Happy Winter Solstice! Or if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere happy Summer Solstice! So maybe I should say happy December solstice instead. Today marks longest night of the year and if you’re living south of the equator it is the longest day.
Winter solstice is also called midwinter. Celebrations of the December (and June) solstice goes back very far. We know now that a number of cultures were aware of the existence of the solstices, like the people that build Stonehenge. The primary axe of Stonehenge is carefully aligned with the sight-line of the winter solstice sunset. Midwinter may have been very important for the communities back then. People didn’t know if they were going to make it through the (often tough) winter so they celebrated Midwinter festival. Animals were slaughtered so they didn’t need to be fed in the winter, this was often one of the only times of the year fresh meat was available, and beer and wine had fermented long enough to be good to drink. Sounds familiar doesn’t it, although now a lot of us don’t have to worry about making it through winter and fresh meat is always available…
In this day and age not many of us celebrate December solstice, most people I know haven’t even heard of it. I don’t “belong” to any religious institution but I believe in the power of Mother Nature and the Universe so I always celebrate in my own way. I don’t organise a big party (there are big celebrations for a lot of us coming up, I welcome the light, and to make it easier to explain I call it Midwinter Light festival or Yule but more on that in a future post) I light some candles, burn some incense, meditate and maybe even set some new intentions.
After today the amount of daylight we get on the Northern hemisphere is getting larger, the days are becoming longer and slowly the days get shorter on the Southern hemisphere. Until June, that’s when June solstice is and it switches around again.
Whether you celebrate it, think of it or do nothing at all, I want to wish you a happy December solstice!
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