Hi! Happy Winter Solstice! I am not a big fan of Winter, but Winter Solstice is the darkest day of the year which means every day after today will be light for one minute longer than the day before! So we are on our way to Summer! Ha ha! Did you like that positive spin?
The term 'solstice' comes from the Latin word 'solstitium', which means 'Sun standing still'.
On this day the Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses back as it reaches its southernmost position seen from Earth.
Solstice is celebrated with different traditions around the world. There are festivals, gifts of imitation fruit (a symbol of fertility), dolls (symbolic of the custom of human sacrifice), and candles (reminiscent of the bonfires traditionally associated with pagan solstice celebrations). The festival of 'Jule' is where he term 'Yule' came from. People would light fires to symbolize the heat and light of the returning sun and a Yule log was brought in as a tribute the Norse god Thor. The Yule Log was an entire tree most of the time, brought into the home for a ceremony and sometimes, the largest end of the log would be placed into the fire, while the rest of the tree stuck out into the room. The log would be lit from the remains of the previous year's log which had been stored away and slowly fed into the fire through the 12 days of Christmas. The log was burned until nothing but ash remained. The ashes were then collected and either used on the fields for fertilizer every night until the 12th night or kept to be used as medicine. A piece of the log was kept for good luck and to be used for the following year.
Pomegranates, watermelon and dried nuts are often seen at Solstice.
This year we will celebrate with a nice warm winter meal. Maybe a stew or soup. We will eat some of the most amazing vegan gluten free French macaroons I was blessed to be gifted. I like to light candles on the night of Solstice, maybe some incense too. We will read a book about the first day of winter. We don't really have a tradition we stick to every year. I like to get outside during a season change day. Today isn't too cold, so we will probably spend sometime on the playground or in our backyard.
How will you celebrate Solstice?