The time has come to sip on hot cocoa and sit by the fire with your family; winter is finally here! December 21st is the shortest day of the year, and as such, generations of family traditions have been passed down for many years throughout the globe. It doesn’t matter whether you celebrate the winter solstice or not, it’s hard to deny that it has a significant effect on the planet that everyone can enjoy. This year, sit down with the ones you love and enjoy the shortest day of the year.
What is the Winter Solstice?
The phenomenon that we know as the Winter Solstice, otherwise known as Yule, is experienced because of the orientation of the Earth’s axis relative to the sun. Essentially, the North Pole is at a point where it’s farthest away from the sun and we a far away from it at the same time, and that makes daylight the shortest that it can be in the Earth’s yearly orbit. The light brushes over most of the planet and we are the furthest point away from it at the same time, so the time that areas of the Earth that are more populated have daylight is lessened by a significant amount.
Realistically, celebrating the winter solstice is not too much different than celebrating Christmas. Personally, I loved celebrating the winter solstice, but I didn’t have anyone around to share it with in my youth. As a kid who had adopted many Pagan beliefs outside of the idea of God, it was natural that I wanted to celebrate one of the Earth’s most special days. In high school, I met a group of friends that had the same problem as I did and got together during the solstice to have a great time.
Food, drink, and fire. These are the three elements of fun that are associated with Yule. All jokes aside, the winter solstice is the time to appreciate what nature has given us, light up a warm fire, and reflect on how the year has treated you. Afterward, celebrate the sunset that transitions from light to darkness. The darkness that is presented after the sun goes down is known to be something akin to the soul of the universe and is a beautiful sight to behold. The solstice is the start of the new solar year, so it’s important to take note of how important this day actually is.
I find it important to have at least one moment of silence to meditate and reflect, so if you live in a warmer part of the world, go outside and be one with the night when the sun finally falls. If not, feel free to stay indoors, light some candles, and celebrate the change of nature.
Many other people do prayers, give offerings to nature, or other more spiritual activities that I’ve never personally taken part in. It is simply important to remember that the winter solstice’s most important element is nature; it is the reason your being and life itself. So this year, do some acts of kindness, gather with your friends and family, and appreciate nature for what it is: your home.
Quotes & Sayings
“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” – William Blake
“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” – Hal Borland
“While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best.” – Tom Allen
“Now is the winter of our discontent.” – William Shakespeare
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell
“Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.” – Pietro Aretino
“Winter is not a season, it’s a celebration.” – Anamika Mishra
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” – John Steinbeck