How to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

The winter solstice is a very special day to many people, celebrating the natural cycle of the Earth's seasons. This nature-based holiday is also known as Yule, and there are many traditions and ways to celebrate it.


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    Research the time of winter solstice, as well as the occurrences. Winter solstice happens on December 21 (northern hemisphere) or June 21 (southern hemisphere), when the sun reaches the lowest apex and the night is the longest annually. If you are unable to celebrate on this day, it is generally accepted to celebrate the day directly before or directly after.
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    Understand the religious, magical and natural significance of winter solstice. You don't have to turn this in to a religious holiday if you aren't inclined, but it can be interesting to learn the different myths and legends to go with Yule.
    • In Pagan beliefs, the winter solstice is the re-arrival and rebirth of the sun, who is personified as a horned, male deity. In Ancient Roman beliefs, it's Saturnalia- the celebration of fertility and the harvest.
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    Decorate your home. You may find that classic Christmas traditions, such as mistletoe, are actually from the old days. Hang holly, mistletoe, ivy and pine branches around your home, and light a fire to create a warm environment for the longest night. Some Pagan traditions involve lighting candles to welcome the sun deity back to Earth.
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    Make some solstice-themed traditional crafts, such as a Yule log. Other ideas include decorating trees like you would at Christmas, using salt dough ornaments in the shape of the sun, moon and stars, and creating spiced potpourri with cinnamon and other seasonal spices.
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    Prepare a feast. You can make any dishes using seasonal ingredients, or look into special Yule recipes. A particular drink is "Wassail", which is an alcoholic mix of apple cider, spices, honey and brandy.
    • You may also want to try buttered rum. For something sweet, try making a chocolate yule log or peppermint fudge. Squash soup and warm roast meat are also good, traditional choices for a main course.
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    Go wassailing. Wassailing is a form of caroling that originated before Christianity, when farmers would walk around the fields at night and sing songs to ward off spirits that could inhibit crop fertility. You can use any Christmas or holiday carol for this, or use Pagan carols.
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    Stay up until sunrise. This may be difficult with younger children, but in order to truly observe the winter solstice, stay up for the longest night, and welcome the sun back to begin warming the Earth.


  • You can combine many of these methods with Christmas or Hanukkah celebrations.

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Categories: Event and Party Planning