Zip your coat up, pull your hat down, and wrap your scarf all around. Winter is here! In 2023, the chilly season starts on December 21 at 10:27 P.M. (ET). Brrring it on!
All the countries in the Northern are making the switch. Winter is starting in North America as well as Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. But why does an exact moment mark the start of winter? It all has to do with the tilt of the Earth!
Each year, Earth makes one circle around the Sun. The planet also spins with a tilt. Sometimes Earth's northern half tilts toward the Sun, and the star’s rays give more heat to that half. Other times, the northern half tilts away, which brings on lower temperatures.
During the chilly time, there is one special moment. The Northern Hemisphere tilts the farthest it ever goes from the Sun. This instant is called the winter solstice. It marks the start of winter. It happens on the day with the least amount of daylight.
People celebrate the solstice in different ways. Since the solstice is the shortest day, it also has the longest night. In Iran, people honor this night at the Yalda festival. They stay up late, read poems, and dance. People also enjoy tasty red foods. Those include pomegranates and watermelons.
In China, there is the Dongzhi festival. This winter holiday celebrates the fact that days will now start getting longer. The increase in daylight is a symbol of positive energy. Families eat rice balls called tangyuan. Those represent coming together.
As winter continues, some people like to stay warm inside and curl up with a good book. News-O-Matic users shared their favorite reads for the season. “I love reading,” Caitlin said. “I’ve read all of the Percy Jackson books and can’t wait to watch the new TV series!”
Liam added, “My favorite book to read in winter is Fgteev: Out of Time!” That’s a about a family of gamers. And Layla shared, “I like the book Let’s Build a Snowman.” Sounds like you can’t snow wrong with that one!
Of course, while people of the north are sliding on snow, the Southern Hemisphere is getting sun. December 21 is the start of summer there.
No matter what season you’re heading into, have a ball!
Updated December 20, 2023, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Ashley Morgan