“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
Winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, marks the astrological start of winter. While the meteorological seasons are marked by temperature changes, the astrological season is marked by the earth’s position in relation to the sun. At the apex of the winter solstice, the North Pole has tilted the farthest distance from the sun, but following the solstice, immediately begins turning back toward the sun in its rotational path. For this reason, the winter solstice has long been celebrated as marking the return of the light. Each day following the winter solstice gets incrementally longer until the summer solstice when the pattern reverses.
Throughout history cultures around the world have celebrated the winter solstice with feasts that often lasted for several days. The solstices were so important, in fact, that our ancient forefathers built monuments such as Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, Chichen Itza, Chaco Canyon and Newgrange to mark them. Today thousands travel to these monuments annually to celebrate the solstices.
Locally, if you’re not having your own winter solstice celebration, there are a few public events you can join. Just over the Hudson River in Kingston, NY you can celebrate the solstice with dancing, drumming, bonfire and food at Seed Song Farm. For more information on this event, visit the Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/2001080803467274/.
In Sheffield, MA, the Down County Social Club, in conjunction with Race Brook Lodge and The Stagecoach Tavern is holding their Winter Prankster Solstice Celebration. Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/351987515255583/ for more information on this event.