The Sidereal Year begins on the Winter Solstice (December 21 or 22). This is the
beginning of Winter. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year. The sun
rises south of due east and sets south of due west. The sun is also at a low angle in the
sky. Because the days are short and the sun is at a low angle it is cold during Winter.
It rains a lot during Winter.
Spring Equinox (March 21)
As the year progresses the days get longer and longer. Each day the sun rises and sets
slightly farther north than it did the day before. After one quarter of a year we reach
the Spring Equinox (March 21) when the sun rises due east (hence the term
East-er) and sets due west. Day and night are of equal length. This is the
beginning of Spring. The goodness of light and warmth begins to conquer the
badness of darkness and cold. Crops begin to grow.
Summer Solstice (June 21)
As the year progresses further the days continue to get longer. Each day the sun rises
farther north of due east than it did the day before, and sets farther north of due west.
At mid-year we reach the Summer Solstice (June 21) when the sun rises farthest
north of due east and sets farthest north of due west. The Summer Solstice is the longest
day of the year. Summer begins on the Summer Solstice. The sun is high in the sky,
giving lots of warmth and light. Crops continue to grow.
Autumn Equinox (Sept. 21)
After the Summer Solstice the days begin to get shorter. Each day the sun rises and sets
slightly farther south than it did the day before. Crops grow well during the Summer
quarter. Near the end of the Summer quarter is harvest time, the best time of the year.
We harvest the crops and crush the grapes to make wine. The sun has done it's job providing
us with life-giving food and wine.
Three-quarters through the year we reach the Autumn Equinox (Sept. 22) when the
sun again rises due east and sets due west. Day and night are again of equal length. This
is the beginning of Autumn. The goodness of light and warmth begins to fail us.
The badness of darkness begins to overcome the goodness of light.
Winter Solstice (Dec. 21 or 22)
During Autumn, the last quarter of the year, the sun dies. The days get shorter and
shorter, and it gets colder and colder. Each day the sun rises and sets further south.
Will the sun disappear forever? What will happen to us? Have no fear, have faith.
Yes the sun will die, but the sun will soon be reborn. A new year will soon begin.
This is the end of our story, and it is also the beginning. What happens after this? Go
to the top of the page and read the story again. The story is circular—a new year
begins immediately after the old year ends. A new year is born immediately after the
old year dies.