Happy winter solstice, everyone! As you doubtless already know, today is the shortest and darkest day of the year (assuming you live in the northern hemisphere). Ancient people, who were keen observers of the skies even without high technology, knew this date and its significance very well. It’s no surprise that so many holidays which fall around this time of year involve the ceremonial kindling of light, whether it’s lights on a Christmas tree, Yule logs burning on the hearth, flames on a menorah, the lamps of Diwali, the lanterns of Loy Krathong, or even the humanist celebration of HumanLight.
Image credit: Lunar eclipse visible from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories of Canada, winter solstice 2010. Photo via savillent.