From 2:23 p.m. PST today (Friday, December 21), when the Winter Solstice occurs this year, the days will start getting longer.
While the earth rotates about the sun, it also spins on its axis, which is tilted some 23.5 degrees towards the plane of its rotation. Because of this tilt, the Northern Hemisphere, where we in Canada are based, receives less sunlight, creating winter.
According to timeanddate.com, the December Solstice can happen on December 20, 21, 22 or 23, though December 20 or 23 solstices are rare. The last December 23 solstice was in 1903 and will not happen again until 2303.
The term solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium, meaning ‘the Sun stands still’. This is because on this day, the Sun reaches its southern-most position as seen from the Earth. The Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction. It’s also common to call it the day the Sun turns around.