Shortest day 2022 | Winter Solstice 2022 | The longest night of 2022 | When does winter start

The new season is coming! Here’s how the winter solstice relates to the seasons and how people around the world celebrate it.


What is that? The winter solstice occurs in one hemisphere when that hemisphere is farthest from the sun and receives the least amount of daylight.

when is it? In the Northern Hemisphere, the next winter solstice will occur on December 21, 2022. The next winter solstice will occur in the Southern Hemisphere on June 21, 2023.

Why is it important? In astrological terms, the winter solstice marks the beginning of winter. On this day we have the day with The shortest day and the longest night. People attach great importance to the winter solstice and celebrate it with various festivals and rituals since ancient times. Famous monuments (Newgrange, Stonehenge, and Cahokia Woodhenge) are aligned with the sunrise or sunset during the winter solstice.

What happens on the winter solstice?

The winter solstice is the time when one of the two hemispheres is closed maximum angle with the sun. As a result, this hemisphere receives the least daylight and experiences the shortest day of the year. During the winter solstice, the sun’s path across the sky is farthest south in the Northern Hemisphere and farthest north in the Southern Hemisphere.

Inversions occur because our planet’s axis is tilted 23.5 degrees. If the Earth did not have an inclination, the sun would shine directly on the equator all year round. Then we wouldn’t have solstices and seasons. Watch this video for a visual explanation of how the Earth’s tilt works.

Fortunately, our planet (as well as all other planets in the solar system) is tilted, so we have seasons. The winter solstice is one of the transitional points between them – along with the summer solstice and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. as the name suggests, The winter solstice marks the beginning of winter. And if you live in the northern hemisphere, you can associate the winter solstice with December. You are not mistaken, but this may cause some confusion among you and those who live in southern latitudes.

What is the December solstice?

The December solstice is the solstice that occurs in December every year. On the Northern Hemisphere known as winter solstice which marks the shortest day of the year. while at it Southern Hemisphere the Summer Solstice who brings in the most daylight.

Inversions have been observed since ancient times. Our ancestors used the terms “winter solstice” and “summer solstice” long before they knew about the existence of another hemisphere. They didn’t think their winter could be their summer anywhere else.

People who live in the Northern Hemisphere (most of the world’s population) often use the phrase “December solstice” as a synonym for “winter solstice”, ignoring the Southern Hemisphere.

Astronomers like to say “December solstice” and “June solstice” to avoid seasonal references. But the “winter solstice” and “summer solstice” have taken root so much in cultures that it sometimes leads to misunderstandings.

When does the winter solstice happen?

Northern Hemisphere: The winter solstice occurs on December 21, 2022, at 21:48 GMT.

Southern Hemisphere: The winter solstice occurs on June 21, 2023, at 14:58 GMT.

Don’t forget to convert this time to your local time zone. You can use a website like World Time Buddy or Dateful. Another option is to use the Sky Tonight stargazing app. Open the app, tap on the magnifying glass, and type “Solstice” into the search bar. Choose the corresponding result and in the window that opens you will see the exact time in your local time zone.

Winter solstice dates

On the Northern Hemisphere The winter solstice usually takes place December 21 or 22; In rare cases, it can also take place on December 20 or 23. The next solstice will occur on December 20 in the year 2080; On December 23 – 2303.

On the Southern Hemisphere The winter solstice usually takes place June 20 or 21. In rare cases, it may also occur on June 22 – the next time the solstice will occur on this date will be in the year 2203.

Note that these dates refer to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The dates may differ in your local time zone.

Northern Hemisphere

  • 2022: December 21, 21:48 GMT
  • 2023: December 22 at 03:28 GMT
  • 2024: December 21, 09:20 GMT
  • 2025: December 21, 15:03 GMT
  • 2026: December 21, 20:50 GMT

Southern Hemisphere

  • 2023: June 21, 14:58 GMT
  • 2024: June 20, 20:51 GMT
  • 2025: June 21, 02:42 GMT
  • 2026: June 21, 08:25 GMT
  • 2027: June 21, 14:11 GMT

What is the first day of winter?

According to the meteorological approach Winter begins on December 1 in the Northern Hemisphere and begins on June 1 in the Southern Hemisphere.

according to the astronomical method Winter begins on the day of the winter solstice, usually December 21 or 22 in the Northern Hemisphere and June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.

How long is the shortest day in 2022 (Northern Hemisphere)

Let’s see how the length of the day changes in December in the Northern Hemisphere. The first number is the length of the day December 1, 2022the second is the length of the day on coup day (December 21 or 22, 2022, depending on the time zone).

