Wikipedia puts it simply: "The winter solstice (or hibernal solstice), also known as midwinter, is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. ...in the Southern Hemisphere this is the June solstice."
So much history for this event and it varied depending on where you lived. From feasts and celebration to simple observing of the change of seasons. Sites such as Stonehenge in England are famous as the gathering spots to obverse the changes and celebrate the times to come. (more history here)
The solstice is on the 21st June in Australia.
We celebrate each year at the Winter Solstice Festival held at the Northey Street City Farm (the home of the Organic farmers market we go to in Brisbane). The festival runs all day and includes wonderful celebrations, workshops and activities for all the family. At sunset the huge bonfire is lit the Solstice ceremony begins... just fantastic. Dancing into the night with great music. If you are in Brisbane on the 17th June, come and enjoy the day.
Being the longest night of the year, it is of course a great time to light your candles and reflect on the mid-point of the year. Take time out and enjoy the change in season, the start of winter and possibilities ahead.
How are you celebrating the Solstice this year?