What’s special about this year?
This year’s Winter Solstice will coincide with a Full Cold Moon — the full moon of December, according to Space.com. The moon is set to become officially full on Dec. 22 at 12:49 p.m. EST. According to Space.com, the last time a full moon coincided with the solstice was in 2010, and it is not expected to happen again until 2094.
How is the Winter Solstice observed throughout the world?
The winter solstice is marked with ceremonies and celebrations across the globe. In Ireland, people convene at a 5,000-year-old gravesite called Newgrange, where they wait for a chance to see the sunrise lighting up the tomb. At Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, people similarly come together to watch the sun being cast over the famous prehistoric monument. China marks the start of winter with the Dongzhi festival, during which families come together and enjoy rice balls called tangyuan. The treat is said to bring prosperity and unity. Some Scandinavian and Germanic peoples in northern Europe celebrate with Yule, a day of gathering and gift giving.