Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice is HERE!

Tis the season, people. December is cram packed with cool holidays derived from many cultures, traditional views and olden religious ceremonies. One day that is laden with small gatherings and traditional hubbub is the day of winter solstice. This year, winter solstice will fall on Saturday, the 21st of December.

Via ApodNASA

The winter solstice is commonly known as December solstice because depending on whether you’re in the northern or southern hemisphere… well, it may or may not be winter. This day is characterized by that night being the longest of the year. This day is also a sign of coming light and warmth as the sun begins to shift- causing longer days and more light in the sky until the eventual passing of the summer solstice.

That’s pretty symbolic if you ask me. So let's looks at some different ways people celebrate winter solstice and then find some small things we can all do to remember the coming of lighter, better, brighter days with the new year. 

Via Karuna

The main tradition connected to winter solstice is that of Yule, which has a background in Wicca and is celebrated by many. The traditional celebration is marked by candle-light or a fire built with a yule log (a large log burned at the hearth. NOT to be confused with the chocolate log cakes that also garner the name). Back in the day, the Yule log looked more like an entire tree trunk and was burned outside. The remaining coals then were allowed to be aflame for 12 days following, symbolizing the coming 12 months of the next year. The 12 days following Yule is a time of contemplation, planning and retrospect on the year behind you and the year ahead of you.

Yule Log Via Why Christmas

SO. How will you celebrate?

Since the traditional winter solstice celebrations have many deviations determined by those who want to celebrate (as with Christmas and every other holiday) the way you choose to celebrate is completely up to you! If you live in Gautemala, perhaps you will enjoy a big festival with the main event consisiting of a traditional “flying pole dance” which is TOTALLY as cool as it sounds. Click the link below to watch. If the flyers land on their feet, it means the sun god was pleased with the days getting longer 

Start video at 20 seconds! 

But if you are still not sure about what you want to do to celebrate the winter solstice, have no fear! I've come up with some things that you are probably going to do anyway this holiday break. WHY NOT commemorate some of these as part of your solstice happy fun times?

Here are some other things you can do to commemorate the winter solstice:

  1. Have a bon fire- I mean, it’s the longest night of the year, amiright? Make it count!

  2. Spiced Cider: Apples and Oranges represented the sun in old lore. Also, Cider is deliciously warm. (Mix chai tea with hot cider to make a lovely caffeinated drink).

  3. Go to the local rock shop (open Friday and Saturday  from 12:00 pm -6:00 pm) and try to find these solstice related stones: Rubies, bloodstones, garnets, emeralds, diamonds.

  4. Go caroling or look at Christmas lights!

Remember, the winter solstice celebrations are all about peace, harmony, love and happiness. 

Via Miss-Sweetie

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