The darkest part of the year is upon us.
The winter solstice arrived in the Northern Hemisphere late Saturday, ushering in winter on what is also the shortest day of the year. Winter officially arrives at 8:19 p.m. PT, when the sun was at it lowest latitude in the Earth's sky for those above the equator.
To highlight the bone-chilling weather many of us can expect for the next three months or so, Google has created a Doodle that features the same friendly globe that heralded the coming of fall earlier this year, this time with an astonished expression and a snowman affixed to its North Pole.
For almost as long as Google has been around, it's livened up its barebones search page with artwork that draws attention to notable people, events, holidays and anniversaries. Google Doodles have celebrated, among many other things, , , and the .
And just as the Northern Hemisphere was welcoming the shortest days of the year, Google also helped the Southern Hemisphere greet the warmer days of summer with a summer solstice Doodle that featured a more contented globe gazing on a palm tree and sun-drenched lounge chair.
If you aren't too keen on whichever season your neighborhood just entered, remember that you can count on things moving in the opposite direction in six months.
Both events have varied interpretations among different cultures worldwide but are generally marked by holidays, festivals and rituals. However you mark the seasons changing, take solace in knowing that the days are getting longer (and shorter).