Yule. Midwinter. The longest night of the year. These are all names for the winter solstice, an event that is almost upon us, falling on Monday, December 21st. It occurs when the Earth reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun, resulting in the darkest day of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the official start of winter and a time when the Earth rests while waiting for the sun to return and lengthen our days. Cultures throughout the ages– dating all the way back to ancient Egypt and First Nations Peoples–celebrated the Winter Solstice. Even modern Americans have their own unique ways of celebrating this holiday! The celebrations from these cultures around the world may look different, but have more in common then you would think. Most of these civilizations spent time during Midwinter reflecting on nature and family. They celebrated with fire, a symbol for the sun chasing away the darkness, exchanged nature based gifts, and participated in activities like storytelling, singing or dancing. These are all wonderful ways to reflect and say goodbye to the past year, moving forward into the burgeoning light of the New Year with good health, renewed hope and nurtured spirits.
Some Nature based activities to celebrate the winter solstice:
- Make an evergreen wreath. This can be as simple as tying evergreen boughs together in a circle to hang in a window or on your front door.
- Make a pine cone bird feeder. Gather up pine cones and tie a string to the top. Spread peanut butter on the cone. Roll the cone through a bowl of bird seed. Hang outside for the birds to enjoy.
- Light a fire in your fire pit or light a candle and take turns telling stories
- Bake a Yule Log: Either the Traditional French or a Gluten Free Option
- Set up a meditation space
Regardless of how you celebrate, we hope you have a wonderful Winter.