First Day of Winter in Canada

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How do you feel about the first day of Winter?  Is it something that you dread every year or is it something that you celebrate every year?  Generally, the first day of Winter in Canada falls on December 21st which coincides with being the shortest day for daylight (the winter solstice).

The winter solstice in Canada has the least amount of daylight hours than any other day of the year, this is due to the fact that the sun is farthest south.

The farther north you live in Canada, then the less daylight hours that you will see.  For example, at 56 degrees of latitude in a place called Fort St. John in British Columbia, you can expect the sun to rise at 10am and to set around 4pm.  However, in parts of the Yukon Territory you can expect total darkness.  So, the next time you think about how tough the first day of winter is, think about living with no daylight for days on end! 

A Brief History of Winter Solstice Celebration

In ancient times, the Winter Solstice was one of the notable events in the calendar. People used to arrange combined meals, dancing & singing parties and other similar activities to welcome the winter season. However, once Christianity dominated the Roman Empire, the celebration of Christmas became the most prominent event in the calendar. Likewise, the Jewish celebrations of Hanukkah, the American-African festival of Kwanzaa, and the Greek celebrations of Kronos also take place around the time of the Winter Solstice.

Winter Solstice in Canada

Most people in Canada are getting ready for Christmas celebrations, and the first day of Winter comes mostly unnoticed.  With all of the festivities of Christmas, this day does get overlooked.  However, for some, the shortest day of the year (as well as the longest day of the year) are festive events, and are celebrated as such.

So, how do you prepare for the first day of Winter?  Or do you?  What type of festivities would you like to see your community do for the first day of Winter?  What types of things do you do to get ready for the winter season?