Next Winter Solstice: December 22, 2015 December 21, 2016 December 21, 2017
Winter Solstice Quick-facts
Solstice Names Used:
Winter Solstice (Most common name and also known as the 'shortest' day of the year)
Southern Solstice (Is in December, when the Sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere)
First Point of Capricorn
First Day of Winter
The Longest Night
Hibernal Solstice (Latin Name)
Dōngzhì (Chinese Name)
Tōji (Japanese Name)
Dongji (Korean Name)
Đông Chí (Vietnamese Name)
Pagan Wheel of the Year: Yule
Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time. The most notable ones are listed below:
Pictures & Everything below pertain to the Summer Solstice as they are still under construction
1. The Feast of St. John the Baptist Names:
The Feast Day of St. John the Baptist (June 24)
St. John's Eve (June 23)
Oiche Fheile Eoin
Līgo Vakars (Latvia)
Jāņu Vakars (Latvia)
Ivan Kupala Day (celebrated in Poland, Russia, Belarus & Ukraine)
Golowan (Goluan or Gol-Jowan) (Cornish)
There are many celebrations worldwide that coincide with the Summer Solstice and the story of St. John the Baptist. Some of these celebrations can last up to 30 days and many of the celebrations have pre-Christian roots as well. Some of the most common ways people around the world celebrate include:
Lighting bonfires (symbolizing a Catholic tale where John's mother, Elizabeth, agreed to light a big fire to notify her cousin Mary (mother of Jesus) that she had given birth)
Jumping through the flames for good luck or to prove courage
Praying for blessings or making wishes
Immersing oneself in water to cleanse (to represent the baptism)
Litha (Neopagan Fire Festival or Lith-Summer Solstice)
The exact dates vary between different cultures for the celebrations centered around the summer solstice. Midsummer is especially important in the Scandinavian culture where it is the most celebrated holiday apart from Christmas. Some people believed that mid-summer plants, especially Calendula, had miraculous healing powers and they therefore picked them on this night. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again. In later years, witches were also thought to be on their way to meetings with other powerful beings.
For more detailed information, please visit the page dedicated to the Neopagan Sabbat of Midsummer, or Litha.
By David F. Ashton: It takes a dozen strong met to wrestle the Mäis Täng – the “Midsummer Pole” – into place.
Midsommardagen, or Midsummer Festival, in Sweden.
Midsummer bonfire in Seurasaari.
Most of the information found here was taken directly from: