Google has come up with a snowy doodle for Winter Solstice 2018. This year December 21 is the shortest day of the year globally with the Earth being at the farthest point from the Sun. It marks the first day of winter and the longest night of the year for the Northern Hemisphere. Winter Solstice happens only once a year and mostly falls in December.
In India, winter solstice 2018 or December Solstice will take place at 3:53 am on December 22 IST. This day is also host to many religious observances and celebrations. Winter solstice also known as hibernal solstice has various astronomical beliefs and stories attached to them. Our ancestors gave importance to the day more than us. The day of the winter solstice was considered a host to various rituals and customs in the olden days. Summer Solstice 2018: Google Dedicates Doodle to 'Longest Day of the Year' in Southern Hemisphere.
Countries across the world have different observances to mark the day. Most consider it as nature's way of self-renewal. Jews refer to Winter Solstice as 'Tekufat Tevet'. In China, it is marked by Dongzhi Festival which is considered auspicious and sees family get-togethers and special meals. Winter Solstice 2018: Legends, Stories and Observances Related to the Shortest Day of the Year.
Believers even today gather at Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain to mark the occasion to this day. Pagans meet at dawn to watch the morning sun rising over the ancient circle's Heel Stone. Many people wait to witness the sun directly aligning with the famous stones. On Winter Solstice, days ahead people gather before Newgrange, a massive gravesite more than 5,000 years old. Those who win a lottery are only allowed to wait for a chance to see the sunrise brightening the ancient passage tomb.