Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice - The Shortest Day of the Year!

Today marks the Winter Solstice - the shortest day of the year. Still celebrated by modern pagans, Winter Solstice has been a day of celebration since ancient times.

The Roman feast of Saturnalia honored the God Saturn as a week-long observation of the Winter Solstice. The day was also honored by the Germanic people of Northern Europe with Yule festivals, which brought us the tradition of burning the Yule log.

If you'd like to celebrate the shortest day of the year.... and thus, usher in the lengthening days, here are some ideas:
Celebrate with a series of rituals, feasts, and other activities, with Winter Solstice Eve and Day as the central focus. Have gift exchanges and meals over the course of several days and nights, as was done long ago.
Decorate your home with Druidic holiday colors - red, green, and white. Place holly, ivy, evergreen boughs, and pine cones around the house, including a sprig of mistletoe above the doorway. Hang an evergreen wreath on your door, adorned with holiday herbs - the circular shape represents the continuity of life.
Enjoy a Solstice Eve ritual where you relish the longest night of the year by meditating or enjoying music in the darkness. Then, symbolically welcome the arrival of the sun by lighting candles. If you have a fireplace (or a fire pit outside), burn a Yule log, saving a little bit to start next year's fire.
How ever you decide to acknowledge the shortest day of the year (or the longest night), be sure to take a moment to celebrate the Winter Solstice.

I have another very special reason for celebrating today - my son's birth 10 years ago today! He has brought joy and light to our lives ever since. Happy Birthday!