Home > Ephemeris Program, Saturn, Winter Solstice > 12/22/2014 – Ephemeris – Roman solstice festivals that seem like our holiday season

12/22/2014 – Ephemeris – Roman solstice festivals that seem like our holiday season

December 22, 2014

Ephemeris for Monday, December 22nd.  The sun will rise at 8:16.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:05.   The moon, 1 day past new, will set at 6:17 this evening.

The Romans, around the time of Christ knew that the Sun would turn northward after the winter solstice.  Their ancestors may not have been.  They had two festivals around this time of year.  Saturnalia, from the 17th to the 23rd. A time of gift giving, parties, kind of like now.  The feast of Sol Invictus or the Unconquerable Sun was set on December 25th the then date to have thought to be the winter solstice.  I’m not sure if the Roman calendars were off 4 days or that it was the date they detected northward movement in the Sun.  Anyway that’s the date the Christians decided to celebrate Christ’s birth.  The Gospel of Luke with its shepherds being out all night guarding the sheep suggests that the birth was actually in the spring.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Saturnalia

Saturnalia depiction.

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