Noon is the time exactly halfway through the day, written 12:00 in the 24-hour clock and 12:00 pm in the 12-hour clock. Midday is also used as a synonym for noon, although this may also be a more general term to mean around noon, or very early afternoon (when solar noon usually occurs).
Solar noon is when the sun appears the highest in the sky (nearest zenith), compared to its positions during the rest of the day. It occurs when the Sun is transitting the celestial meridian, exactly halfway between sunrise and sunset. This is also the origin of the terms ante meridian and post meridian. At solar noon, the sun is due south in the Northern Hemisphere, and due north in the Southern Hemisphere. The sun is directly overhead at solar noon at the equator on the equinoxes; at Tropic of Cancer (latitude 231&Mac218;2°N) on the vernal solstice in June; and at Tropic of Capricorn (231&Mac218;2°S) on the invernal solstice in December.
Because of the use of time zones and daylight saving time, there are few places and times where the highest point of the sun and a clock time of noon coincide.
The opposite of noon is midnight.
In traditional magical thinking, both noon and its opposite, midnight, form an axis linking the mundane world with otherworlds by being apogee of light and darkness, respectively. Thus, noon is associated with heaven, order and life.
Touching the sacrum
Central points of day and night were seen as moments when sacrum manifests itself and epiphanies were most likely. Thus, a noon prayer, healing practice and ritual magic were thought to be most effective – if their intentions were related to themes associated with day, of course. Also, numerous plants, animals, substances and other items harvested at noon were believed to have special, magical qualities and powers helpful in ritual practices.
As it seems, the Sun stops its voyage at noon, where it was thought to rest for a while. By standards of magical thinking this stillness is sacred, as Otherworlds themselves are still and static. It was thought that at noon, Otherworld pristine conditions were present, bringing the state of primordial chaos to the world.
This resulted in the taboo of working at noon, as work is associated with culture and civilization and therefore anathema to nature and chaos. So, the act of working at noon is viewed as human will contradicting the natural (or God-given) order. As a result, in folklore there is widespread belief that working at noon is vainly and even harmful.
Demons of noon
Persons breaking the taboo of working at noon were subject to chastisement by demons of noon. They are present in many mythologies, from Islamic and Hebrew mythology, where they were represented by dust devils, to Slavic mythology, where all sorts of poludnicas, wilas, and topielecs haunted the offending folk at noon. They universally caused hyperthermia resulting in aches, madness or drowning.