There are a number of traditions surrounding the Winter Solstice. But what, exactly, IS the Winter Solstice?

This is the day each year when the Sun begins to transition between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. For us, it’s the shortest day of daylight, with the longest period of darkness. The name comes from the Latin: “sol” for sun, and “stitum” for stoppage. The original Latin is “solstitium.” This year it’s on December 21st. Beginning on the 22nd, the days will creep longer and the nights shorter.

One of the traditions is the “Yule Log.” A log was cut that could be burnt for 12 nights – the Twelve Nights of Christmas! In some places, it was kept in the house for the rest of the year to guarantee good luck. Sometimes, it had to be stored under a bed. In many places, it was cut from oak, and ancient folks attached significance to the mistletoe that grew on the oak, hence THAT tradition.

Each year, in cultures around the world, the Winter Solstice was a cause for celebration, as it meant that the seasons had transitioned and Spring would slowly come.

We hope that you’ll join us for OUR celebration on the 21st, when we’ll begin to gather at 4:30 PM at Belle Isle. There will be a traditional bonfire, snacks and hot drinks, and plenty of songs. Bring your singing voice or instrument so that you can join in!

* Featured Image via Dave Parrish Photography