Winter is on its way — but you probably didn’t need a reminder. Still, as the days get shorter, you might be wondering, when is the winter solstice 2021?
This year’s winter solstice occurs on December 21, at 10:59 a.m. EST. During the solstice, the sun moves to the southernmost point in the Northern Hemisphere, reaching the Tropic of Capricorn. This makes the winter solstice the shortest day of the year, just as the summer solstice is the longest day.
The solstice has taken on a spiritual meaning for cultures across the globe throughout history. In ancient Rome, Saturnalia was a week-long party featuring gambling, grand meals, and gift giving (clearly, a classic winter holiday), per History.com. In contemporary Iran, Shab-e Yalda is celebrated on the solstice. During the holiday, people gather for a feast.
Across these holidays are themes of celebrations and reflection. As the days get shorter and nights get longer, we turn to each other for warmth. Here are the best ways to celebrate the winter solstice, based on your zodiac sign.
Aries, we know you’re always raring to go — but during the winter solstice, try to slow down and reflect. Challenge yourself to a technology or phone-free day, and disconnect from work and the constant pings of social media. Focus your attention instead on family, friends, hobbies, or projects that could use your complete attention.
The winter holidays are typically a time time for giving and receiving gifts. And Taurus, you’re known to love indulging in life’s finer things, so the holiday season’s tradition of gift-giving is your jam. But during the winter solstice, think of giving the kind of things that money can’t buy. Get involved with a charity. Donate items. Volunteer your time. Give the gift of your presence.
Use the seasonal change as a time to make your room feel lighter, fresher, and more you. Yep, the moment has come to declutter. Out with the old, the unused, and the expired. By clearing out your closets and shelves, you’ll make room for items you actually want (it is the time of gift-giving, after all). Once your home is cleared out, use your favorite holiday scented candle to emphasize the feeling of freshness.
Cancer, you’re known to enjoy hosting gatherings with your friends, especially ones that involve showing off your culinary skills. Use the solstice as an excuse to get back into host mode. Hold a gathering and keep the holiday’s theme at the forefront of the celebrations. Encourage meaningful conversations and allow people to express their reflections, between the food and drink.
Leo, when you’re having fun, you never want to stop. During the solstice, though, try to find a sense of fun in the pause. Treat yourself to a chill day at home, burning lavender-scented candles and even taking a bath. Exhale any lingering drama or resentments from the fall. The goal is to revive and restore your body ahead of another seasonal change.
Get creative and redecorate your room with some seasonal flair. And the options are endless. Put wreaths on doors. Hang string lights. Decorate the tree, or showcase the menorah. Trade in the autumnal colors for evergreens, crisp reds, and deep navy hues. When you’re done, feel like your room is in tune with the theme of the holiday.
During the solstice, head toward the nearest fireplace (or go glamping, and set up a fire pit). The goal is to connect with yourself, nature, and community around a source of warmth. This tradition honors the Sun on the shortest day of the year. And it’s a reminder that while the Sun isn’t out for as long, we can find warmth in other places.
Get out your journal, ’cause it’s time to get serious. On the winter solstice, write a letter of intention to yourself. What do you hope to bring into your life? What do you hope to accomplish? Revisit the letter you wrote in January, a month from the solstice, and remind yourself of your priorities.
Wake up in time for the sunrise on the winter solstice. Better yet, take a walk…or contemplative stroll, if you’re feeling reflective. Looking around at the changing season, you may feel a part of “it all.” A walk, taken with the intention of appreciating the season’s changes, may bring you a sense of wonder — and that’s fuel for a Sagittarius.
During the solstice, find a place of stillness — within your own mind. Challenge yourself to a 15-minute meditation on December 21. In fact, we propose you make this a daily ritual. With regular meditation, you can head into winter with a clear mind and an open heart, willing and ready to take on all that the seasonal has to offer.
During the winter solstice, turn your bathroom into a spa. If you have a bathtub available, add citrus fruit to the tub, a popular winter solstice tradition in Japan. These citrus-steeped baths are said to soften the skin and ward off illness, thanks to vitamin C. If a bath isn’t possible, then bring citrus-scented essential oils into the shower, and feel brightened and refreshed.
Pisces, you have our permission to indulge during the winter solstice. Toast in the new season with a sweet treat, whether it’s hot chocolate or a citrus fruit plate. Ideally, you can partake in the ritual with other people — even your neighbors. If the ritual is fun, you can turn this small get-together into a monthly tradition, with the goal of bringing in a bit of seasonal cheer.
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Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: Winter Solstice 2021: Witches Offer a Look Into Their Yule Rituals