For seven days this June, Loemis Winter Solstice Festival observes the longest nights of the year with a hearty mix of feasting, theatre, music, monstrous creatures and a fiery waterfront procession. The festival is in its second year, joining a 26,000-year cycle that began in neolithic times, based around the winter solstice, which falls on 21 June. The Culture Club
The long and short of it
By Roger Childs
The Sun is the engine that generates our weather. Because the Earth orbits around the Sun every 365 day or so, and revolves on its tilted axis every 24 hours, we get our seasons.
The winter solstice for the Southern Hemisphere is when the overhead sun is vertically above the Tropic of Cancer.
Today, June 21, is the solstice which gives us our shortest “day” and the sun is at its lowest in the sky to the north. (In the Northern Hemisphere it’s the opposite.)
The June Solstice is celebrated in many cultures. People around the world celebrate the day with feasts, picnics, dance, and music.
Great time for planting!
It’s all about planting great vegetables like carrots, beetroot, lettuce and more, it’s also time to prune back those fruit trees and being the Shortest Day of the Year, plant that garlic. Trudi on fresh.co
It is a good time to plant vegetables that are frost resistant. There is an old adage about planting onions on the shortest day so that you can harvest on the longest.
Try planting some red onions – the wonder-food of the month!
Trudi’s advice above is very sound and in addition to her list, brassica like cauliflower, cabbage, kale and broccoli will also do well if planted now.
Another crop which will be ready to pick in late spring if planted now, are peas.
Overhead sun coming south
Solstice comes from the Latin words
- sol, meaning Sun
- sistere, meaning to come to a stop or stand still.
Today the overhead sun has “stopped” going north and the turning point on the globe on 21 June, is the Tropic of Cancer: latitude 23.5 degrees north.
In six months time that point will be the equivalent latitude in the Southern Hemisphere: the Tropic of Capricorn.
The winter solstice is not the coldest day of the year in New Zealand because it takes a while for the sea and land to cool down following summer and autumn.
As we are all aware, this year has seen higher temperatures through autumn and into June.
How are things looking for the next couple of months?
June – August 2017 temperatures are about equally likely to be above average (40% or 45% chance) or near average (40% chance) for all regions of New Zealand. Above average sea surface temperatures around New Zealand and the tendency for high pressure systems to persist near the country during June and into July 2017 are likely to contribute to average or above average temperatures to start the three month period. Nevertheless, frosts and cold snaps will occur during the winter season. NIWA Meteorologist, Ben Noll
However, one thing is certain, the daylight time for us southerners will increase from tomorrow on! The overhead sun will start to ‘move’ south.