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JAN. 2, 2014

Crossing Into the New Year

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by Caroline Toy, Assistant Director

One of the oldest ways of tracking the passing of the year is by the length of day—with longer days in summer and shorter days in winter. The waypoints along our annual journey are the two solstices and the two equinoxes. As I write this, we’ve just passed the Winter Solstice on December 21—the shortest day of the year, and the first day of winter. And now that it’s January we’re all thinking about the new year and what 2014 will bring…but in some cultures, the Winter Solstice is New Year’s Day. From the moment the days start to lengthen again, the new year is waxing, and we look forward to the times ahead.

The Summer Solstice—the longest day of the year—will be June 21. That’s the day between Session I and Session II! We’ll celebrate it a few days early during Session I by greeting the sunrise and sunset and dancing around our maypole. As Session II begins and the Earth crosses into the second half of its transit around the Sun, summer will be in full swing. Where will you be?