Midwinter is the middle of the winter. The term is attested in the early Germanic calendars.
Midwinter is attested in the early Germanic calendars, where it appears to have been a specific day or a number of days during the winter half of the year. Before the adoption of the church calendar, the date of midwinter may have varied due to the use of a lunisolar calendar, or it may have been based on a week system tied to the astronomical winter solstice. In the medieval Icelandic calendar it was the first day of Þorri, the fourth winter month, which corresponds to the middle of January in the Gregorian calendar. According to Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla (c. 1230), the pre-Christian holiday Yule was originally celebrated at midwinter, but in the 10th century, the king Haakon the Good moved it to the same day as Christmas, about three weeks earlier.
Beginning in the 18th century, the term midwinter has sometimes been misunderstood as synonymous with the winter solstice.
- ^ Nordberg 2006, pp. 43–44.
- ^ Jansson 2011, p. 59.
- ^ Hollander 2007, p. 106; Nordberg 2006, p. 35.
- ^ Nordberg 2006, pp. 120–121.
- Jansson, Svante (2011). "The Icelandic calendar" (PDF). In Óskarsson, Veturliði (ed.). Scripta islandica. Vol. 62. ISSN 0582-3234.
- Nordberg, Andreas (2006). Jul, disting och förkyrklig tideräkning: Kalendrar och kalendariska riter i det förkristna Norden. Acta Academiae Regiae Gustavi Adolphi (in Swedish). Vol. 91. Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur. ISBN 91-85352-62-4. ISSN 0065-0897.
- Snorri Sturluson (2007). Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway. Translated by Hollander, M. Lee. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-73061-8.
- Bø, Olav. "Midvinter". Kulturhistoriskt lexikon för nordisk medeltid (in Swedish). Vol. 11.