  • New York: 9 h 28 m 35 s ⇒ 9 h 15 m 17 s
  • Ottawa: 8 hours 59 minutes 00 seconds ⇒ 8 hours 42 minutes 51 seconds
  • London: 8 h 11 m 18 s ⇒ 7 h 49 m 42 s
  • Mexico City: 11 hours 02 minutes 44 seconds ⇒ 10 hours 57 minutes 40 seconds
  • Madrid: 9h30m31s ⇒ 9h17m08s

To check the length of the day for your location, open the Sky Tonight app, tap the calendar icon on the home screen and go to the Sky Tonight tab sky. Below the graph you will find a file Length of the day (highlighted in yellow) for your location.

By the way, you see that the shortest day of the year does not have the nearest sunset. The reasons for this are the tilt of the Earth’s axis and the Earth’s elliptical orbit.

Winter solstice traditions

Inca Religious Ceremony: Inti Remi

  • where: Inca Empire
  • when: June 24th
  • Celebrate it: Inca

Inti Raymi was a traditional religious ceremony in honor of the god Inti, a celebration of the winter solstice and the Inca New Year. The celebration lasted nine days and included music, dancing, colorful clothes, the Aya Huma mask, and animal sacrifices.

Christian holiday: Saint Lucia’s Day

  • where: Scandinavia and Italy
  • when: December 13th (solstice according to the old calendar)
  • Celebrate it: Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans

Saint Lucia’s Day (as the name suggests) is a celebration in honor of Saint Lucia, the Christian martyr. The girls wear white dresses with red sashes and wear wreaths of candles on their heads in honor of Saint Lucia.

Asian Festival: Dongzhi

  • where: East Asia
  • when: December 20, 21 or 22
  • Celebrate it: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Ryukyuan, Peranakan.

Dongzhi is the time when families come together to celebrate the past year. It includes making and eating sticky rice balls, rice cakes, dumplings and hot pots.

The biggest holiday in Antarctica: Midwinter’s Day

  • where: Antarctica
  • when: June 20 or 21
  • Celebrate it: Antarctic research station personnel

Midwinter’s Day (or Midwinter Festival) was invented by a British Antarctic expedition as a Christmas tradition. It includes large sumptuous meals (lobster and rib-eye steak), alcohol, Christmas decorations, and gift exchanges.

Iranian Festival: Yalda Night

  • where: Iran and regions traditionally influenced by Iran
  • when: December 20, 21 or 22
  • Celebrate it: Iranians, Afghans, Azerbaijanis, Tajiks and Dagestanis

Yalda Night is the festival that families and friends celebrate together. During the longest night of the year, they eat special foods such as nuts, pomegranates, and melons, the red of which symbolizes the crimson colors of dawn and the glow of life. Some stay up all night to welcome the sunrise.

English Festival: Burning Hours

  • where: Brighton, England, United Kingdom
  • when: December 20, 21 or 22
  • Celebrate it: Brighton residents

The Burning of the Hours is a ceremony based on a procession of lanterns and costumes made of willow sticks and white tissue paper. The procession culminates in a lantern fire accompanied by fireworks. This festival was created as an “antidote to the excesses of commercial Christmas”.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the spring solstice?

There is no such thing as a “spring solstice”. Solstice only occurs in winter and summer. You probably mean the vernal equinox, which occurs around March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere and around September 23rd in the Southern Hemisphere.

How do you celebrate the winter solstice?

Every culture has its own way of celebrating the winter solstice. We recommend doing it astrologically – go stargazing, look for meteors, or locate a bright star near the moon. You can also stay and prove your astronomical skills by taking the solstice quiz.

The two solar equinoxes and solstices mark the beginning of the astronomical seasons. But what is the difference between the equinox and the solstice? And why does Earth really have seasons? Take the quiz to find the answers to these questions and learn fun facts about the equinoxes and the winter solstice.

Quiz solved!

How does the winter solstice affect pets?

In the same way as with humans – you may notice that your cat or dog sleeps a little more than usual and is less active. Around the winter solstice, we get the least amount of sunlight — so we tend to sleep more and feel less energized, and so do our pets. There is even a condition called seasonal depression, or SAD, which causes people to develop symptoms of depression at the same time each year.


The winter solstice will occur on December 21, 2022 in the Northern Hemisphere and on June 21, 2023 in the Southern Hemisphere. It represents the shortest day and the longest night of the year and the first day of winter in astronomical terms. This day is celebrated all over the world – even in Antarctica.

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