Sunday 22 December 2019

Summer Solstice

Today we mark the Summer Solstice in New Zealand.  At precisely 5.19pm the sun will reach its highest position in the sky and this will mark the astronomical change of direction of the sun’s orbit.

Throughout history almost every culture has marked this event in some way with religious services and spiritual rituals, usually involving feasting, dancing and general merriment, and the lighting of fires.

Sunrise (Waikawau Bay, 2007)
(Photo used by permission)

It is the longest day of the year, having the greatest length of time between sunrise and sunset, and is one of nature’s more obvious turning points as from now on the seasons begin their long descent back into winter.

It is considered by some to mark the beginning of summer, and by others to mark the middle of summer (it is sometimes known as midsummer’s day).  Whichever way it is looked at the weather often becomes hotter after this day, with February nearly always being New Zealand’s hottest month of the year.

Midsummer Evening (Mt Maunganui, 2008)

Some modern ideas for marking this day are to watch sunrise and/or sunset, enjoy a barbecue outdoors in the evening, go for a long walk in nature, or light a candle and spend time contemplating the cycles of nature.

In the Northern Hemisphere it is, of course, the Winter Solstice.  Their days will now grow longer as ours will begin to grow shorter, which to me seems a greater reason to celebrate as it is always nicer to be moving into warmth and sunlight than into grey and dismal.

Summer Sunset (Pokuru, 2008)

Whether you totally ignore the Solstice (summer or winter) or choose to celebrate it in some way, I hope you have a great day.



  1. My other half just mentioned its the longest day of the year, looks like it's going to be another sunny warm week.

  2. I am always glad when the days begin to grow longer, but for the first winter every, I have not really noticed the short days so much. Normally they really get to me. Guess there has been too much other stuff. I LOVE your last shot...that is so beautiful.

  3. I went for a walk to enjoy the mild temperature around zero. I welcome the return of the sun. Hope it doesn’t get too hot for you next month.

  4. I wouldn't say that we celebrate the solstice, but we are keenly aware of it, and certainly do look forward to the days starting to lengthen. By the end of January there will be a noticeable difference.

  5. It has been very dark and dreary lately and lots of rain. We went to a Christmas home tour today and managed not to get too wet. I'm looking forward to longer days with more light. Enjoy your sunshine and have a great week!

  6. Here in the Uk was our shortest day, marking the start towards longer days and summer. As normal it was a wet dull day, and few people ventured outside. This morning the sky is blue and we have sunshine, and it's not as cold, in the south east of England, our winter coldest times are January to March, and if we see snow it will be in these months, but often we miss snow all together.


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