In 2023 the winter solstice will occur on Friday 22 December. The winter solstice occurs in December, and in the Northern Hemisphere the date marks the 24-hour period with the fewest daylight hours of the year. That is why it is known as the shortest day of the year.
‘Solstice’ roughly translates to ‘sun stands still’- as it was believed the sun was suspended in the sky on these occasions. Today we know that this effect is caused by the earth’s tilt, at this point it reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun.
For centuries, cultures around the globe have turned winter solstice into a time of celebration. Some use this time as a countdown to Christmas. Some bring their own light to the night, with fires, candles, and music. Others look to the day as the end of darkness and the start of the new year, when days will begin to have longer periods of sunlight, which is great if you suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
MAKE A WREATH
Some traditions, such as hanging mistletoe and wreaths at Christmas, have roots in pagan solstice rituals. Even if you aren’t religious, you can always make a connection to nature.
Go outside and collect holly, ivy, evergreen branches, pinecones or anything you can use to decorate. These are meant to symbolise everlasting life, protection, and prosperity.
You can use them to make your wreath to hang on the door, or decorate a table or mantle piece, enhance with a scent from an essential oil.
BURN A YULE LOG
Lighting a “Yule log” fire is a Nordic tradition that goes back before medieval times. During the longest nights of the year, they would decorate and hoist a large log (sometimes a whole tree) into the room and feed a fire through the 12 days of Christmas.
Those who helped were said to bring good luck into the new year. Your “Yuletide” tradition doesn’t have to involve dragging in an entire tree.
Don’t worry you won’t need a whole tree! Lol! your tradition could be having a bonfire in the back garden or placing a log in your fireplace as you tell the Yule log story of days of yore.
SET GOALS AND MANIFEST
Let go of the dark and Manifest on Winter Solstice. Create specific goals for the new year and design an action plan to accomplish them for the best results. After you have a few of these goals and intentions on paper, learn how to turn your intentions (or goals) into positive affirmations–and why!
CELEBRATE THE LIGHTS
If you’re feeling outdoorsy, you can take the opportunity to walk around and see the Christmas lights decorating your area. Or you can pile in the car and go on a drive to see the best light displays in town.
Embracing ways to celebrate light can bring joy to the season. A short car ride to a Christmas display could be a nice trip out for all the family.
GO TO A GATHERING
Although no one knows exactly why the ancient circle of Stonehenge was built, there’s no denying it lines up with the movements of the sun.
Hundreds of people gather at Stonehenge by dawn the day after the longest night to witness the magical occurrence of the sun rising through the stones. Visitors can walk right up to the stones, (the area is usually roped off), for this sacred winter solstice celebration. It is also FREE!
I will be attending a Sound Bath, one I go to regularly but this one will be slightly longer and slightly more special because of the light coming in to the vibrational tones!
Celebrate in your own way
No matter how you celebrate the solstice, use it as a way to replace winter doldrums with a sense of renewal. The winter solstice may signify the day the sun rises lowest in the sky, but it’s also the day before we start growing closer to days of more light.