So what's so special about the Winter Solstice? Apart from the fact that it is the shortest day of the year which means the days start to get longer once it is passed, it has special significance in many cultures. Some countries mark their seasons from the equinoxes and solstices. We don't in Australia, preferring to use the first day of December, March, June and September instead.
The Dragonfly Dance Troupe warms up for the Grand Parade
The Winter Magic Festival is a colourful community event which brings together locals and visitors in a celebration of Midwinter. Pagan and Wiccan themes share street space with art, music and food. Highlights of the weekend include the Grand Parade up Katoomba Street and the evening Fireworks from the roof of The Carrington Hotel.
Winter Magic also marks the beginning of Yulefest or Christmas in July as it is also known, in the Blue Mountains. It is said that a group of Irish travellers happened to be in Katoomba in winter and being a little homesick, asked the chef in the hotel they were staying to prepare them a traditional Christmas meal. It is now very popular for locals and visitors alike to enjoy a winter feast in the tradition of Christmas.
How do you mark the June Solstice?