This season's solstice (Winter in the Northern hemisphere, Summer in the Southern), occurs at 10:44 UTC, December 22, 05:44 Eastern Standard Time (UTC-05:00), December 21. Etymology: Latin solstitium (sol "sun" + stitium, from sistere "to stand still")
The name is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, its apparent movement north or south comes to a standstill.This year feels darker than most. Yesterday, as expected, the U.S. presidential electorate election was affirmed. "Standing Still" takes on a different meaning if there's a chance the light won't return.
- Solstice, Wikipedia
So we light a candle against the darkness, and try to keep it lit. If I'm feeling hopeful, I might reflect on these lyrics from Peter Gabriel's song written in memory of Stephen Biko, who would have been 90 this past week:
You can blow out a candleWishing for peace, wishing you peace, these dark days.
But you can't blow out a fire.
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher.
This page has a little MIDI file which bangs out the tune so you can follow the score.
Illumination of Earth by Sun at the southern solstice.