5 fun facts about the Winter Solstice (and why are they all getting naked?)

winter solstice nude swim

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Solstice is a really powerful time of year to do spiritual practices. I mean the fact is that ancient cultures created sacred temples and stone circles in perfect alignment to this moment in time.
So, this week I’m going to share my 5 fun facts about the winter solstice … (including answering the question of “why are there so many people getting naked at this time?”).

*You can also listen to my podcast episode #167 about this topic HERE.

Fun Fact #1 – The winter solstice marks the point when the southern (or northern) hemisphere is the furthest away from the sun – so it marks the first day of winter in the astronomical calendar, whilst in the meteorological calendar, we are already three weeks into winter. It will occur on Thursday, June 22, at 00:58 (AEST) Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Fun Fact #2 – The Sun stands still. Like many other astronomical terms, the word solstice comes from Latin. Owing to the Sun appearing to ‘standstill’ in the sky when it reaches the Tropic of Capricorn, the word solstitium was used which in turn is composed of the words sol (meaning ‘sun’) and sistere (meaning to ‘standstill’).

Fun Fact #3. Nine hours darker. You’re probably aware that the day of the winter solstice marks the shortest day of the year, but did you know that it’s almost nine hours shorter than the longest day of the year? The summer solstice is just short of 16 hours and 38 minutes long, while on the day of the winter solstice the length of the day is a mere 7 hours and 50 minutes.

Fun Fact #4. The earliest sunset. Logically you’d expect the earliest sunset to fall on the shortest day, but the earliest sunset actually occurs a few days earlier in the calendar and it’s all to do with our clocks not quite mirroring the Earth’s orbit. True solar noon, the point at which the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky, occurs around 10 minutes earlier than when our clocks strike 1200, and it is this discrepancy that means the sunset also arrives a little later on the solstice.

Fun Fact #5. People do naked rituals on the solstices. Why?
Bonfires, lantern walks and naked swims: How the winter solstice is celebrated around the world. Cultures from the ancient Incas to China today have ritualised winter solstices, celebrating light’s victory over darkness. And the nude part? … well … that’s about purification, washing away negativity and feel a sense of renewal. Described as a restorative and liberating experience, it’s the perfect way to give your mental health a winter reset.

So, these are my 5 fun facts about the Winter Solstice.

Some of my fellow Submerge Phillip Island dunkers are going to do the:
• Nude cold water swim – Dark Mofo TAS
• Nude cold water swim – Ian Lindeman Memorial Winter Solstice Swim Canberra ACT

There is so much more to these events than meets the eye. It might seem like a bunch of crazy people running into icy cold water for kicks … but rituals are am important in our lives. These winter solstice rituals honour light, renewal, and restoration. The daily rituals that you do can change the way you live your life in a significant way. Quiet time with a cup of tea as the sun rises. Walking on the beach at lunch time or at sunset with your dog. Breathing deeply in the garden. Laughing at funny video (or 12) online. Sitting on the couch with a loved one and watching your favourite tv show. Doing a meditation that clears the debris from your day before you go to sleep.

Cold water dunking has been a game changer for me. Having this cleansing and uplifting ritual in my day has not only helped me with increasing focus, decreasing anxiety and stress, improving my feeling of connection to the universe, given me a new high vibe community, reducing inflammation in my body, giving excellent practice in mindfulness … it’s also decreasing my weight. So many mind and body benefits. Having said that … doing it naked is my new brave step … I’ll let you know how it goes after the winter solstice.

As a Life Coach and Divine-ologist, I am always talking to my clients about how to bring more meaning, spark and fulfillment into their daily lives. Before they do the coaching a lot of them were feeling hopeless, frustrated and asking ‘what’s the point of my life?’ … and it is one of my most favourite things to watch someone remember how to be joyful and light again.

You might not want to jump into cold water every morning … and that’s okay … each to their own … but ask yourself what DO you feel curious, inspired, interested in doing on a daily basis that will lift you, fill you up, warm your heart, make you laugh, soothe your soul, and give you a reason to get up and live your best life now. You can start anytime. It’s not too late.

So, maybe you will feel inspired to get naked for the winter solstice this week, or maybe not … but whatever happens … this is a great time to let some shit go … start the new season with a clean slate and fresh focus. Hope you enjoyed my 5 fun facts about the winter solstice.
Blessings Pip x

If you’d like to book in a complimentary Divine Discovery chat you can do it HERE

If you are interested in the Dark Mofo or Ian Lindemen swims check out the links below.

TAS – Dark Mofo
More than 2,000 hardy souls bare all for a midwinter dip in Hobart, marking the shortest day of the year. Among the crowd in 2022, was 59-year-old Pam, who took a maiden naked plunge a week out from her birthday alongside fellow first-timers Richard, Peter and Glenda.
“It was a really unique experience. You let go of all your fears, everything, and just go in,” the southern Tasmania resident said. “A friend told me it’s like a baptism. You’ll go in the old you and you’ll come out the new you. That’s sort of how it feels.”
The group enjoy a nip of whisky and herbal tea on shore after being part of the masses that enter the River Derwent at the 7.42am sunrise.
The swim, a symbolic act of purification marking the winter solstice and end of the Dark Mofo winter festival, first began with 230 participants in 2013.

ACT – Ian Lindeman Memorial Winter Solstice Swim
Celebrating its seventh year, the Ian Lindeman Memorial Winter Solstice Swim sees hundreds of brave Canberrans strip to their birthday suits and take a dip in Lake Burley Griffin in the name of charity. Held at sunrise on the winter solstice each year, swimmers raise much-needed funds for local charities, with 100 per cent of funds this year raised going to support Lifeline Canberra.
Held at Yarralumla Beach on Lake Burley Griffin on Thursday 22 June @7.12am. The event provides fire pits and a free sausage sizzle and coffee after 7:15 am, and a celebration at Dickson Tap House at 5 pm. There is a strict no-spectators rule on this event (we think you can guess why).
Ian Lindeman first organised this event in 2017, with the aim to do something ‘a bit different’ to refresh spirits and support a good cause. Now grown quickly from its humble beginnings, the nude swim encourages participants to wash away negativity and feel a sense of renewal. Described as a restorative and liberating experience, it’s the perfect way to give your mental health a winter reset and feed your soul through a good deed. Ian Lindeman passed away from liver cancer in 2019, but his legacy and impact on the Canberra community continues to live on through his event.

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