-
x

Meet New Friends!

Recommended friends are based on your interests. Make sure they are up to date.

Friends
Kw-logo-smaller

Winter Solstice

Dec 21, 2015

Winter is officially upon us with the first day of winter falling on December 22nd in 2015. Read on to learn more about this annual season change.

What Is It?

Winter solstice marks the beginning of winter and it's also the shortest day of the year. Because of the earth's tilt, on this day the Northern Hemisphere is as far away from the sun as it can be. Therefore, the first day of winter has the least amount of sunlight.

Celebrations

Solstice means "standing still sun" and has historically been a day for celebration . This tradition started with an ancient fear that the fading light would never return unless humans kept watch and had a huge celebration. Tons of cultures and societies have solstice celebrations. Here are some of the craziest highlights!

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the yearThe Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year

Ancient Greece

The winter solstice celebration was called Lenaia (Festival of the wild women). According to Greek myth, a man representing the harvest god Dionysus was sacrificed and then eaten by nine women! It was believed that Dionysus would be reborn as a baby when the ritual was complete. Eventually a goat was used as a sacrifice in place of the human for the ritual.

Winter Solstice scenery Winter Solstice scenery

Ancient Rome

Huge feasts were held and houses and halls were decorated with boughs of evergreen trees. Roman masters feasted with slaves and slaves were also allowed to do and say pretty much what they wanted, which was very different than what their everyday lives were like. Because this was such an important day, schools were closed, the army took a day of rest and no criminals were executed.

Pagan Scandinavia

Yule logs were burned because they believed the log could magically make the sun brighter. Europe and many other places still burn the Yule log, but it is now just a symbolic gesture. Scandinavians also listened to minstrel poets sing about ancient legends.

The Winter Solstice was celebrated by Druids and PagansThe Winter Solstice was celebrated by Druids and Pagans
 

Celtic Druids

Mistletoe was sacred to Druids. Druid priests used a golden sickle (kind of a hooked blade) to cut it from the tree it was growing on. Then they handed it out to the people, calling it All-Heal. The people hung it in a doorway or a room to offer goodwill to visitors. Mistletoe was forbidden in most Christian churches because of its Pagan associations.

Have Your Say

How do you celebrate winter solstice? Leave a comment and let us know!

 

66 Comments

Related Stories

Micro_winterleggings-micro
Looking for a way to stay warm this winter, but want to have a little fun with your style? Try so...
Micro_sled-micro
Sledding (or tobogganing) is a beloved winter pastime for lots of people, especially if you live ...
Micro_micro-snowglobe
The holidays are here! Now is the time to get presents for the ones you love. Not all presents ha...
Micro_beautiful_skin_micro
Winter can be harsh on your skin, making it dry, itchy, red, and worse. Protect and heal your ski...
Micro_december-micro
There are a ton of holidays to celebrate in the month of December - that's why it's known as the ...
F1103569649265

Which is NOT True of Winter Solstice?

  • Due to global warming, there will not be a winter solstice in 2014.
  • When it is winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, it is summer solstice in the Southern.
  • There is no sunlight in the North Pole during the winter solstice.
  • Evidence of winter solstice rituals exists around the world.

Random In The Forums

KingShawn13
KingShawn13 posted in Debating:
Unlike my very "charming" friends above, I believe you did what you think was right and really that's all that matters. Because not many people may age (I'm going on eighteen) can even do something like that and you started in sixth grade. But I believe more people should be educated on the LGBTQ movement since not many people, even nowadays, understand the importance of learning about it. If kids can be educated on ISIS, The France Bomings, The World Wars, The Holocaust, etc... Then why not learn about LGBTQ. I don't see it any worse then those other subjects. We're in a era of acceptance and equality and what you're doing could lead the way. It's better to teach people about acceptance young so they won't have misconceptions when they get older. But be careful and tred lightly because not everyone will agree with you and that's how you know you're doing good.
reply 23 minutes
aditicoolsome
12:06 pm
reply 35 minutes
KingShawn13
1:26 AM
reply about 1 hour
QveenAvi
QveenAvi posted in Say Anything:
2:05 AM
reply about 1 hour
QveenAvi
QveenAvi posted in Say Anything:
September 22
reply about 1 hour