Winter

Winter - The season for endings and new beginnings.

What does Winter mean to you?

What is Winter?
When does winter start?
By the meteorological calendar, winter always starts on 1 December.  Winter officially begins with the Winter Solstice on December 21 or 22. This is the astronomical first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. 

WHAT IS THE WINTER SOLSTICE?

The winter solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the whole year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it always occurs around December 21 or 22. (In the Southern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs around June 20 or 21.) 

 
The seasons are defined as spring (March, April, May), summer (June, July, August), autumn (September, October, November) and winter (December, January, February).
Winter is the coldest season in the polar and temperate zones. But what about winter in the other parts of the world?
Seasons in the Southern Hemisphere are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere. For example, under the definition of astronomical seasons, the June solstice marks the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, but it is the start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
(winter does not occur in most of the tropical zone).
 
Winter occurs after autumn and before spring in each year. ... When it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and vice versa.
  • Winter is one of the four seasons.

  • The four seasons include Winter, SpringSummer and Autumn.

  • Winter begins on the Winter Solstice.

  • In the Northern Hemisphere (live above the equator) this happens in December around the 21st.

  • In you live in the Southern Hemisphere (live below the equator) this happens in June.

  • The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year. Not the shortest hours, but the shortest hours of daylight.

  • Why is it cold in the Winter?

  • The Earth orbits around the Sun. It takes 365 days for the Earth to make its trip around the sun.

  • While the Earth is orbiting the Sun it is tilted on its axis.

  • During the Winter the Earth is tilted away from the sun.

  • Because the Earth is titled away from the Sun, The rays from the sun to have to travel further through the atmosphere before it reaches the Earth’s surface. Since it takes longer, the hours of daylight are shorter and the temperature is colder.

  • Did you know that the Earth is actually closest to the sun between January 3 and January 5th? Well it is, it just doesn’t feel warm because the Earth is tilted away from the Sun.

  • Some animals including bears and chipmunks hibernate in the winter.

  • Hibernate means to stay inside in a state of rest.

  • There are many holidays celebrated in the Winter. Some include Christmas, New Year’s and Hanukkah.

  • During the Winter it usually snows.

  • Did you know that Chionophobia is the fear of snow. 

Fancy doing some arts and crafts. 
What about:

Making Twiggy Christmas Trees
Salt Dough Ornaments
Toilet Roll arts and crafts


Pop over to the arts and crafts page for instructions

Christmas

What is it?

The 25th December is the day that Christians around the world  celebrate the  birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not born on December 25th exactly but this date was chosen to coincide with the pagan Roman celebrations honoring Saturnus (Harvest God) and Mithras (Ancient God of Light). The day of this celebrations came just after the winter solstice, that is the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. The celebrations were to make known that winter is not forever. It was a form of worshiping the sun.

Christians believe that Jesus was born nearly 2000 years ago and that he is the Son of God. Christians believe that he came down to earth to die for our sins so that we may go to heaven.

WHAT DOES THE WORD "CHRISTMAS" MEAN?

Christmas actually comes from "Mass of Christ". It was however shortened to "Christ Mass". Sometimes the shorter version "Xmas" is also used.

To find out about the story of Jesus birth then click the video below.

Who is Father Christmas?

We know Father Christmas as a round faced old man that shouts 'Ho Ho Ho' as he flies through the air on his sleigh giving out gifts at Christmas. Together with his elves he make toys for all the children of the world that have been good. He lives in the North Pole with his reindeer that are very magical and pull his sleigh for him on Christmas Eve.

Did you know that his coat used to be green before 1880. The Coca Cola company during the 1930's used the image of Father Christmas for their adverts wearing a red coat, and the image has stuck.

We know what Father Christmas looks like from part of  a poem. 

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his sack. 
His eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, 
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face, and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump,--a right jolly old elf--
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

Written by Clement C. Moore in 1822 as a Christmas present to his children.

The poem is often referred to as 'The Night Before Christmas', but originally it was titled 'A Visit from St Nicholas'.

Who is St. Nicholas?  Click here to find out more.

Hanukkah, otherwise known as Chanukah, will be celebrated in early December by millions of Jewish people around the world.

The Jewish Festival of Lights, it is an eight day festival that is marked by the lighting of a candelabrum known as the Menorah. Families also recite blessings, play games, and eat foods that have been prepared using oil.

Why Hanukkah is celebrated

Hanukkah celebrates a miracle that is believed to have taken place when the Maccabees liberated the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BCE.

