Solstices are opposite on either side of the equator, so the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere is the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere and vice versa.
Solstice literally means ‘Sun Stands Still’, for a few days around the time of the winter solstice the sun appears to stand still in the sky in that its elevation at noon does not seem to change.
The winter solstice date is normally considered to be the 21st of December in the northern hemisphere, however at the winter solstice the position of the sun remains the same for three days.
At Newgrange in Ireland a wonderful event takes place for a few days around the winter solstice each year, the passage and chamber of the 5000 year old monument are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December.