The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

The shortest day


By jasonf


All very obvious, at least I thought so, until I discovered a few years ago, that sometimes the shortest day of the year is actually 22nd December!!!
Apparently, astronomical calculations determine this.
I did find it rather amusing though that folk who “celebrate” the winter solstice on 21st each year, could well be doing it, in some years, on completely the wrong day!!!

That reminded me of my Uncle.
I remember when he died, and my Dad had to help Auntie get all the paperwork sorted out. In the course of events, Dad discovered Auntie’s birth certificate.
“I thought your Birthday was 22nd August?” said my Dad to Auntie.
Auntie looked up with a wry smile.
“Yes,” she said.
“Pop always used to celebrate my Birthday on 22nd, because when we met 45yrs ago, it was 22nd August, and I made some comment about it being a lovely Birthday present meeting someone so nice. I never did tell him it was 23rd!!!”

So, does anyone here celebrate something on the wrong day, or has done, or know of someone who did?
I’m sure some interesting stories are out there to be told.

More blog posts by jasonf

Previous post: Some of Derek's stories

Next post: The Ultimate weather forecaster



You must not believe some things people tell you, I know of lots of people who lead people down the garden path on purpus on lots of thing's, land etc

21 Dec, 2010


You're right about the variance between 21st and 22nd December, Jason - I always count the 22nd as the shortest day, just to be on the safe side, but the radio announced today as being the shortest, so maybe I'll go with that. A real cause for celebration, as far as I'm concerned, the year has turned again, hooray... I might just check the sunset times today and tomorrow just to be sure that I'm not cheering prematurely though, lol!
I have no knowledge of anyone celebrating something on the wrong day, well, except for the Queen, who has an official birthday, I'm far to preoccupied with detail and fact for that to happen - but I do know that my sister, oddly, gets younger and appears to have a moveable birth date depending on who she's talking to...;-)) I remember she signed up for the gym 12 years ago, stopped going, had to revive her membership and fill out the forms again and couldn't remember what she'd put down as her date of birth previously, lol! Dear oh dear...

21 Dec, 2010


I knew an old lady who'se birthday was 13th of July, but she was superstitious, and so celebrated it on the 12th .

I also remember my mother's old neighbout had her birthday on 29th Feb, so on 'un-leap' years she celebrated it on 28th :o)) Well she had no choice did she.

My gran celebrated her birthday on 10th of May but her birth certificate said she was born on 20th. But apparently that was because her father didn't register her birth in time, so he lied about the date. She always celebrated it on the correct day though :o)

21 Dec, 2010


Bamboo - yes, the sunset times, or what is often called "observational" time. Apparently it is fraught with inaccuracy, although preferred, as "instant" ie the moment, is an incredibly complicated astronomical calculation.
What is weird though, is that in the northern hemisphere, we celebrate on 21st, even though it can be on 22nd, whereas in the southern hemisphere, they celebrate on 21st June, even though it can be on 20th - yes, the day earlier!!!
Well done Hywel; those three are all good, and reminded me of a friend I had at school, whose birthday was 24th December. It was only when he was 18, that his Dad revealed his birth certificate to him, that showed it was 25th. His Dad apparently, together with his Mum, wanted him to have two sets of presents, like everyone else.

21 Dec, 2010


Hwyel, my Granny was born on 1st May in rural Ireland, but (like your great-grandfather) her father didn't get round to registering her birth til 31st so gave the wrong date too. I wonder how common that was?

21 Dec, 2010


My nanna had two birthdays,she found out when she had to send for her birth certificate that her parents had got the date wrong, there was a four day difference, my mum found out on her wedding day that my dad was four years younger than her, not two, apparently he lied when the war started so that he could enlist, being an orphan at the time there was no-one to stop him and in such dire times the powers that be didn`t care, all their married life mum said he was her toyboy......

21 Dec, 2010


my cousin's real birthday is the 25th dec. but as her parents didnt want her to get just one set of pressies she has /had her birthday parties on 25th June with all her school friends. She does have the correct date on all the legal documents though.

21 Dec, 2010


Ah, now that's interesting. Is the same true for the Spring Solstice Jason? My birthday is 20th March and I have always believed that to be the last day of winter and the day before the solstice, but in some years people tell me that 20th is the first day of spring. I don't know why, but I would rather have been born on the first day of spring!

6 Apr, 2011


It's just occurred to me that the confusion is simple - it depends whether you're counting the longest night, or the shortest day - I think the longest night is the 21st running over into the 22nd, obviously. Same problem with the spring solstice - shortest night? Or longest day... depends how you look at it.

8 Apr, 2011


KS63 - I think KS63 that your photo tells us all that you were born with spring in your eyes :)

8 Apr, 2011


My, what a lovely compliment! I am going to store that one away for a rainy day!! :))) Thank you!

9 Apr, 2011


my pleasure :)

10 Apr, 2011

Add a comment

Recent posts by jasonf

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    29 Mar, 2008