Happy winter solstice!
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
A little over a week ago, on Sunday 22nd June, we had the shortest day of the year. Well, the day still had 24 hours in it like any other day, but less daylight than any other day this year. That means from here on, the days get longer! (They still have 24 hours, but more daylight….)
For those of you that love log fires and rugging up, you may see the winter solstice as a sign that, regrettably, summer is on its way, slowly but surely. Good news if you don’t like the cold. Also good news for those that experience seasonal affective disorder (see our separate article on this).
It would be convenient of course if the solstice did actually fall in the middle of winter, or even if our calendar was arranged around astronomy so that it marked the exact midpoint of the year. Neither is the case. Our calendar is out by about a week, and the seasons by a few weeks. So while the days are getting longer, they are not getting warmer, yet. In fact, while some celebrate the turning point and welcome more sun on the way, other cultures regard the solstice as the beginning of winter.
How to celebrate the winter solstice?
In China, it is rice balls. In Japan, citrus fruit is added to a hot bath. In Iran, its fruit, nuts, and poetry. In Finland, it’s young women wearing candles on their head and consumption of gingersnaps and glogg. (Mulled wine. Probably the sound you make when you drink it). Closer to home, almost 2,000 people chose to celebrate by going for a nude swim in Hobart. Yes. Hobart. Middle of winter. Nude. Must be something in the water down there…
How is it significant to you?
For many, it is seen as a time of rebirth. The darkest days are behind us, making it an excellent time to bring in new life. Perhaps, therefore, it is an excellent time to re-create yourself. This could mean enrolling in a course you’ve always been interested in and redefining your new career.
How do you view the solstice? Are there any traditions or rituals celebrated in your family?
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