December Solstice 2003
and 'New Year' 2004

Butterflies on wildflowers

Solstice means "The Sun stands still" - and if you pick a marker and watch the horizon at visual sunrise each morning for five or six days preceding and following 22nd.December, you will see that from the 20th. to 23rd
.the Sun rises at the same place.
The Solstice 'point' is at 0° of Capricorn on the Tropical Zodiac, or at 270° of celestial longitude. The Sun reaches this point on the ecliptic at 07:05 GMT on December 22nd. this year, so we say that the Solstice occurs on December 22nd.
Christmas, and all the ancient Northern Hemisphere festivals celebrating the rebirth of the Sun[god], were timed by visual confirmation that the Sun is once again travelling along the horizon, towards the spring and summer.
Strictly speaking, Christmas should be celebrated at the end of June in the Southern Hemisphere.

It was the Romans who introduced the date for the New Year which follows on January 1st. But this date has no solar, lunar, or agricultural significance.
For many Northern hemisphere cultures New Year began on 1st.November, or Samhain.
For others it began on such various dates as 25th.December, 1st.March, 25th.March, Easter, and 1st.September. Even today there are wide variations. Most of the Eastern Orthodox Churches celebrate New Year on 14th.January. The Chinese, who use a Lunar calendar, begin The Year of the Monkey at Dark Moon on January 23rd.and celebrations often continue until the New Moon can be seen 2 or 3 days later.
The Moslem New Year begins at the New Moon in February, which this year should be visible on Feb.22nd.
The Iranians, Parsees and Ba'hai celebrate at the Equinox, often 21st.March.
In Hindu tradition, the date usually falls in the second week of April, but is determined by astrologers for each year.
The Jewish New Year, like the Passover (which, incidentally, determines the date of Christian Easter) is determined by both Solar and Lunar cycles, being the New Moon closest to the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox. This year Rosh Hashannah will be celebrated on 16th.September, the first of 10 High Holy Days, culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
For those who worship money, the year begins on 1st.July!


Whenever you celebrate New Year, may it be a time of refreshment, recreation, and renewal.


The December Dark Moon occurs during the Solstice, at 09:44 GMT on December 23rd. in 1°08' of Capricorn.
Full Moon in January is at 15:41 GMT on 16°40' of Cancer.
February Dark Moon is at 21:06 GMT on 21st. in 1°10' Aquarius.

Find out what time these things will happen for you at the

Here is more about the cycles of the Moon
from the Permaculture Association of South Australia's 1988 Calendar

Is this the Summer or Winter Solstice for you?

More about Solar and Lunar Festivals in Southern Australia

And a final thought, from the Introduction to the Designer's Manual, on Permaculture Design Philosophy:

"A person of courage today is a person of Peace.
The courage we need is to refuse authority, and to accept only personally responsible decisions."

with love from Margaret RainbowWeb The World Turns  - click to go to Global Meditations

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