I had breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s with a client some years ago. It was winter. Freezing. Snowing. Out of the blue, he looked across the table and asked “Scott – what’s your favorite day in the year?” Hmmmmmm. . . . . I had to think about it – but not for long. “Thanksgiving” I said “because I leave work early on Wednesday, Thursday is a family day and I eat until I keel over, I get Friday off – and I still have the weekend to recover.” My friend nodded solemnly and was silent. Chewing his English muffin. I looked at him. “Sooooooo Chris” I asked “what is your favorite day?” He responded immediately “December 22d.”
Now I am not the brightest light in the box but I do have a handle on the major holidays – and even a few minor ones. December 22d did not ring a bell. “Why, pray tell, do you like December 22d?” I asked. “Because” Chris said “that is the winter solstice. When the days start getting longer.” (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice ). Ahhhhhh. . . .
The winter solstice nearly always occurs on December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. The sun is at its lowest maximum daily elevation from the Earth. And from that moment, the days begin to lengthen. There are many festivals and celebrations that surround the winter solstice. For many of us, the dog days of winter are still ahead. And the days continue to get shorter. I really like Thanksgiving. But December 22d is moving up the charts. . . . .