Olive oil was needed to light the Menorah in the temple, but only one small flask - enough for one day - was found.

The small quantity of oil ended up lasting for eight nights, which was enough time for a fresh supply of kosher oil to be produced.

To celebrate this miracle, the Jewish sages declared an eight day celebration.

During Hanukkah, it is customary for families to eat foods that are fried or baked in oil. In Israel alone, around 17.5 million doughnuts are eaten during Hanukkah.

 

Some things you might want to know about Hanukkah

  • Hanukkah is celebrated around the world for eight days and nights.

  • During Hanukkah, families eat latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (jelly donuts), or other foods which are fried in oil, to celebrate and commemorate the miracle of the Festival of Lights.

  • Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees or Israelites over the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus about 2200 years ago.

  • During the eight days of Hanukkah, the entire Hallel (psalms of praise) is said.

  • During the eight days of Hanukkah, the passage “Al Hanissim”, expressing thanks to God for the miracles of Hanukkah, is inserted into the prayers.

  • A Menorah is a special nine-branched candelabrum, also known in Hebrew as a Hanukiah.

  • Each night of Hanukkah, an additional candle is placed in the Menorah from right to left, and then lit from left to right. On the last night, all the candles are lit.

  • Traditionally, Hanukkah is a time when children are encouraged and rewarded for their Torah studies. Because of this it became fashionable to give the children Hanukkah money and presents during the holiday.

  • Hanukkah is celebrated in the home beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.

  • In ancient times, oil was used in the menorah. Over time, candles were substituted for the oil.

  • Except in times of religious persecution, the menorah was placed outside the front door or, as is the custom today, displayed in the window of every Jewish home.

  • A dreidel, or sivion is a four-sided top that has a Hebrew letter on each side.

Happy Hanukkah
Some Other Festivals Celebrated at winter time
 

Buddhism

  • Bodhi Day: 8 December – Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Gautama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).

Christianity

  • Advent: four Sundays preceding Christmas Day

  • Krampusnacht 5 December – The Feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated in parts of Europe on 6 December. In Alpine countries, Saint Nicholas has a devilish companion named Krampus who punishes the bad children the night before.

  • Saint Nicholas' Day: 6 December

  • Feast of the Immaculate Conception Day: 8 December – The day of Virgin Mary's Immaculate Conception is celebrated as a public holiday in many Catholic countries.

  • Saint Lucia's Day: 13 December – Church Feast Day. Saint Lucia comes as a young woman with lights and sweets.

  • Las Posadas: 16–24 December – procession to various family lodgings for celebration & prayer and to re-enact Mary & Joseph's journey to Bethlehem[4]

  • Longest Night: A modern Christian service to help those coping with loss, usually held on the eve of the Winter solstice.

  • Christmas Eve: 24 December – In many countries e.g. the German speaking countries, but also in Poland, Hungary and the Nordic countries, gift giving is on 24 December.

  • Christmas Day: 25 December and 7 January – celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike.[5][6][7][8]

  • Anastasia of Sirmium feast day: 25 December

  • Twelve Days of Christmas: 25 December–6 January

  • Saint Stephen's Day: 26 December – In Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic a holiday celebrated as Second Day of Christmas.

  • Saint John the Evangelist's Day: 27 December

  • Holy Innocents' Day: 28 December

  • Saint Sylvester's Day: 31 December

Hinduism

  • Pancha Ganapati: a modern five-day Hindu festival celebrated from December 21 through 25 in honour of Ganesh.

Judaism

  • Hanukkah: usually falls anywhere between late November and early January. 

Paganism

  • Yule: Pagan winter festival that was celebrated by the historical Germanic people from late December to early January.

  • Yalda: 21 December – The turning point, Winter Solstice. As the longest night of the year and the beginning of the lengthening of days, Shabe Yaldā or Shabe Chelle is an Iranian festival celebrating the victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil. Shabe yalda means 'birthday eve.' According to Persian mythology, Mithra was born at dawn on 22 December to a virgin mother. He symbolizes light, truth, goodness, strength, and friendship. Herodotus reports that this was the most important holiday of the year for contemporary Persians. In modern times Persians celebrate Yalda by staying up late or all night, a practice known as Shab Chera meaning 'night gazing'. Fruits and nuts are eaten, especially pomegranates and watermelons, whose red color invokes the crimson hues of dawn and symbolize Mithra.

  • Koliada: Slavic winter festival celebrated on late December with parades and singers who visit houses and receive gifts.