Get ready, Toronto – winter is here.
It feels like we’ve been dealing with the cold temperatures – if not the snowfall – for weeks now.
But we didn’t ring in the new season until 12:47pm on Monday. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, with the least amount of daylight.
On the bright side (literally), each day after the solstice gets longer, with more sunshine as the Earth tilts closer to the sun.
This time last year saw Jack Frost come in with a vengeance: a blustery blizzard marked December 21, 2008.
So far, we’ve been spared any similar snowfall.
We only saw light flurries and the temperature remained steady around -3C until the evening, when we’re expected hit a low of -13C.
We’ll see similar highs and lows on Tuesday and Wednesday, with even more sunshine.
While there was little natural snow, it was cold enough to make some. Ski hills in the city had mounds of the artificial white stuff blowing around, including Centennial Hill in Etobicoke. Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre is also open.
If you’re thinking of hitting the slopes, keep in mind that helmets are now mandatory for the following groups:
- Board of Education program and group participants
- instructional program participants
- freestyle and ski race program participants
- instructional staff, on-hill supervisors and ski patrol members
Winter Solstice’s Christmas Connection
Scholars aren’t exactly sure of the date of Jesus Christ’s birthday, the first Christmas.
“In the early years of the Christian church, the calendar was centered around Easter,” George Washington University’s Harry Yeide said. “Nobody knows exactly where and when they began to think it suitable to celebrate Christ’s birth as well as the Passion cycle”—the Crucifixion and resurrection depicted in the Bible.
Eastern churches traditionally celebrate Christmas on January 6, a date known as Epiphany in the West. The winter date may have originally been chosen on the basis that Christ’s conception and Crucifixion would have fallen during the same season—and a spring conception would have resulted in a winter birth.
But Christmas soon became co-mingled with traditional observances of the winter solstice.
Information credit: National Geographic