Prime Locations for the Winter Solstice and Winter Festivals


The winter solstice (or yuletide for pagans) happens within the Northern Hemisphere on Friday twenty second December. It marks the longest evening and shortest day of the yr, and focuses upon the rebirth of the solar in Pagan lore.

Probably the most well-known celebration of the winter solstice within the UK is widely known at Stonehenge from dawn. This mysterious and magical monument has been a preferred place to mark the altering of the seasons for the final 4,000 years. There are lots of different places and winter solstice occasions that happen throughout the globe in addition to many winter festivals that give us an amazing alternative to embrace the winter months.

Should you’re in search of a last-minute escape or simply take pleasure in visiting nations out of season ebook a winter break! Observe the winter solstice or embrace the season at a winter pageant. Under are a few of our favorite winter vacation locations that will help you get probably the most out of winter.

The Karnak Temple, Egypt

Though its dry and scorching for many of the yr, Egypt is a cushty place to go to in December. You possibly can stroll alongside golden sands and go for a dip within the Pink Sea. On December twenty first, witness the winter solstice when the common temperatures are 17°C to 22°C (63°F to 72°F). You’ll solely want a light-weight jumper! To expertise the winter solstice in spectacular vogue, make your technique to the Karnak Temple Complicated at Luxor.

The Karnak Temple  is a major historic web site, which was developed between the Twelfth and Twentieth Dynasties. Throughout that point, Egyptian pharaohs added their very own buildings to create the awe-inspiring advanced we see right now. The traditional Egyptian’s believed that it was the place creation started. At this time it’s nonetheless seen as a spot of worship. It continues to attract crowds on the twenty first of December at daybreak.

Don’t be mistaken. Attending the winter solstice right here isn’t your common dawn. It’s a photo voltaic alignment phenomenon. Carry your digital camera to seize the solar getting into the Karnak Temple from the east. It’s beams run alongside the temple’s foremost axis and flood into the Holy of Holies (a sanctuary the place statues of the Egyptian gods have been saved). The solar will then glide as much as brighten the temple of Hatshepsut (constructed by Queen Hatshepsut).

This astronomical phenomena out within the desert lasts for 20 minutes. Keep longer to observe Egyptian folks dances, because the solar rises within the sky.


Chester, England

Saturnalia was a winter pageant that befell all through the Roman Empire to rejoice the Roman god of farming (Saturn). It was celebrated by the Romans and befell between roughly seventeenth – twenty third December. Some argue that the primary Christian emperor changed Saturnalia with Christmas after he grew up celebrating Saturnalia.

In honour of Saturn, everybody (together with slaves and their masters) met collectively at a temple to sacrifice younger pigs. The opposite festivities included consuming the pigs the subsequent day and consuming wine. Items have been shared and video games have been performed, so you possibly can see the parallels with Christmas! Outdoors down the streets a celebration ambiance existed for all the place individuals wore ‘social gathering garments’. Subsequent, everybody watched a gladiator battle within the city.

Saturnalia was a winter pageant that ran throughout seven days. At this time, it’s celebrated by reconstructionist pagans the world over. Wish to rejoice it earlier than Christmas Day? Watch the Saturnalia Parade throughout the Roman metropolis of Chester. After a spot of Christmas purchasing, you possibly can meet with the locals at Chester’s City Corridor and step again in time.

Hear Emperor Domitian ship his speech to substantiate Roman rule and watch a grand procession march down the streets, led by the Roman Deva Victrix twentieth Legion. Cheer because the Legion marches previous you with their flaming torches in hand. The occasion finishes with a fire-breathing finale. End your weekend in Chester with a hearty roast inside one among its historic pubs discovered alongside Decrease Bridge Road.


Florø, Norway

Have you ever ever spent New 12 months’s Eve in St Ives, Cornwall? It’s possible you’ll know that the locals costume in several costumes and cheer to welcome the brand new yr, then watch a spectacular fireworks show! In Norway, throughout the western down of Florø the locals take their dressing up a stage additional. A winter carnival known as Kjippen – the Carnival of the New 12 months is widely known on New 12 months’s Eve. It started within the nineteenth Century as a protest in opposition to unjust wages. Having saved this spirit there may be typically a spirit of riot with satirical undertones. Having mentioned that, general it’s a vibrant and vibrant spectacle.

