Today is the winter solstice, this is the time when the sun shines at it’s most southern point directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, giving us our shortest day of the year and marking the official start of winter. Sunrise at 8.04 GMT and sunset at 15.54 allows us a mere 7 hrs and 49 mins of daylight.The good news is that after the winter solstice the days will start to get longer again until the summer solstice on 21st June 2017.
The solstice has been celebrated by pagans for thousands of years and many of the traditions that we now associate with christmas have their roots in these winter solstice rituals, as the druids used evergreen trees, holly and mistletoe as symbols everlasting life.
While thousands still travel to Stonehenge to celebrate the winter solstice, Brighton has created the Burning of the clocks festival. Beginning in 1993, this is a new, rather than an ancient tradition in which thousands participate by making beautful willow and tissue paper lanterns that light up the shortest day of the year.
The parade moves from the Royal Pavillion down to Madeira Drive on the seafront where the climax of the festival takes place with fireworks, as collections of lanterns are burnt in a blaze on the beach and Brighton celebrates the last of the longer winter nights.
We can all look forward to spring! x