A snowy Google Doodle marked the 2018 winter solstice on Friday December 21, 2018 as the shortest day of the year.
Winter Solstice is when the Earth is farthest from the Sun and the daylight is shorter and night time is more.
This year it is all the more special as the upcoming December full moon, also called the Cold Moon, will appear in the night sky along with the Ursid meteor shower.
It will be a full moon both on Friday and Saturday nights. Native Americans marked Cold moon as the beginning of the coldest part of the year.
The Ursids should be visible in the mid-Northern Hemisphere, as stated by The American Meteor Society. At the peak, there would be at least 11 sporadic meteors per hour just before dawn.
The Doodle features an animated ice skating figure. Cracks appear in the ice and as the figure is skating, an enormous white figure appears from below, after which it begins to snow. Winter solstice is observed and celebrated throughout the world in several ways.
Winter solstice in India will be at 3.53 a.m. on December 22 and will be marked by a host of religious observances and celebrations.
In Ireland, people gather at Newgrange, which is a massive gravesite more than 5,000 years old. Crowds are selected through lotteries that wait for their turn to see the sunrise light up the ancient passage tomb.
At Stonehenge in England, large crowds assemble to celebrate and capture the moment when the sun directly aligns with the famous stones.
In China, the Winter Solstice is called Dongzhi Festival. People celebrate it with rice balls called tang yuan, that literally means “family reunion”.