the dictionary of norse mythology


SOLSTICE The times of the year when the Sun reaches its extreme northern or southern points in its journey across the heavens. In the Northern Hemisphere the summer solstice is around June 21, and the winter solstice is around December 22. The word solstice is made up of two Latin words, sol, meaning sun, and sistit, meaning stands, because the Sun appears to stand still before it turns back on its apparent course. The longest day occurs at sum-mer solstice and the shortest day at winter solstice. Both these days are times of rejoicing, especially in norse countries. midsummer eve, on June 21, was Balder's Day, celebrated with bonfires and the obser-vance of sunrise and sunset. Yuletide occurred at the time of the winter solstice, when people celebrated the beginning of the end of the winter months.

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