Celebrating the Winter Solstice

We're heading into the heart of winter when the nights are long and the days are short. We'll reach the longest night on December 21st, the winter solstice. I've always loved this season for the cozy evenings with hot chocolate and a good book, and for the traditions that I share with my community.

I'm also fascinated by the astronomical significance of the solstice, and this year it is extra special. If the sky is clear in the days leading up to the solstice, look to the southwest horizon to see the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, opens a new window when the two planets will be only 0.1° apart, practically on top of each other. This is the closest they'll appear to each other in decades! So on any clear night, watch for them and if you can, use binoculars or a telescope.

Celebrate the Solstice With Us

The winter solstice is a time for celebration in cultures around the world, and we hope you will join us in our events to honor the season.

Friday, December 18 at 6:00 PM
Traditional Folksongs of the Winter Holidays With Adam Miller

Local favorite, folksinger, and storyteller Adam Miller, opens a new window returns to San Mateo County Libraries to perform and delight all ages with "Traditional Folksongs of the Winter Holidays.” This popular, multi-cultural program features traditional holiday folksongs from an American English-speaking folk tradition with folksongs and carols for New Year’s, Hanukkah, Christmas, and the Winter Solstice. Many of these songs grew out of old-time American holiday celebrations — a season not of Santa Claus and tinsel trees, but of homespun worship, festivity, and song. Join us for some holiday magic through music.

Monday, December 21 at 7:30 PM
What Does Winter Solstice Mean to You?

Learn the science behind the winter solstice, opens a new window and how this astronomical event is celebrated in cultures throughout the world with retired UC Berkeley Emeritus Director of The Lawrence Hall of Science Planetarium, opens a new window, Alan Gould. How do you celebrate the solstice? There will be opportunity for you to share your own ideas on the meaning of the solstice.

Thank you for joining our virtual celebrations. How will you be adapting your own winter traditions this year to keep your community safe? Tell us in the comments below!