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free winter coloring pages

free winter coloring pages

free winter coloring pages

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Winter is one of the four seasons of temperate zones. Calculated astronomically, it begins on the solstice and ends on the equinox. It is the season with the shortest days and the lowest average temperatures. It has colder weather and, especially in the higher latitudes or altitudes, snow and ice. The coldest average temperatures of the season are typically experienced in January in the Northern Hemisphere and in July in the Southern Hemisphere.

Astronomically, winter starts with the winter solstice and ends with the vernal equinox—though in popular usage, the word “winter” is more often defined by cold weather. By this definition, it would be approximated by the calendar months of June, July, and August in the Southern Hemisphere and December, January, and February in the Northern Hemisphere. By still another definition, the seasons are not seen as quarters of the year but as elastic periods in a particular place determined by the weather; winter, by that reckoning, runs from when the weather turns decidedly cold until a definite warming trend begins.

In Celtic nations such as Ireland (using the Irish calendar) and in Scandinavia, the winter solstice is traditionally considered as midwinter, with the winter season beginning November 1, on All Hallows, or Samhain. Winter ends and spring begins on Imbolc, or Candlemas, which is February 1 or February 2. This system of seasons is based on the length of days exclusively. (The three-month period of the shortest days and weakest solar radiation occurs during November, December, and January in the Northern Hemisphere and May through July in the Southern Hemisphere.)

Also, many mainland European countries tend to recognize Martinmas, St. Martin’s day (November 11), as the first calendar day of winter. The day falls at midpoint between the old Julian equinox and solstice dates. Also, Valentine’s Day (February 14) is recognized by some countries as heralding the first rites of spring, such as flowers blooming.

In Chinese astronomy and other East Asian calendars, winter is taken to commence on or around November 7, with the Jiéqì (known as 立冬 lì dōng—literally, “establishment of winter”).

The three-month period associated with the coldest average temperatures typically begins somewhere in late November or early December in the Northern Hemisphere and lasts through late February or early March. This “thermological winter” is earlier than the astronomical definition but later than the daylight (Celtic) definition. Depending on seasonal lag, this period will vary among climatic regions; typically, warm-temperate climates have an earlier thermological winter than colder climates.

Cultural influences such as Christmas creep may have led to the winter season being perceived as beginning earlier in recent years.

Snow activities

Many winter activities involve the use of snow in some form (which sometimes is man-made, using snow cannons):

* Bobsledding — a winter sport in which teams make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, purpose-built ice-covered tracks in a steerable sled.

* Skiing — the activity of gliding over snow using fiberglass planks called skis that are strapped to the skiers’ feet with ski bindings.

* Sledding — a gravity-powered activity using a sled to glide downhill.

* Snow castle building — for example, constructions such as the SnowCastle of Kemi, the largest in the world.

* Snowball fight — a physical game in which snowballs are thrown with the intention of hitting someone else.

* Snowboarding — an increasingly common sport in which participants strap a composite board to their feet and slide down a snow-covered mountain.

* Snowman building — creating a manlike model out of snow.

* Snowmobiling — driving snowmobiles in snow, across frozen lakes, on public trails, or around mountains.

* Snowshoeing — a means of travel on top of the snow by increasing the surface area of the feet by wearing snowshoes.

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