Italian Word of the Day: Solstizio D’Inverno (Winter Solstice)

Today’s word of the day is part of our Italian Christmas Word Advent Calendar series. Each day throughout December, we’ll post a word that is related to the holiday season. Enjoy!

The Winter Solstice – known as the solstizio d’inverno in Italian (masculine, plural solstizi) – is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year in the Northern hemisphere.

IPA: /sol·stì·zio din·vèr·no/

Officially marking the end of autumn (autunno) and the beginning of winter (inverno), it normally falls on either December 21st or 22nd. (In 2020, it takes place on the 21st at 10:02 a.m. in Italy.)

Il 21 dicembre si verificherà il solstizio d’inverno.

The winter solstice will occur on December 21st.

view from the top of a hill of mountains and trees covered in snow

In Roma, for example, the day will last 9 hours and 7 minutes whereas in Milano, the light will last 8 hours and 41 minutes.

After December 21st, the hours of light will gradually increase again until the summer solstice (solstizio d’estate) arrives in six months’ time.

The word solstizio derives from the Latin solstitium, with sol meaning sole (sun) and sistere being the verb for fermare (to stop). This analogy stems from the fact that during the solstice, the sun appears to stop in its path along the sky.

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