It's true, us Australians don't do well with the cold. If you're wondering how much longer you'll need to withstand the winter chill, the arrival of today's winter solstice on June 21, 2021 does offer some promise for a change in weather in the near-(ish) future.
Although it's an event that comes around every year, not many people know what it represents – other than a loose understanding about it being the shortest day in the year. To clear up any misconceptions on the annual phenomenon, we're answering all your questions on this year's winter solstice.
What is the winter solstice?
In its simplest form, a solstice is used to mark a change in season based on the tilt of the Earth as it travels around the sun. When the winter solstice occurs, the Earth is tilted the furthest from the sun; resulting in what we have come to know as the day in the year with the least daylight and longest night. This year, you will experience roughly 9 hours and 53 minutes of daylight if you live in Sydney. Although the winter solstice does technically represent the shortest day in the year, it doesn't mean that there are any less hours or minutes in the day – just less daylight. To throw another spanner in the works, today also isn't the day that the sun rises at its latest or sets at its earliest.
How does this change sunrise and sunset times?
Many people think that after the winter solstice, sunrises immediately start becoming earlier. Unfortunately, there are still a few more days of dark mornings to come; with sunrise occurring at its peak at around 7:02am on July 2. According to Geoscience Australia, this occurs because of two reasons; the Earth orbits the Sun on an ellipse (not a circle), and secondly, we're slightly off-centre on the axis.
From July 2 onwards, sunrises slowly start becoming earlier again.
How to make the most of the 2021 winter solstice.
Just like any solar or lunar event, there is always an opportunity to realign, re-centre and make a conscious effort to manifest the thoughts we hope to come to fruition with the change in tide or season. The winter solstice has been recognised as an extremely powerful time for personal development and letting light back into our lives as the days begin to get warmer. With the rebirth of the sign, comes an opportunity to embrace renewal, regeneration and self-reflection.
If you are currently holding onto something that no longer serves you or are wanting to release certain bad habits; the winter solstice is the time to do so. However, if you are the kind of energy that traditionally resists change, you may feel a little uncomfortable or angsty during this time. Which, is entirely normal. It's ok to lean into these feelings as long as you're also willing to shine a light on the things you want moving forward in your life; and leave ill-serving thoughts in the darkness.
If you're looking for a more chaotic approach, many people in Australia commemorate the day by participating in a nude swim that was first made famous by controversial art festival Dark Mofo. Since then, people across the country have continued the tradition outside of the festival.
Also a small tidbit from the mother's of the RUSSH team, try lighting a favourite candle in "honour of the new season."
What's the difference between the solstice and equinox?
If you have heard people reference both a solstice and equinox and are unsure on what the difference between the two is; the clue is all in the name. Unlike a solstice where the Earth is faced in polar opposite directions to the moon or sun; an equinox represents a solar event when day and night are roughly equal. These normally occur two times a year during autumn and spring. You can expect the next one to occur on September 23, 2021 in Australia.
Now that we've had the shortest day of the year, when is the longest?
Just as there's a winter solstice, there is also a summer solstice – which is happening right now in the Northern Hemisphere (while we freeze). For us Australians, our summer solstice will arrive on December 22, just before Christmas.