Tomorrow is the year's shortest day. Officially known as the Winter Solstice, December 21st is the day when the sun appears lowest in the sky, thereby giving the least daylight hours.
Here at the Oakeley Arms, we've got used to short days and very dark nights (there's not much light pollution here in the depths of Snowdonia!) over the last few weeks, but we'll be quite excited that winter is turning a corner. From tomorrow, the minutes of daylight will slowly start to increase, until it'll soon be springtime!
These days, the Winter Solstice passes without much mention, but in ancient times it was of great significance. Winter feasts often occurred around the solstice, and were thought of as a last celebration and ceremony before the hard winter months of January, February and March when there was the greatest danger from famine and starvation. The solstice was also considered a time of rebirth and new beginnings, which is where many of our modern western traditions for celebrating New Year are thought to come from.
Image by Loafer on sxc.hu
Tomorrow, the sun is predicted to rise at around 08:20 and set just before 4pm, so that means just over seven hours of daylight. But, don't worry because in a month's time, by the 20th January, there will be over 40 minutes of extra daylight - that's over a minute a day!
We think there's only one thing for it when the dark hours are this long - light the fire, grab a glass of something warming and snuggle up. Why not visit us down at the Oakeley Bar - we've got real fires, cosy sofas and a fabulous bar crammed with local real ales, tasty wines and great spirits. There's always a warm welcome here!