the old farmer’s almanac
Welcome to the Winter Solstice. ~Vic
From Why Christmas:
The evergreen Fir Tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (Pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used Fir Trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia. Christians use it as a sign of everlasting life with God.
I dropped the ball and missed posting about our Summer Solstice. I did catch some pictures, though and a Snapshots Sunday is a perfect reason to post them. I posted about the Solstice in 2018, shortly after I had started blogging, again, after a four year absence. I did an Almanac write-up on the Solstice in 2019. This year’s Solstice occurred at 5:44pm EDT, yesterday. ~Vic
♦ In ancient Egypt, the summer solstice coincided with the rising of the Nile River. As it was crucial to predict this annual flooding, the Egyptian New Year began at this important solstice.
♦ In centuries past, the Irish would cut hazel branches on solstice eve to be used in searching for gold, water and precious jewels.
♦ Many European cultures hold what are known as Midsummer celebrations at the solstice, which include gatherings at Stonehenge and the lighting of bonfires on hilltops.
I also didn’t have any immediate shots because of the weather and wound up posting some older pictures. Earlier, I thought the weather wasn’t going to cooperate tonight, either and I shared some older pix, below. But, it rose beautifully, without much cloud interference. It is a bit hazy, tho. I saved it for last. All photos are my personal collection ©, unless otherwise stated.
Full illumination occurs at 10:35pm EDT. Howl for me! ~Vic
Well, Spring has finally sprung and not a moment too soon. I’m sitting in my Adirondack chair, with my bare feet on the ground, watching the sunset through the limbs of my Hackberry tree. Yes, I have short feet. Shut up. (All photos are my personal collection. ©)
According to the Farmers’ Almanac 1818, this is the earliest First Day of Spring in 124 years. Yahoo! Maybe some warm, beautiful weather will offset the corona beer virus and this needless, manufactured hysteria that has appeared with it.
I did a Vernal Equinox post last year when it coincided with the Full Worm Moon. In our area, it was as high as 80° and I was out in it. My buddy Ray had some errands to run so, off we went to the county north of us. Once the errands were completed, we headed to downtown Roxboro for lunch & a minor visit to their museum (pictures coming tomorrow).
From Farmers’ Almanac 1818:
[Spring] will occur at 11:50 p.m. EDT for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere […]. Traditionally, we celebrate the first day of spring on March 21 but, astronomers and calendar manufacturers, alike, now say that the spring season starts on March 20th, in all time zones in North America. And, in 2020, it’s even a day earlier than that…something that hasn’t happened since 1896.
There are a few reasons why seasonal dates can vary from year to year. The first is that a year is not an even number of days and neither are the seasons. Another reason is that the earth’s elliptical orbit is changing its orientation (skew), which causes the earth’s axis to constantly point in a different direction, called precession. Since the seasons are defined as beginning at strict 90-degree intervals, these positional changes affect the time the earth reaches each 90-degree location in its orbit around the sun. The pull of gravity from the other planets also affects the location of the earth in its orbit.
Additional Interesting Reading:
First Day of Spring (The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1792)