As the world prepares to celebrate the most magical day of the year, autumn silently bids us goodbye to make way for winter. The appointment with the solsticeIndeed, is scheduled for Tuesday 22 Decemberthe day when sunlight will reach its minimum.
Around this time, in many parts of the world, the coldest season of the year is greeted with a whole host of ancient rituals, traditions and customs that deserve to be discovered. And what better opportunity than this to organize a last minute trip?
The destination to reach, to enjoy the enchantment of this moment, It’s called Newgrange. It is a prehistoric site located in County Meath, Ireland, whose origins date back to 3200 BC, and which is therefore older than Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt. It is precisely here that every year on the occasion of the winter solstice a big party is organized to celebrate the return of the sun which, in 2023, will also be broadcast live.
Welcome back winter: Ireland’s magical solstice experience
The appointment with the winter solstice, as we anticipated, this year is scheduled for December 22nd. On this date, the sun will keep us company for just 8 hours and 46 minutes, making this record the shortest day of the year. This happens because the solar system’s parent star reaches its point of minimum declination along the ecliptic, officially starting the cold season in the Northern Hemisphere.
A moment, this, which heralds the arrival of dark and cold days, but which in reality coincides with the return of the sun. Starting from December 22nd, in fact, the light will slowly take over the darkness. As we anticipated, there are many ancient and modern rituals that celebrate this moment. Among the most suggestive and fascinating there is certainly that of Newgrangeone of the most important prehistoric sites in Ireland and the world.
Located in County Meath, Ireland’s Ancient East, the megalithic area transforms into stage of a breathtaking show during the solstice. Thanks to skilful work and astronomical expertise, the architects managed to create a structure capable of capturing the light of the sun.
At dawn on the winter solstice, the sun’s rays, after having passed through the narrow corridor, reach the burial chamber and completely illuminate the dark space, giving the viewer the sensation of be faced with a spell.
Newgrange, like witnessing the return of the sun
Watching the winter solstice at Newgrange is one of them experiences to live at least once in your life. An evocative and exciting vision which however is accessible only to very few people. To enter the site, in fact, it is necessary to participate in an annual lottery that allows entry to only 50 lucky people. All the others, however, gather outside the tomb to admire the birth of the sun on the first day of winter.
However, there is another way this year to witness the solstice. Starting from December 21st, in fact, a live streaming link from Newgrange on the Heritage Ireland website. This will be the perfect opportunity to feel like you’re on the other side of the world and take part in a unique and magical event.