Winter solstice

winter_solstice_over_Italy_(NASA)

Since ancient times, the winter solstice has been accompanied by festivals and observance. The focus for many is Christmas, Kwanza, Hannukah, or the start of a new year. We can also consider natural events – to note the shortest day, with the sun at its lowest point, and a change from increasing darkness to days of increasing light.

It’s a time of hope, as days grow longer, and also the start of a cold winter season. And, it’s a time when many enjoy time away from work and gathering with family and friends – sharing gifts and music and food, often accompanied by candles and other symbols of warmth and light.

Links below share thoughts, images, and artistic interpretations of how some people understand and reflect on this time of the year.

Links

EarthSky.org – December solstice
Ancient markers
Local markers
Personal markers (using SunCalc)  
Artistic representations

Some approaches to observance
Winter solstice traditions – rituals for a simple celebration
Festivals and events

Music + a poem
From Paul Winter’s 35th annual Winter Solstice concert
From “Winter Solstice V” – Windham Hill
…..Light and Song – William Ackerman
…..The Simple Birth – Barbara Higbie
Toward the Winter Solstice – Timothy Steele

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Photo credit: Danilo Pivato
From Santa Severa, Italy; winter solstice, 2005