Word of the day – solstice

As today is the shortest day of the year, at least in the northern hemisphere, I thought solstice would be a good word to choose. It comes, via French, from the Latin solstitium, the point at which the sun seems to stand still, from sol, sun, plus sistere, to come to a stop, make stand still.

Today is the winter solstice, or hibernal solstice in Latin, and the point where the earth tilts away from the sun the most. In some cultures, solstices are seen as marking the end and beginning of years or periods, while in other, they mark mid points. In English, for example, the winter solstice is also known as midwinter, while the summer solstice is know as midsummer.

Details of festivities connected with the winter solstice in many different cultures

Do you do anything to celebrate or mark the winter solstice?

This entry was posted in English, Language, Latin, Words and phrases.

3 Responses to Word of the day – solstice

  1. Jose says:

    Winter solstice is the victory of light over darkness, it is not strange that it is such an important occasion in so many cultures, and that Christmas, the birth of Jesus and the coming of the light, is connected to this date.
    For me, being a Christian, it is the most important celebration along with Easter Sunday, when resurrection is celebrated.
    However, I’m curious about other cultures, too.

  2. Marco A. Cruz says:

    I can think, according the roots you gave, the literal translation from latin is “sunstall” because the sun stalls. Is not it?

  3. Mohsen says:

    We celebrate it win Iran, as an ancient Persian tradition, but not as the shortest day of the year. We rather celebrate it as the longest night of the year, we call it Yalda night. We gather with family relatives and stay up till late etc. Its fun!

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