Happy Winter Solstice, all! This is a time to celebrate and turn inward, to reflect on the past year, and welcome the Sun back for those long-awaited longer days! In the past, our ancient ancestors spent this time feasting, drinking, and making sacrifices. There are connections to celebrations during this time of year from all around the world.
Some examples include the pagan celebration of Mōdraniht, or Mother’s Night, the Roman feast of Saturnalia, and the pre-Christian festival of Norse jōl or Yule, and even more traditions from around the globe!
Additionally, it is thought that the customs of Yule have connections to what is known as the Wild Hunt— a ghostly parade through the winter’s night sky, led by Odin himself. The Wild Hunt is also associated with increased activity of the “draugar,” or undead who walk the earth. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been experiencing an influx of supernatural activity since the veil began to thin in the Fall.
So, what can we do nowadays to celebrate this special time of year that doesn’t involve literal sacrifices and eating ourselves sick? Luckily, many of the typical Christmastime traditions have transformed into more modern practices over the years and still coincide with our ancestor’s traditions.
1. Light the Yule log. If you’re not able to have a full-on bonfire, a candle will work just as well!
2. Host a Solstice feast with friends and family. Set a plate out for your passed on loved ones as an offering.
3. Exchange gifts with loved ones.
4. Practice gratitude. Be thankful for all that you currently have, and all that the upcoming year will bring.
5. Reconnect to nature and other beings. Grounding exercises and meditations can be helpful for reconnecting.
6. Create a Yule altar. This can be as simple as decorating a tree or as elaborate as setting up a special area to celebrate the season.
7. Welcome the Sun’s return. Around noon on the day of the Solstice, go outside and look at the shadow your body casts. This will be the longest shadow you cast all year!
8. Visualize your dream 2023. See in your mind’s eye what you hope the upcoming year has in store for you. This can be done through meditation, visualization exercises, or even journaling.
Of course, these are just a few ideas of Winter Solstice celebrations you can take part in! The possibilities are endless when it comes to celebrating a holiday that means something to you personally. There’s no right or wrong way to honor this time of rebirth. So, take what you’ve read here, do some additional research, and find the reasons for the season that most inspire you. I’ve included some resources below for those of you who are curious in learning more. Happy learning and have a merry Solstice! If you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for reading. Comment below how you’ll be celebrating this Winter Solstice!
Farmer’s Almanac: Winter Solstice 2022: The First Day of Winter
Family Tree Magazine: Winter Solstice: Our Ancestors’ Customs and Traditions