Winter Solstice arrives right on schedule this Friday, 21 December, at 11:12 UTC – 5:12 in the morning here by mythical Central Time. It’s being celebrated as the end of the world, probably not because anyone believes that’s going to happen. No Mayan actually predicted such an event, but it is the end of their 13 Baktun cycle. My guess is that the Mayans would have used this as an excuse to celebrate too, although their idea of a “party” often involved horrific acts of violence. It’s a staple of the day.
What really happens is that this is the moment when the North Pole is pointing directly away from the sun and starts its wobble back. The exact moment of change in the orbit is also the moment when the long nights change the least, in keeping with the nature of cycles. Light defines the season for us even more than dark notions of destruction because it is the light that will return. That is more worthy of a party to me.