January the 1st means the first day of a new year for many. For some though, this day marks a special event, which takes place in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This is the sole day in the game where you actually get to physically see the sun on-screen. For the rest of the year, while the sun is there lighting the world up, it’s just off-screen.
How do you get to see the sun in New Horizons on January 1st? You get enough opportunity in the 24 hours to witness this unusual sight. There are two periods in the day you get to see the sun: at dawn, when it rises, and then at dusk, when it sets. For each period, the sun will be visible for about two hours, appearing between the sea and the top edge of the screen.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter what hemisphere your island is based in, north or south, as you’ll get to experience this wherever you are. The hemisphere does affect what time you’ll see the sun though. In the north, it’s winter, and in the south, it’s summer. The different seasons affects the dawn and dusk times. Summer typically has longer daylight hours, while the winter experiences shorter days.
These are the times you can expect to witness the bright sight of the sun. (Note: The official sunrise/sunset times have been listed, but the first and last appearances of the sun are specifically mentioned):
Sunrise: 6am – 8.10am (Sun doesn’t appear over horizon until 7.15am)
Sunset: 3.50pm – 6pm (Sun disappears below horizon at about 5.30pm)
Sunrise: 4am – 6.10am (Sun doesn’t appear over horizon until 5.15am)
Sunset: 5.50pm – 8pm (Sun disappears below horizon at about 7.30pm)
For each of these periods, this gives you a window of two hours and ten minutes, plenty of time to catch a sight of that glorious sun that brightens up your island every day.
You might be wondering why this event occurs in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It actually has a real-life origin. There is a Japanese tradition called Hatsuhinode, which translates to “first sunrise of the year”. The tradition involves waking up at dawn on New Year’s Day to witness the first sunrise. This is said to bring good luck to those who take part. This tradition is also observed in Korea.
Although the tradition specifically mentions the sunrise, Animal Crossing also includes the sunset in its unique event. So, if you jump into your New Horizons game during dawn or dusk, you might notice the sun seeming much brighter than usual. Now you know why. Enjoy the moment while it lasts, because it sadly only occurs on this one day of the year. If you miss the sunrise, you can still catch the sunset. If you miss it altogether, remember that you can travel back in time to witness this marvel. It’s certainly a special way to start off the first day of the new year.