Winter Solstice – also known as Yule – is one of my favourite times of the year…. okay, my absolute favourite time of year. But maybe I say that for all holidays!
And while I love the major celebrations of Samhain (the start of the Dark Half of the year in the Celtic Wheel of the Year) and Beltaine (the beginning of the Light Half of the year), there is something about Winter Solstice that touches so many. Virtually all cultures and faiths celebrate Father Sun and the return of the light at Solstice.
So what is Solstice? The word solstice comes to us from two Latin words, sol (the Sun) and sistere (to stand), referring to the standing sun that we experience twice a year. During the days around the solstice, the Sun appears to stop in its travels (particularly dramatic in polar regions!).
On Solstice, our ancestors celebrated the return of the Sun with feasts, music and art, rituals, greenery, camaraderie and – most importantly – symbols of the Sun such as bonfires and candles. And many carried on the tradition for a full 13 nights / 12 days (in the Celtic world, the day began and ended at sunset), a tradition some of us may recognize as the root of the Twelve Days of Christmas. […]
Read entire article at the Source: 21 Ways to Celebrate Winter Solstice