By Erin Smith
For those who enjoy snow and cold weather, winter officially arrives today (Friday, December 21). This makes today the shortest day of the year and it marks the time that the Northern Hemisphere is farthest away from the sun.
Because today marks the beginning of winter, it does not necessarily herald the coldest temperatures of the year. In fact, the National Weather Service in Wilmington is forecasting temperatures to reach 66 degrees today and and highs in the upper 50s through next week. The coldest temperatures actually arrive later.
The solstice actually occurs twice–once in the Northern Hemisphere and again six months later in the Southern Hemisphere, according to Wikipedia.
In ancient times, ancient cultures would follow the astrological movements of the sun and moon. Would use those movements to determine the best time to plant, the best time to harvest, and the best time to mate livestock and such, according to Wikipedia.