For some people, the Winter Solstice is a mystical day on which pagans engaged in surreptitious rituals. For others, it is simply an astronomical event that tells them they have reached the time of the year where the nights are longer than the days. However, for most people from around the world, this day is one that is marked by a number of different celebrations.
Ever since the last part of the Stone Age, man has considered this day of the year to not only be a spiritual time of the year, but one that had many practical purposes. It was not only considered to be the day on which the sun was finally triumphant against the night, but was also used as a milestone to plan crop rotations and the mating of domestic animals.
When Winter Solstice occurs depends on which hemisphere you live in. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, then it occurs in June. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, then it occurs during the month of December. No matter which one you live in, however, you can rest assured that there is a festival or a celebration to mark this important day of the year.
Customs And Celebrations
Burning The Clocks-This is a particularly interesting festival that was founded in 1994 in Brighton, England. During this festival, residents of the city gather together and craft lanterns made of paper and willow, that they then carry through the streets until they reach the beach, at which point the lanterns are burned to commemorate the end of the year. It occurs during the Winter Solstice every year and over 2,000 people take part in the festivities.
St. Thomas Day-Although St. Thomas Day is no longer traditionally celebrated on December 21st, it is still used as a reminder for many Christians to start finalizing preparations for Christmas. In many parts of Canada, it was known as “Pie Day” and it was on this day that meat pies were baked to be frozen and used later during the Epiphany.
Although many ancient Winter Solstice celebrations are no longer celebrated on December 21st, there has been a resurgence of people using this day of the year to get together with friends and enjoy many holiday themed activities.