Sunday, 21 December 2014

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

Yesterday, December 21st, was the Winter Solstice. Many festivals and celebrations, throughout history and culture, have been focused around this time of year. It marks the shortest day and longest night, and perhaps because of my Celtic blood, it has been important to me for many years.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice
The house is decorated and ready!

This change in seasons, as well as the coming new year, feels like a time for both reflection and change to me. I spend much of December reviewing the (recent) past and planning for the future. It is also a time of hope and rebirth. My Hubby laughs at me because on the day of the solstice, I manage to say, at least once, ‘Spring’s on the way!’ I will watch the sunrise and sunset times on The Weather Network with avid interest for a while, as the days slowly get longer.

I have a tradition for this day that involves turning off all the lights, except those on the Christmas tree. Back when we had a fireplace, I selected a Yule Log, a fat one that looked like it would burn well. These days, I have to settle for turning on my electric fireplace! I make a cup of mulled wine and sit in the cozy dimness, relishing the silence and tranquility. Often, I find it difficult to turn electric lights on afterward, opting for candles instead. It’s a simple ceremony that fulfills my desire for contemplation.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice
These days it's a fake Yule log in an electric fireplace!

This close to the big day, it’s a perfect, ritualized moment of calm before the storm. Today is grocery shopping and tomorrow the cooking starts! Turkey and stuffing, tourtieres, rum cake and custard – I’m gaining weight just thinking about it, but I know every mouthful will be worth it!

Whatever tradition you follow, I hope that your Holidays are filled with all good things.

Merry Christmas!

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