Winter Solstice around the World

Goodnight, 2022! Fiery sunset of the year, we admire and cherish the sweet remaining days until the wheel turns, as we spring, roll, wriggle, fly, swim, crawl, sway, dance and leap! into 2023.

The Winter Solstice on December 21st marks the longest night of the year. It is celebrated around the world because it marks the return of the sun and the promise of the coming spring, and new life.

As we prepare for this great rebirth and regeneration, we celebrate the completion and integration of all the lessons we have learned in the past 12 months. This is a good time to find some solitude for inner contemplation, maybe by making a mini pilgrimage to a place that is sacred to you--A special trail, beach, or park, a favorite tree...

"There are many ways to celebrate this day, but understand that we are honoring the end of a cycle and the space to pause before a new one. It is a time of clearing out the old, and allowing our mind, emotions and energy to remain empty as we restore. Yes, the New Year and its pressure to create resolutions is right around the corner, but resist the urge to think about that on this day. Focus on the present, and let the future unfold in its own time."

~Spirit Daughter

"It doesn't have to be
the blue iris [...]
This isn't a contest but the doorway
into thanks..."
~"Praying" by Mary Oliver, from Thirst.

Solstice Celebrations Around the World

"Soyal is the winter solstice celebration of the Hopi Indians of northern Arizona. Ceremonies and rituals include purification, dancing, and sometimes gift-giving. At the time of the solstice, Hopi welcome the kachinas, protective spirits from the mountains. Prayer sticks are crafted and used for various blessings and other rituals.

The Persian festival Yalda, or Shab-e Yalda is a celebration of the winter solstice in Iran that started in ancient times. It marks the last day of the Persian month of Azar. Yalda is viewed traditionally as the victory of light over dark, and the birthday of the sun god Mithra. Families celebrate together with special foods like nuts and pomegranates and some stay awake all night long to welcome the morning sun.

Dong Zhi, the “arrival of winter,” is an important festival in China, when families get together and celebrate the year they have had. St. Lucia’s Day is a festival of lights celebrated in Scandinavia around the time of the winter solstice, that incorporates earlier Norse traditions. In Peru, the winter solstice is celebrated every June with the festival of Inti Raymi, an ancient Incan celebration that was banned during colonial times but has since been revived."

~Encyclopaedia Brittanica

Learn more about solstice traditions with The Return of the Light, in which storyteller Carolyn McVickar Edwards retells twelve traditional tales--from North America, China, Scandinavia, India, Africa, South America, Europe, and Polynesia--that honor this magical moment.

These ancient wisdom transmissions renew our wonder at the miracle of rebirth and the power of transition from darkness into light.

Sending New Year's blessings--May you be well, May your friends & family be well, May all beings be well!

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