On the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, hundreds of people gathered in Luxor, the southern Egyptian city to witness a rare occurrence. On this day, the sun aligns over the Temple of Amun-Re, marking the beginning of astronomical winter! The golden sunlight fell over the temple as tourists, locals and Egyptian officials watched the once-in-a-year event.
The French Egyptologist, Marc Gabolde, said about watching the slow sunrise, “It’s very emotional.”
The ancient city of Luxor, Egypt is the home to some of the world’s oldest temples and Pharaonic tombs, right by the banks of the Nile River. Luxor experienced the shortest day and the longest night of the year on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021, at 5:59 p.m. It’s actually the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.
Here’s a time-lapse of the four seasons change, captured by a satellite in geosynchronous orbit around Earth:
When Winter Solstice happened around the world:
- Honolulu: 5:59 a.m. Tuesday
- Calgary, Canada: 8:59 a.m. Tuesday
- Orlando, Florida: 10:59 a.m. Tuesday
- Milan, Italy: 4:59 p.m. Tuesday
- Qatar: 6:59 p.m. Tuesday
- Bangkok: 11:59 p.m. Tuesday
- Seoul: 12:59 a.m. Wednesday
Thousands of people from all over the globe gathered around to celebrate in their own ways, as the Winter Solstice event has cultural implications in all societies. In India, there’s the Lohri Festival, wherein people have a bonfire and fly kites in celebration. Meanwhile, the people of Peru celebrated the Inti Raymi, a festival filled with colorful dresses and dancing. Over in the UK, there’s the Burning the Clocks festival, where they create hundreds of paper lanterns and clocks, then they gather around and burn them in a huge bonfire.
The Egyptians celebrated by gathering in the temple and having a dance show. Young kids were seen wearing traditional pharaonic customs as well. Check it out below.