In this season when different holiday celebrations feature displays of lights, some people will observe the winter solstice Thursday, the shortest day of the year.
At 11:28 a.m. eastern time Thursday, Dec. 21, our part of the Northern Hemisphere will experience the winter solstice. Subsequent days will gradually have more sunlight, leading up to the summer solstice, June 21, 2018.
The event carries with it both omens of doom and hopes for warmer days ahead. In her article for www.bustle.com, Michelle Rogers discusses the phenomenon of Dec. 21 being the unluckiest day of the year, at least from the viewpoiont of astrologers. Chapel Hill’s Eco-Institute has a different take. Eco-Institute will celebrate the day with an event titled Spiral of Light, “which symbolizes the return of the light,” according to its website. The Hillsborough Arts Council also will celebrate solstice with its Solstice Celebration Lantern Walk.
The winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, according to the National Weather Service. In the Northern Hemisphere, it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, which is located at 23.5 degrees south of the equator and runs through Australia, Chile, southern Brazil, and northern South Africa.
Want to celebrate the solstice? Here’s a roundup of some events in Durham and Orange Counties:
▪ Spiral of Light Winter Solstice Festival, Thursday, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain, 8519 Pickards Meadow Road, Chapel Hill. Details are at eco-institute.org.
▪ N.C. Winter Solstice Holiday Bash, Dec. 23, 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., Durham Fruit & Produce Co., 305 S. Dillard St., Durham. This is a music party and fundraiser for the African American Dance Ensemble. For details, visit www.durhamfruit.com.
▪ Solstice Celebration Lantern Walk, Thursday, 5:45 p.m., Hillsborough. Walkers are asked to register in advance and bring a handmade, white lantern with an LED light (no flames allowed). Beginning at 5:30 p.m., all participants must enter the Riverwalk from the Farmer's Market Pavilion, 144 E. Margaret Lane. For more details, visit www.hillsboroughartscouncil.org/lantern-walk.
▪ Winter Solstice yoga, Thursday, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sahaja Space, 125 E. Parrish St., Durham. Proceeds will benefit Urban Ministries of Durham. For details, visit www.sahajaspirit.com.