The Reason for the Season

The winter solstice is once again upon us. For our ancestors, the solstice was a remarkable day. Over the course of the year, the sun slowly wanders through the sky if you keep track of its position at the same time every day. On the winter solstice, the sun is at its lowest point and appears to pause its wandering. In fact, that's where we get the word "solstice," which is derived from Latin and meant "to stand still".

It's no coincidence that there are so many holidays at this time of year. Throughout human history, we have gazed up at the sky and sought meaning in the regular movements of the celestial bodies. From the Roman Saturnalia to the Chinese Dongzhi Festival to Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Yule, this time of year has been a cause for celebration for myriad cultures and people.

So the next time someone implores you to remember the reason for the season, you can rest assured that, no matter what religious or cultural tradition you're part of, our roughly 23.5° axial tilt is the reason for the season. Happy Winter Solstice everyone!