The first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, including Cape Cod, is marked by the winter solstice, which occurs on Wednesday, December 21, 2022, at 4:48 P.M. EST. The winter solstice occurs when either of Earth’s poles reaches its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It is the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year. Since prehistory, the winter solstice has been a significant time of year in many cultures and has been marked by festivals and rituals. It marked the symbolic death and rebirth of the Sun; the gradual waning of daylight hours is reversed and begins to grow again. Some ancient monuments such as Newgrange, Stonehenge, and Cahokia Woodhenge are aligned with the sunrise or sunset on the winter solstice.