AA.`. FIVEBLUEAPPLES _ Memphis
21 December High degree session – more in prv.pages , members
Reminder: 22 December 2011 (6012)
h: 05:30 UTC
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The term solstice can also be used in a wider sense, as the date (day) that such a passage happens. The solstices, together with theequinoxes, are connected with the seasons. In some languages they are considered to start or separate the seasons; in others they are considered to be center points (in England, in the Northern hemisphere, for example, the period around the June solstice is known asmidsummer, and Midsummer’s Day is 24 June, about three days after the solstice itself). Similarly 25 December is the start of the Christmas celebration, and is the day the Sun begins to return to the northern hemisphere.
Many cultures celebrate various combinations of the winter and summer solstices, the equinoxes, and the midpoints between them, leading to various holidays arising around these events. For the December solstice, Christmas is the most popular holiday to have arisen. In addition,Yalda, Saturnalia, Karachun, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Yule (see winter solstice for more) are also celebrated around this time. For the June solstice, Christian cultures celebrate the feast of St. John from June 23 to 24 (see St. John’s Eve, Ivan Kupala Day, Midsummer), whileNeopagans observe Midsummer, also known as Litha. For the vernal (spring) equinox, several spring-time festivals are celebrated, such as thePersian Nowruz, the observance in Judaism of Passover and in most Christian churches of Easter. The autumnal equinox has also given rise to various holidays, such as the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. At the midpoints between these four solar events, cross-quarter days are celebrated.
In the southern tip of South America, the Mapuche people celebrate We Tripantu (the New Year) a few days after the winter solstice, on June 24. Further north the Atacama people formerly celebrated this date with a noise festival, to call the Sun back. Further East, the Aymara peoplecelebrate their New Year on June 21. A particularly beautiful and significant celebration occurs at sunrise when the sun shines right through the Gate of the Sun in Tiwanaku. Other Aymara New Year feasts occur throughout Bolivia, including at the site of El Fuerte de Samaipata.
In many cultures the solstices and equinoxes traditionally determine the midpoint of the seasons, which can be seen in the celebrations called midsummer and midwinter. Along this vein, the Japanese celebrate the start of each season with an occurrence known as Setsubun. The cumulative cooling and warming that result from the tilt of the planet become most pronounced after the solstices, leading to the more recent custom of using them to mark the beginning of summer and winter in most countries of central and northern Europe, as well as in Canada, the US, Australia, and New Zealand.
In the Hindu calendar, two sidereal solstices are named Makara Sankranti which marks the start of Uttarayana and Karkat Sankranti which marks the start of Dakshinayana. The former occurs around January 14 each year, while the latter occurs around July 14 each year. These mark the movement of the Sun along a sidereally fixed zodiac (precession is ignored) into Makara, the zodiacal sign which corresponds with Capricorn, and into Karkat, the zodiacal sign which corresponds with Cancer, respectively.