Celebrating Winter Solstice

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Spirit Space
Connecting ancient pagan ritual and understanding to more recent holiday tradition.

Submitted: December 12, 2019

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Submitted: December 12, 2019

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Always occuring within the 24 hour period of December 21st, Winter Solstice marks the time on Earth when the North Pole is tilted at a 23.5 degree angle away from the Sun.

It is the 'longest night of the year' the meaning being that despite the cold weather found in certain regions, the days there after will get progressivly longer. 

For many spiritual people worldwide it is celebrated as the beginning of the return of the time of the Sun. In the colder regions of ancient times winter could be a period of scarcity, with rationing becoming necessary to survive harsh conditions.

As a part of pagan tradition Winter Solstice involved festive celebration combining merriment and feasting.

In pre-Christian Scandinavia, the Feast of Juul, or Yule, celebrated the rebirth of the sun, giving rise to the custom of burning the Yule log. Today, one well known gathering in honor of the first day of winter takes place near the ancient ruins of Stonehenge England. There, hundreds of Pagans join together to dance and sing while waiting for the sunrise.

In its essance, the spiritual celebration of Winter Solstice is a human connect with the Earth and the creative source of the natural world. As winter begins there is ritual acknowledgement of the resonance of life and the seasons in a circle of continuance.

There is also a modern connection to Winter Solstice through ritual found in Christian and Jewish tradition.

The now famous 'Christmas' tree actually has its roots in Pagan ceremony. Thousands of years ago, the evergreen was seen as a symbol of continual life; the reason being it didn't lose its foliage as other trees did. Because of its ability to thrive during winter months Holly was also reveared. It was a part of Pagan tradition to bring plants and flowers into the home, the cross over connect between Pagan Winter Solstice and the Christmas wreath.

Another part of Pagan ceremony during winter is the lighting of candels, connecting us with light itself. Here we meet the Jewish Chanukah and the lighting of the menorah, the usually eight branched candelabra which is ritually lit.

Finally, in Christianity the birth of Christ is celebrated on December 25th even though the vast majority of historical theologians agree that the day is merely symbolic and not the actual birthday of Jesus.

So, instead of the term 'REMEMBER THE RESON FOR THE SEASON'  being used once again this year by the Christain faithful, perhaps they can relinquish it to us, the Pagans who understand the truth of Winter Solstice.

Source material: huffpost, learnreligions, wikipedia


© Copyright 2020 LE. Berry. All rights reserved.

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