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December 23, 2009

Snowy scenes

Last Monday was December 21st - the Winter Solstice, or the shortest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere). The 21st would also have also been the first day of Nivôse, the first winter month of the long-abandoned French Republican Calendar, named after the Latin word nivosus, which, appropriately means "snow or snowy". Collected here are a handful of recent photographs of these snowy days for those of us in the north. [Editor's note, the next Big Picture will be on Monday, 12/28 - For those who celebrate, Merry Christmas! For everyone else, enjoy the weekend.] (42 photos total)

Children play with snow in the middle of the traffic roundabout at Columbus Circle in New York City on December 20, 2009. Heavy snowfall blanketed the East Coast on Saturday, disrupting public transport and air travel, and hampering holiday shoppers on the last weekend before Christmas. (REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly)

Deer are pictured in the snow in Knole park, Sevenoaks, Kent, England on December 18, 2009. (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman walks in a park during a heavy snowfall in the center of Sofia, Bulgaria on December 18, 2009. (REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov) #

Snowkiter Peter Mueller surfs the slopes of the Bernina Pass, near St. Moritz in the Canton of Grisons, South-Eastern Switzerland, on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009. (AP Photo/Keystone, Dietmar Stiplovsek) #

A man walks in the street during a snowstorm in Quebec City December 9, 2009. According to Environment Canada wind gusts have reached speed of up to 100km/h. (REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger) #

The Loch Ness Monster appears - in snow form - on Brighton Beach, Brighton, southern England, on December 18, 2009. (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images) #

Footprints can be seen on the snow outside Madrid's Almudena Cathedral as freezing weather hit large parts of Spain causing flight and train delays, December 21, 2009. (REUTERS/Susana Vera) #

palm trees along the "Promenade des Anglais" are covered by snow on December 19, 2009 in Nice, French Riviera. Temperatures started dropping two days before over France, and heavy snow fell on the region bringing transport difficulties. (VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images) #

Lindsay Vonn of the United States clears a gate during the 1st leg of the FIS World Cup Women's Slalom December 13, 2009 in Are, Sweden. (OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

A deer pauses in Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent, England on December 18, 2009. (CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man comes up from the icy water of a lake in Minsk, Belarus on December 20, 2009. Belarussian ice swimmers, known as "walruses", believe that their hobby helps to build up resistance to many illnesses and is crucial for surviving the long winter. (REUTERS/Vladimir Nikolsky) #

A tourist slides down the 20-foot ice slide at Gaylord National's ICE! exhibit, a 15,000-square foot winter wonderland created from 2 million pounds of ice, at National Harbor in Fort Washington, Maryland on December 18, 2009. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) #

Two ice sculptures at Gaylord National's ICE! exhibit, at National Harbor in Fort Washington, Maryland on December 18, 2009. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man rides in the trunk of a car to increase traction during a heavy snow storm on a regional highway near Skopje, Macedonia on December 19, 2009. (REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski) #

An Orthodox priest walks in snow in front of frescoes of Mykhaylo Gold Domes Cathedral in Kiev on December 21, 2009, after heavy snow fall in Ukrainian capital. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man skis down a well-traveled hill at the Kleine Scheidegg near the Swiss mountain resort of Grindelwald in this December 15, 2009 photo. (REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann) #

A worker clears snow from the steps of the United States Supreme Court December 19, 2009 in Washington, DC. Heavy snowfall blanketed portions of the east coast with snowfall in the Washington, DC area up to two feet. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) #

Snow covers the a decorated tree in front of the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

Elijah Spurell, 4, makes a snow angel in Roanoke, Virginia on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Kyle Green) #

A snowboarder competes during the US Snowboard Grand Prix men's qualifier on December 11, 2009 in Copper Mountain, Colorado. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) #

Snow-covered gondolas, seen, moored in Venice's lagoon, Italy, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009. Cold weather with temperatures below zero and heavy snowfall affected Italy and central Europe Saturday. (AP Photo/Luigi Costantini) #

Celebrants engage in druidic rituals outside the Stone Circle at Stonehenge, southern England as Druids and revelers celebrate the Winter Solstice, Tuesday Dec. 22, 2009. (AP PhotoBen Birchall/PA) #

A squirrel leaps over a thick blanket of snow while moving from tree to tree near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall December 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. (CHIP SOMODEVILLA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Walkers in New York survey a snowy Central Park on December 21, 2009. (Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images) #

A deer lifts its head, sitting in the snow in Richmond Park on December 16, 2009 in London, England. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) #

An unidentified skier takes part in the first training session of the Val Gardena Men's World Cup Downhill on December 16, 2009. (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images) #

Snow blankets woodland in the South Downs National Park on December 18, 2009 near Coldharbour, England. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) #

A worker shapes a snow sculpture prior to the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China on December 18, 2009. The 26th Ice and Snow Festival will kick off on January 5, 2010, local media reported. (REUTERS/Sheng Li) #

University of Wisconsin-Madison students battle in a campus-wide snowball fight on Bascom Hil December 9, 2009 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Andy Manis/Getty Images) #

With horse racing in the Britain badly hit by the severe winter weather the gallops at Middleham, England took on a Christmas card look as the Pennines, low rising mountain range, surrounding the gallops were covered with deep snow Monday Dec. 21, 2009. (AP Photo/John Giles/PA Wire) #

Firefighters rescue a German Shepherd after it fell through thin ice at Prairie Creek Reservoir on Monday Dec. 21, 2009 in Muncie, Ind. . According to rescue workers, the dog was in the water for over one hour. Firefighters were able to break the ice and the dog swam to shore. (AP Photo/ The Star Press, Chris Bergin) #

The San Gabriel mountain range is capped with snow behind the skyline of downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday, Dec 8, 2009. Monday's dawn-to-dusk rainfall had raised fears in Southern California foothill communities that flooding and mud flows could surge out of vast areas burned bare by wildfires, but the cold storm left a dusting of snow across the mountains north and east of Los Angeles instead of unleashing downpours. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) #

A paperboy reacts after falling from his bike after snowfall in London, England on Friday, Dec. 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) #

A swimmer jumps into the icy waters of a river on a snowy winter day in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China on December 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

A course worker covers his face from the cold while passing through morning sunlight patches on the hill prior to the women's World Cup Super-G alpine ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta December 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Andy Clark) #

Madison Ellesworth competes during the Paul Mitchell Progression Session after the US Snowboard Grand Prix on December 12, 2009 in Copper Mountain, Colorado. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) #

A woman walks through the snow outside the seaside town of Ballycastle on the North Antrim coast, Northern Ireland on December 20, 2009. (REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton) #

High winds whip snow off the western peaks of Mount Hood, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, as seen from Government Camp, Oregon, where rescuers were waiting to begin their search for two missing climbers. The rescue mission was later suspended, the climbers assumed to have died on the mountain. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) #

A swimmer lays down on the beach covered by snow in Nice, southeastern France, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009. The temperature of the water was 6 degrees C (42.8 F) and the outside air was 3 C (37.2 F). (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau) #

An assistant of a street photographer dressed as a tiger - the Chinese calendar sign for 2010 - helps a council worker to clear snow in a bid to warm himself on Independence square in Kiev, Ukraine on December 22, 2009. (NATALIYA SLIPCHUK/AFP/Getty Images) #

An aerial view taken from the new "Kandahar-Express" ski-lift shows the snow-covered forest at the southern German Ski region of Garmisch-Partenkirchen on December 18, 2009. (STEFFI LOOS/AFP/Getty Images) #

A boy slides down a hill on a plastic disk December 22, 2009 in New York's Central Park. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images) #