Since ancient times, people from across the world have celebrated the winter solstice, hoping their rituals and festivals would bring the sun back.
The solstice, which means “sun stands still,” marks the shortest day of the year.
“You have to imagine people in ancient times not knowing what causes this,” said Anthony Aveni, a professor of astronomy and anthropology and native american studies at Colgate University. “And so they would wonder when the sun goes farther south, will it ever come back?”
Today, most people know the days will soon get longer again, but those traditions continue.
From the Lohri Festival in India to the Solstice Chase Bike Ride, these are a few of the most elaborate way the winter solstice is celebrated around the world.