WINTER BLOWS AND HEALTHY LIVING
solstice is because of the earth's tilt, hemisphere is leaning farthest
away from the sun and therefore--the daylight is the shortest and the
sun has its lowest arc in the sky. When it's winter solstice in the
Northern Hemisphere, the sun is directly overhead at noon only along
the Tropic of Capricorn and in case of Southern Hemisphere it is only
along the Tropic of Cancer.
Winter storms are among nature's most common phenomenon. Their
combination of heavy snow, freezing rain, and high winds can totally
disrupt modern civilization: closing down airports and roads, creating
power outages, and downing telephone lines. Winter storms remind us how
vulnerable we are to nature's awesome power.
These storms derive their energy from the
clash of two air masses of substantially different temperatures and
moisture levels. In North America, winter storms usually form when an air
mass of cold, dry, Canadian air moves south and interacts with a warm,
moist air mass moving north from the Gulf of Mexico. The point where these
two air masses meet is called a front. If cold air advances and pushes away
the warm air, it forms a cold front. When warm air advances, it rides up
over the denser, cold air mass to form a warm front. If neither air mass
advances, it forms a stationary front.
Winter storms usually form along a stationary
front. An area of lower pressure develops along the front as the atmosphere
tries to even out the pressure difference. This creates wind, which blows
from high pressure towards low pressure, in an attempt to move enough air
to even out the pressure difference. As the air moves toward the
low-pressure area, it has nowhere to go but up into the colder regions of
the atmosphere. This causes water vapor in the air to condense. To the
north of the storm, where temperatures are colder, this condensed water
falls as snow. To the south, if the temperatures are warm enough, it can
fall as heavy rain in thunderstorms.
Over North America, strong winds blowing from
west to east usually move a winter storm quickly across the continent.
That's why a winter storm rarely lasts more than a day in one area. One
exception to this rule occurs downwind of major bodies of water like the
Great Lakes. If a strong, cold wind blows over a great length of unfrozen
water, the air can acquire substantial amount of moisture. This moisture
turns into heavy snow when it reaches land. These "lake-effect" snowstorms
can last for many days and dump huge amounts of snow Over North America,
strong winds blowing from west to east usually move a winter storm quickly
across the continent.
Many, many cultures the world over perform solstice ceremonies. At their
root: an ancient fear that the failing light would never return unless
humans intervened with anxious vigil or antic celebration.
Chanukah--The Festival of Lights, is a joyous celebration of miracle of the
oil that burned for eight days celebrated on the 25th day of the month of
Kislev in the Jewish calendar (November/December).
Kwanzaa--It is an African-American holiday
about the festival of the first harvest of the crops. It begins on December
26 and lasts for seven days. The name Kwanzaa, sometimes spelled Kwanza,
means "first fruits" in Swahili, an East African language.
RamadanóIt is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. During the month,
Muslims fast (do not eat) from sunrise to sunset. In the evening and
morning before the sun comes up, they eat small meals. During this month,
they take extra time for family, inner reflection, and spiritual growth.
Family fertility ritual (Romania)- Custom of blessing the apple trees with
songs, dances, decorations and a drink of cider to ensure their fertility.
Native Americans had winter solstice rites: Solstices are tremendously
important to them, and the winter solstice celebration lasted several days.
Yalda-- Observe In Iran in which families kept vigil through the night and
fires burned brightly to help the sun (and Goodness) battle darkness
Dong ZhióIn China winter solstice is called Dong Zhi, "The Arrival of
Winter." The cold of winter made an excellent excuse for a feast, so that's
how the Chinese observed it, with Ju Dong, "doing the winter."
Dirty Air & Precaution:
Winter weather in many regions means closing
the windows, weather-stripping the leaky doors and hunkering down on the
sofa with your pets at your feet, a good book in your hands and a cozy wood
fire in the fireplace.
Unfortunately, those pets shed. And that cozy
wood fire emits particles from smoke and unseen vapors. Without proper
cleaning, indoor air can become populated by the particles that make life
uncomfortable or even unhealthy, especially for those with allergies or
asthma. With homes tightly sealed during the winter to prevent cold air
from getting in, air quality inside most homes --already laden year round
with a variety of pollutants such as dust, pollen and smoke -- can get even
Itís enough to make you cough. But donít
panic. By taking a few simple steps, you can improve your indoor air
quality and make your home cleaner and cozier. Here are some solutions from
the Home Comfort Institute at Trane, the leading maker of energy-efficient
heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, to help you improve your
home air quality during the cold winter months.