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Winter Solstice

Dec 18, 2013
Yule Logs aren't always burned. They are decorations too.
Winter Solstice

Winter is officially upon us with the first day of winter falling on December 21st in 2013. 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 soltice 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 Lenaea (Festival of the wild women). According to Greek myth, a man representing the harvest god Dionysos was sacrificed and then eaten by nine women! It was believed that Dionysos 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.

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!

 

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Comments

MonasYou

MonasYou wrote:

winter is one word: AWESOMEA
commented: Sat Dec 21, 2013

XxCryXx

XxCryXx wrote:

Hmm...
commented: Sat Dec 21, 2013

emilyabhisweettalker
well winter solstice is the prettiest time of the year :)
commented: Sat Dec 21, 2013

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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.

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american_brit
american_brit posted in Debating:
"Crisanna" wrote:AlphaT: it's not even living yet, it doesn't have a heart beat! If you take a pregnancy test, it shows positive, and then you go to a feminine doctor to make sure, do you get an ultrasound? No because you won't find a heartbeat. You get a blood test, or maybe even a pee sample. A child heart's start beating after 22 days of conception. A women does not have an abortion before 22 days (or even right after). It's extremely dangerous. 
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Crisanna
Crisanna posted in Debating:
"Teh_Skittlez" wrote: "Crisanna" wrote: AlphaT: it's not even living yet, it doesn't have a heart beat! If you take a pregnancy test, it shows positive, and then you go to a feminine doctor to make sure, do you get an ultrasound? No because you won't find a heartbeat. You get a blood test, or maybe even a ##### sample. Heartbeat is not the measure of living or not living. Many organisms don't even have hearts. It is 'alive', but not conscious. I think that's the more important distinction.  Yes this is true. But let me put it this way. Let's say a 13 year old girl got pregnant against her will. She, and her baby, may not make it through the birth. And with the possibilty of her death and the baby's, you'll still say that she can not get an abortion? That is just not right.
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Teh_Skittlez
Teh_Skittlez posted in Debating:
"AlphaT" wrote: "Teh_Skittlez" wrote: Which is why I made the ant comparison. All living things have some value, and killing any of them is morally wrong. However, we do not treat all death or all killing the same way, and I do not believe that locking people in prison for abortion is going to resolve the fact that sometimes women will try to get rid of their pregnancies.   With all crime, making it illegal will not resolve it. But it will slim down immensely. Okay but now we're imprisoning otherwise productive members of society, for the goal of 'sending a message' that society doesn't approve of abortion. I think that's rather totalitarian. 
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-Karpov-
-Karpov- posted in Debating:
"AlphaT" wrote: "Teh_Skittlez" wrote: Which is why I made the ant comparison. All living things have some value, and killing any of them is morally wrong. However, we do not treat all death or all killing the same way, and I do not believe that locking people in prison for abortion is going to resolve the fact that sometimes women will try to get rid of their pregnancies.   With all crime, making it illegal will not resolve it. But it will slim down immensely. That's definitely NOT how crime works. When you make something illegal that people want you just create an unsafe market for it. Prohibition is the best example of this 
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Teh_Skittlez
Teh_Skittlez posted in Debating:
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