As the Earth travels around the Sun in its orbit, the north-south position of the Sun changes over the course of the year due to the changing orientation of the Earth's tilted rotation axes with respect to the Sun. The dates of maximum tilt of the Earth's equator correspond to the summer solstice and winter solstice, and the dates of zero tilt to the vernal equinox and autumnal equinox.
In the northern hemisphere, the Winter solstice is the day of the year (near December 22) when the Sun is farthest south. However, in the southern hemisphere, winter and summer solstices are exchanged so that the winter solstice is the day on which the Sun is farthest north. The winter solstice marks the first day of the season of winter. The declination of the Sun on the (northern) winter solstice is known as the Tropic of Capricorn (-23° 27').
The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, respectively, in the sense that the length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a minimum for the year. When it's winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is directly overhead at noon only along the Tropic of Capricorn, on which lie such places as Sao Paulo, Brazil, southern Madagascar, and areas north of Brisbane, Australia.
The origin of the word solstice, which comes from the Latin solstitium, from sol, "sun" and -stitium, "a stoppage."
Winter solstice traditions: The Unconqured Sun.
In the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year (near June 22) when the Sun is farthest north. In the southern hemisphere, winter and summer solstices are exchanged. The summer solstice marks the first day of the season of summer. The declination of the Sun on the (northern) summer solstice is known as the Tropic of Cancer (23° 27').
The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, respectively, in the sense that the length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a maximum for the year.
With the warmth of the season caressing the land, the celebration of the Summer Solstice brings forth a truly joyous recognition that we can now enjoy the fruits of our labors in the past season. It is not surprising that this same spirit of pleasure and fun had carried over into our modern-day recognition of this, the longest day of the year.
Falling on or about June 22nd, the Summer Solstice is a time of light and of fire. It is a time to reflect upon the growth of the season: the seeds that were planted in the earth and the seeds planted in our souls. It is a time of cleansing and renewal. It is a time of love and growth as well.
The following pictures are from sites where the solstices have been celebratated since ancient times.
Newgrange in Ireland
Looking in the passage during the solstice
Dowth in Ireland
The passage into the tomb.
Maes Howe in the Orkney Islands
During the solstice
An arial view of Goseck Circle in Germany
Sun Dagger in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, USA
Mancos Canyon, Colorado, USA
Two Story Cliff House in Mancos Canyon, Mesa Verde, Colorado, USA
Caracol Tower, Chichen Itza, Mexico
Otherwise known as El Caracol