Celebrate the winter solstice

Celebrate the winter solstice

Forget Christmas!

No, you haven’t stumbled upon the Government website. We just thought it would be a refreshing change to focus on the winter solstice instead.

Are you in touch with your inner pagan? Whether that’s a yes or no, you can still enjoy celebrating a festival that doesn’t require reputation-crushing jumpers, antler headwear (for humans, animals and … cars), tinsel or eggnog (does anyone actually know what that is, anyway?).

What is the winter solstice?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice takes place on 21st December, the shortest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere the shortest day is 21st June. It is thought winter solstice celebrations could date back as far as the Neolithic period which began around 10,200 BC.

The winter solstice celebrates the sun’s ‘rebirth’ and happens when either of Earth’s poles reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun. The symbolism of the event is generally based on fire and light, death, the rising sun and the moon. That’s quite a lot of symbolism to pack into one celebration!

What can you do to celebrate the winter solstice?

Make winter solstice lanterns

This is a different concept to Christmas lanterns (usually carried by three very short wise men and an equally short landlord-in-training in nativity plays across the primary education landscape). No shiny paper or glitter. A winter solstice lantern is adorned with cut-outs of the sun, moon and stars and foraged leaves. Groovy.

Spend the night by candlelight

This could be fortuitous if you’re trying to hide presents. By switching off the lights and going about your usual evening activities such as dinner, bath time and reading of stories in candlelight you will certainly create the right ambiance for a winter solstice celebration. You could also run a book on how long it will take before family members get bored and the demand for devices reaches an unbearable crescendo. Worth a try though!

Make some wassail

Now you’re talking! We’re not saying you’ll be in need of alcohol when celebrating winter solstice, but… Wassail is similar to mulled wine, but different! You will need apple cider, orange and pineapple juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, a dash of ground cinnamon and ground cloves. Pop it all in a pan, bring to the boil and leave it for 20-30 minutes. Chuck the cinnamon sticks, pour and serve. Apparently you can also add a splash of rum or whiskey – just saying!

Reflect, let go and be free…

The winter solstice is considered the time when spiritually you should honour both the light and the darkness that reside within you. It’s the time when you should reflect and set intentions for the new season. This has to be better than making promises to yourself that you will never keep after far too many yards of ale during an unre­cog­ni­sable chorus of Auld Lang Syne! Surely?

Instead you can write things that you want to let go of onto a piece of paper and throw it (and them) in a yule log fire, ‘transforming darkness into light’. If you’re fond of your yule log, other fires are available!

A very happy solstice from Monarch Personnel

We hope you have a wonderful winter solstice.

This is the last of our articles for 2021. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading them and found them useful.

Our articles will be back in January and throughout 2022 in which we will be covering many different topics. Get in  touch if there are any subjects you would like us to cover.

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