Every winter solstice since 2013, Hobart, Tasmania plays host to a special winter festival called DARK MOFO. The winter equivalent of the summer MONA FOMA, the festival brings together centuries-old rituals and an atmosphere of revelry with interactive art installations, musical and theatrical performances, along with plenty of good food and drink. Like similar pagan-stylized festivals around the world, DARK MOFO is interested in exploring mythology in both ancient and contemporary imaginations, the relationship between humans and nature, traditions from the secular and religious spheres, birth and death, light and dark.

While the festival plays out across the capital city, its major exhibitions can be found at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG), and an industrial public art playground known as Dark Park, along with performances at historic sites like the Odeon Theatre and Federation Concert Hall.

The festival typically runs in mid-June for about 10 days. Standout experiences have included the City of Hobart Dark Mofo Winter Feast, which takes place waterside on the city’s docks, the solstice night ogoh-ogoh procession and effigy burning, and the Nude Solstice Swim. Swimmers take to the River Derwent at sunrise to symbolically welcome the return of light after the longest night of the year.

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