sun Stops Retreating, and Dark Days Begin to Brighten. The Washington Post (1974-Current File)
- Phenomena: Playing The Sun's Angles. (1995, Dec 13). The Washington Post (1974-Current File)
- Ahlstrom, D. (2010, Dec 23). The Natural Cycles Behind Christmas: The Gathering That Celebrated the Winter Solstice At Newgrange This Week Was An Illustration Of the Pre-Christian Foundations Behind the Festival Of Christmas. The Irish Times (1921-Current File)
- Steele, Timothy. Toward the Winter Solstice: New Poems. Athens: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, c2006. e-book
- Try a TC Supersearch to uncover more works of literature, videos, scientific articles and more about the Winter Solstice.
- Winter Star, by Rosalies Siebert, from the Ziegfeld Collection of International Children's Art, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries, Teachers College, Columbia University
- Special News Slide, Courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries
Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events from an educational context. Be sure to check additional Cafe News postings on the library blog.