Winter Solstice 2018 or the shortest day of the year observed in Google Doodle

On this day, you can find the sun at its lowest position throughout the Northern Hemisphere sky.

Remember cramming the fact as a child that 21 December is the shortest day of the year? Well it's that day today, and Google is reminding us just the same with a beautiful Google Doodle.

Every 21 December is observed as the shortest day and the longest night of the year, and this event is commonly known as the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. It so happens that as our earth circles the sun, the North Pole angles farthest away from the sun today. Of course, the story is entirely upside down in the Southern Hemisphere, where the same day is observed as the Summer Solstice.

Google Doodle 21 December. Image: Google

Google Doodle 21 December. Image: Google

On this day, you can find the sun at its lowest position throughout the Northern Hemisphere sky. People around the world have celebrated this astronomical milestone for centuries.

In different countries and cultures, this day is known by different names and celebrated in various ways. Google writes in its doodle blog, "In Ireland, people gather days before the solstice at Newgrange – a massive gravesite that’s more than 5,000 years old. Crowds selected by lottery wait for a chance to see the sunrise light up the ancient passage tomb.

At Stonehenge, crowds of people come together to celebrate and capture the moment when the sun directly aligns with the famous stones.

Summer solstice

In China, locals refer to the Winter Solstice as Dongzhi Festival, a celebration of winter’s arrival. Locals enjoy rice balls called tang yuan, which translates to “family reunion.” This treat is said to bring prosperity and unity—something all of us can enjoy on this auspicious day."

How do you observe this day in your culture? Let us know in the comments below.

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