The countdown is on to 2018's winter solstice – the longest night of the year. What will you do to take advantage of the extra hours of darkness? Maybe you could plan a movie marathon, or you could plan for the longest night's sleep, or you could head to Northey Street City Farm on June 23 to celebrate this annual milestone in our global orbit around the sun.
A little on the astrological and cultural importance of the winter solstice. This event was a measurable marker for our ancestors, influencing the planting of crops and a chance to monitor what food was needed to get through the winter.
A well stock nursery with plenty of native and edible plants
The ancient monument of Stonehenge in England has an alignment to the sunset of the Winter Solstice. And it's not the only one, with Newgrange in Ireland aligning to the Solstice sunrise. Iranian people have 'Yalda Night' in the house of the oldest family member, getting together to eat, drink and read poetry. East Asia marks the Winter Solstice as 'Dongzhi', one of the 24 solar terms.
Our solstice of June 21 sees 13 hours and 36 minutes pass between sunset and sunrise. If that is not nearly enough night, you could you travel to the Northern hemisphere city of Rovaniemi, Finland. December 21, 2015, saw a night of 21 hours and 46min. A little side note, Rovaniemi is the official home of Santa Claus.
Back to the Northey Street City Farm Winter Solstice Festival, you can have a raft of family-friendly fun. The quality of the music is brilliant, with the likes of OKA, Spankinhide, Linsey Pollack and Murray Kyle along with other local acts.
The other thing they are generating is opportunities to learn and create. The folk of Northey Street have an afternoon program of sustainable living talks to educate you and activities for the teens and kids too.
At sunset, launch into the night. Ceremony is what marks all notable events, and here your can commemorate with a Solstice Ceremony, lantern parade and bonfire. Then bring on the dancing.
What will not be generated is waste. The challenge the Northey Street team have set is to have a ZERO waste event. To achieve this, stalls will not be using any single-use items. So, bring your own water bottle / plate / bowl / cup / cutlery. If you do forget, don't stress, as items will be available for hire for a gold coin donation. Or check out the stalls and kit yourself up with sustainable products available.
Reusuable Produce Bags - Just one great sustainable product
Make your way to this wonderful event. Learn a little. Laugh a little. Play a little. Most of all, enjoy a lot. Can't think of a better way to spend the longest night of the year than in the company of these wonderful folk. Visit www.nscf.org.au/solstice-festivals for tickets and more info.