Shortest Day of the year: Winter Solstice Celebration
The day has come and gone. 8 hours & 25 minutes of daylight were enjoyed here in Washington. Those of you in the midwest and east coast enjoyed over 9 hours of daylight. Those in the Southern US had 10 hours. And dear Fairbanks Alaska received 3 hours 40 minutes of daylight today.
What is the Winter Solstice?
Simply put, it is the longest night of the year. This, in turn, means that from now on the days will start to become longer.It is going to start staying lighter longer now. Who doesn’t want to celebrate that? Essentially celebrating the Solstice is celebrating light and life. New beginnings, regeneration, renewal, and honoring family & friends.
Sit back, put your feet up and let me tell you a story about the Solstice…
Picture a tiny fairy home hidden in a great Oak tree. Yule fairies were warm and cozy inside on a winters day drinking their lavender tea and snuggled into dandelions and moss. Normally there would be laughter and cheer but today they were sad. For they they had just witnessed the Sun King, very sick and dim. The fairies were saddened realizing the Sun King was dying. The fairies knew if he dies the trees would shrivel and fall away, the birds would all disappear, the flowers would wilt, life as they knew it would cease to exist. Sudenly they heard a knock at the door and it was the Solstice Gnome. When he noticed how sad the fairies were he scolded them for being so silly. “The sun god is dead! Now hurry, or we’ll be late for the celebration, for there is a big secret about the Winter Solstice you have yet to learn.” Intrigued the fairies grabbed their bird feather scarves and followed the Gnome to the celebration. Arriving at the celebration the fairies heard the most beautiful music floating over the winter air. In the very middle of the sacred grove there sat The Mother. Gazing down lovenly at a bundle wrapped up cuddled snuggly in her arms. The fairies squealled with delight at the sight of a newborn baby. The Mother turned to the fairies and showed them the glowing new child and told them “This is the newborn Sun King. This is the Winter Solstice secret the Gnome told you about. Every year the Sun King must come to the sacred grove during the darkest days of winter where he dies. I take his spirit and give him new life again.” The fairies all agreed that the little Sun King should have gifts. So they promised they would show him where the wild roses bloom in the early summer and teach him to call the birds and listen to the songs of the wind. The Mother was pleased and said, ”When he is older and stronger then the flowers will bloom at his touch, the birds will return to sing their songs, and the air will be warm from his breath, and winter will be gone for a time. Then the Sun King will run and play with you in the forest.” The little Faries sang to the Baby Sun King, songs of the coming spring, the sweet smelling flowers, the bumbling bees, and all the secrets of the forest. And all the creatures within the sacred grove sang with them in celebration. When everyone’s tummy was full, and hearts were lifted they returned to their snug home under the roots of the giant Oak tree where they dreamed wonderful dreams, waiting for the warmth of spring and the fun they would have with the little Sun King.
-Paraphrased from The Yule Ferries…a Winter Solstice Story by Author Unknown.
How did we Celebrate the Winter Solstice?
The solstice Gnome left gifts in the boys boots last night… We spent the day baking and crafting… We filled up our bird feeders. We sprinkled seeds around the yard and watched as the birds came and feasted… We listened to music and read books… We feasted together as a family and nourished our bodies… We burned a Yule log and let light back into our home… Life gets busy and hectic around this time of year, rushing around, speeding through malls, being stressed with the long to-do lists. It is nice to slow down and spend a day focusing on nature and the rejuvenation this time of year should bring. So go forth with a postive look on life, a renewed sense of spirit. For the dark is fading and the light is slowly entering back in.