As a substitute of fireworks at midnight – individuals costume as vibrant characters and parade previous Florø’s fairly chocolate field homes. Whether or not on foot or upon a lit-up float, every character carries a satirical message on a poster. It’s possible you’ll need to do your homework beforehand to know the jokes! All through the night, pop-up avenue performers take turns to entertain the crowds. Then, all of the characters meet to burn their placards on a blazing bonfire.

This carnival could also be uncommon. Nevertheless, this artistic custom provides color to Florø’s streets in winter as a singular attraction for locals and vacationers. As it’s far sufficient North, you could possibly mix it with a winter break in Norway to witness the colorful Northern Lights. View our Norway Holidays weblog to be taught extra.



Scotland is value a go to at any time of the yr, for those who wish to admire mountainous panorama and pattern wealthy delicacies. Nevertheless, why not go to from New 12 months’s Eve or the second week of January? Darkness might fall within the Shetland Islands by 3pm however on the east coast of Scotland, distinctive mid-winter fireplace festivals happen!

On New 12 months’s Eve welcome a brand new yr by travelling to Stonehaven, south of Aberdeen. Right here, a Fireball Ceremony (pagan purification ritual) takes place. Hear the sounds of pipes and drums and watch a blaze of fireballs whizz above the heads of people who parade down the road carrying them. The occasion involves an in depth because the fireballs (the ghost of the outdated yr), are flown into the ocean at Stonehaven Harbour.

Then on the eleventh of January, be a part of the individuals of Burghead to rejoice the brand new yr (as soon as once more) for the The Burning of the Clavie. These celebrations begin by setting a cask (cut up in two) alight filled with staves. It’s carried all through the city, intently adopted by crowds – in direction of Doorie Hill (the battlements of an historic fort). The cask then sits as much as be refuelled and admired by all as its mild dims and burns out. Then it rolls down the hill and everybody rejoices. Take a chunk of the smouldering Clavie house – thought to carry good luck within the coming yr!

This occasion has taken place for the reason that 1750’s. Since this time, Burghead’s locals have celebrated New 12 months’s Eve twice a yr to insurgent in opposition to the brand new Gregorian calendar, which modified to start out 11 days sooner than their unique New 12 months’s Eve celebrations. In saying that, the origins of this conventional winter pageant in Scotland might be older. You’d should ask an area to make certain…

Burghead new year festival

Ottawa, Canada

In 1979, Ottawa’s first winter pageant known as Winterlude befell. Since its inception, Winterlude’s goal has been to rejoice Canada’s distinctive northern tradition and local weather – after the organisers have been impressed by their Canadian ancestors who usually met collectively in winter. So, the Winterlude Winter Competition was born!

At this time, Winterlude is North America’s finest winter pageant. The free occasion (organised by 800 volunteers) takes place throughout the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau in Quebec (Canada’s French province). Expertise the pageant for your self in the course of the first three weekends in February. The pageant’s actions embrace connecting with native indigenous individuals and admiring world‑class ice sculptures (the bulk created in the course of the Winterlude Nationwide Ice‑Carving Championship) alongside a cultural program.

Travelling with kids? Have enjoyable taking part in in a snow playground dubbed ‘Snowflake Kingdom’ in Jacques-Cartier Park, Gatineau. Additionally, look out for impediment races, mazes, Olympic sports activities, and acoustic exhibits inside this winter wonderland. Canada by no means fails to supply a blanket of snow in winter. So, this place must be successful. Kids (and people younger at coronary heart) can even discover winter sports activities reminiscent of tube sliding or skating on the close by historic skate rink. This simply occurs to be a UNESCO World Heritage Web site known as the Rideau canal and is open for leisure craft outdoors of the winter months.


Winterlude ice sculpture


Journey insurance coverage for winter vacation locations

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