Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Winter Solstice

My guess is, if you are reading this then the world did not end, the tectonic plates are still intact and the poles did not shift. No surprise there. This year, 2012, is the earliest winter since 1896 arrives with the solstice at 6:12 A.M. on December 21 (EST) according to the Farmers Almanac. 
The Winter Solstice is Latin words for "sun" and "to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, it occurs exactly when the earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26'. For most people in the high latitudes this is commonly known as the shortest day and the sun's daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. Winter is a time for withdrawal from the world and it's demands. 

This  time of the year also gave birth to some festivals and to the invention of Beer :-) Here are a few of the festivals that took place in some of the cultures ...

Yule: "Yule Tide" comes from the ancient Germanic tradition of celebrating the Winter Solstice. YULE NIGHT was celebrated on the night of the New Moon closest to the Solstice, because only a very DARK night would do. You can still catch the hint of it's Lunar origin in the reference to the TIDE.

Me├ín Geimhridh, Celtic Midwinter "The point of roughness" is the term for the winter solstice in Wales which in ancient Welsh mythology, was when the Goddess Rhiannon gave birth to the sacred son, Pryderi. Today, among Neo-druidsAlban Arthan (Welsh tr. "light of winter" but derived from Welsh poem, Light of Arthur) is celebrated on the winter solstice with a ritualistic festival, and gift giving to the needy.

Dongzhi: Festival is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. 

Hogmanay: (Scotland) The name derives from the old Scots name for Yule gifts of the Middle Ages. How could I pass on including this with the words "Hog-man-ay" in the title. 

Sol Invictus: ("Unconquered Sun") was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire. It is commonly claimed that the date of December 25th for Christmas was selected in order to correspond with this Roman festival. 

1 comment:

Jason Shaw said...

Happy Yule, we'll drink a glass of cheer for hogmanay.

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