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First Day of Winter Arrives on Tuesday Morning Marking the Shortest Day of the Year

By Nathan Ham

Winter will officially be here on Tuesday morning at 10:59 a.m. Eastern Standard Time as the Winter Solstice signifies the shortest day of the 2021 calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere. Tuesday will have the least amount of sunlight of any day all year, then the days will slowly begin to get longer. 

The sun will rise at 7:36 a.m. on Tuesday and will set at 5:20 p.m., giving us 9 hours, 44 minutes and 55 seconds of daylight. The days will continue to get longer until the first day of summer on June 21, 2022. 

While this is the start of Astronomical Winter, some folks associate the start of winter on December 1, which is classified at the first day of Meteorological Winter. 

The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). Typically each year, the Winter Solstice takes place on December 21 or December 22. In 2022, the solstice will fall on December 21 and in 2023 it will be on December 22. 

In earlier centuries, each change of the season allowed farmers to keep up with the proper times to plant their crops for each year. The Winter Solstice was known as a time of famine for farmers in the Northern Hemisphere because crops would not be able to grow in the cold temperatures. They would, however, be able to slaughter their pigs and cows for meat to avoid starving during the cold months where fruits and vegetables could not grow. The Winter Solstice was also a time of celebration for many that produced their own wine and beer. The beverages would be properly fermented by the winter months and would be drinkable during this time of year.