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21/12/2010

Comments

random Cindy

I haven't ever celebrated the solstices or the equinoxes but there have been times when I have been more aware of them such as now, living in Maine, and as a child living in Iceland. I recall the summer solstice being celebrated on the navy base in Iceland with a midnight football game. Since moving back to the northeast more than ten years ago I have come to enjoy the daily changes more than marking just the four seasons. But I have noticed that the celebration of the winter solstice has become more popular.
I suppose one thing I like to do personally during these dark cold days is to make ice lanterns. There are two in my freezer right now. We only just got real snow yesterday so now I can put them out. (annoyingly late this year)

Linda M.

I light all the Hannukah candles most years, and I light every candle I can find in the house on the Solstice night. Tonight I knit quietly while the candles burned and thought about the turning of the seasons.

I also like to have flowering plants in bloom in the house at this time of year. My Christmas Cactus is in full bloom as are most of my African Violets, and one of the Amaryllis bulbs has put up a big flower stalk but it isn't open yet. I like to contemplate the plants as they grow in a south-facing window - they love the winter light and do well at this time of year. They remind me that spring will come again in its turn.

Tracey S

We celebrate my niece's birthday, with candles, of course!!! We tease her about being born on a cold dark day. No solstice celebrations here.

Siew

My daughter dreads when the days get shorter so this turning of days getting longer is happy. This time of year we fill the house with light - nice, bright, twinkly lights to ward away the dark. I love coming home from work to see the timer has gone off and the house is full of lovely warm light.

Rose

I'm in the same boat as you; wishing I did something to mark the seasons and the solstice better, but getting caught up in manmade stuff. As a science teacher, I really feel indicted that I don't at least acknowledge these events and can't wait to hear some ideas from you so I can improve!!

LaurieM

Who could resist an enticement like that to post a comment?

It's only recently that I've started seeing the festivities at this time of year as being related to the sun's return. For a few years I was very grumpy about Christmas. It felt like I was required to do a whole lot of work for everyone else, and received very little in return, either in gifts or in appreciation. I'm sure that is typical of most moms.

Now, I've cut back on what I do to the essentials and I look at all this Christmas hurry as a way of getting us through the darkest point in the year. The Christmas lights make the dark look pretty. The Christmas presents entertain us when it's too nasty to go outside. And of course, Christmas makes us come together with our family and friends at a time when we don't really want to leave the house. The mental and emotional boost in the dark of winter must have been the reason the whole thing got started.

Emiko

I too have been thinking about how to incorporate celebrating Solstice, but get caught up in the hustle bustle of the season.

Although we have more dark than light this time of year, I find that I enjoy seeing the bright white lights on the tree in my dimly lit living room, with a few lit candles around the room. It just feels cozy.

I like the idea of the ice lanterns - I came across this blog post (http://www.ordinarylifemagic.com/2010/11/ice-lanterns.html)
that shows some pretty ones and I think would be wonderful to mark the solstice. I may have to give this a shot next year :)

Ros

We have lots of fairy lights up in different rooms and have candles in a variety of them too. Preparing lovely Christmas goodies such as chutneys and biscuits and other treats brings the light of love into the season too. Enjoy, whatever you end up doing and however you end up marking the season.

Deb from Kingston

Hmm- Lights, eh? We do a "redefined" Reveillons (French Canada). On Christmas Eve, we all sit down for a dinner of tortiere (pork and beef pie) over candle- light (has to be candles) Then we add in some British stuff (fruitcake and tea!) to appease the other side of the family. Then we go out walking and checking the stars. We usually find a place to make snow angels (the whole family has to do it!!)Then we go back home for mulled wine OR Midnight mass (depending on time/inclination/weather!) and after each, we make wishes on the stars for the new year. (Some years we write them out on long strips of paper, and then fold them up into puffy stars- I am sure there is a web site that will show you how) (we save them in a jar for the next year) THEN we get to open the first gift of Christmas (the youngest starts). At that point, we head off to bed-for sweet dreams and to letr Pere Noel come. That's it. We are a star crazy bunch.

Gwyndolyn O'Shaughnessy

Before we had cats, I lit LOTS of candles. After curiosity lit the cats ... we set up a foot-tall LED "christmas tree" and call it good enough.

Marji

Candles and a yule log. A bonfire is best, but we live in a place where there are no-burn days because of air quality.

Laine

I get blue during the dark months, so this year I decided to follow a friend's example, and will be plotting the time of sunrise and sunset as each week passes on graph paper. You start on the solstice, and watch the lines diverge from there, as the period of light grows slowly larger and larger. (I remember that at the time we set the clocks forward, the lines will do a bit of a jog!) It's on the fridge, where it will allow us both to take a moment to mark how things stand right now, and to be reminded that things are always changing.

Jan

Well, there are the lights outside and the lights on the tree inside. My tree lights are set on waterfall, where the light waxes and wanes through every four bulbs; quite beautiful!

I do note the solstice, with its hope for more natural light, as I definitely do not like going to work and coming home in the dark.

And I seek to bring some 'light' to others lives through my cards and gifts.

Your insights bring light to me, and many others, I'm sure! Thank you for that, and for this contest!

Rosa

Living in Alaska, we look forward to solstice every year, and we celebrate the by lighting a flame to celebrate the return of the light. When we where younger and more hardcore it was alway a bonfire, but now it is usually candles. Then everyone states an intention for the next year. Intentions are different than resolutions in that they are more about a general theme for the year, rather than an "I will do...".
To us, solstice seems more the beginning of the new year than New Year's does, so I wish you a great year ahead.

Karalee

We don't do candles at home much (cats and candles don't mix), but at church we get to see the Advent wreath get brighter and brighter as Advent progresses. And on the fourth Sunday of Advent we have an afternoon Lessons and Carols service where my choir sings, and the church is filled with people and with light from the candlestands along all the aisles. The candles on the stands stay lit for every service until Epiphany, making a bright light at this dark time of year.

I think people from northern countries are really good at celebrating the solstice times: one of their traditions I've read about and seen people adopting is Lucia Day, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Lucy's_Day .

moiraeknittoo

I have a pretty simple ritual. I usually set out offerings of food and mead, and set up at least one, if not three candles on my alter. And then I turn off all the lights, and meditate for a while in the dark, really thinking about the blessings the darkness brings and what lessons I've learned from it this year. And then when I feel ready, I light the candle and breath out a very heartfelt prayer, celebrating, reveling and joyously welcoming the return of the light.

And then? Nomz. :D Maybe a little Yule music, and the past few years, some knitting.

Like I said, low key and simple, but making it through to the longest night is really, really hard for me. I'm so glad to see the Solstice that the welcome back prayer is usually accompanied by copious tears.

tara

Well, solstice is my favourite day of the year, since it's just gets brighter from here on in. I do 2 things related to light at this time of the year. The first one is festive, and results in there being lights on the tree. The second one is therapeutic and involves a light table to ward off the heavy case of SAD that lurks around this time of year (and it definitely works for me).

Linda M.

I came back to read the new comments - some wonderful and inspiring ideas. I'm trying to get outside during daylight hours every day so as to revel in the light we receive. I rejoice that each day is a moment or two longer, even if it is getting colder and colder.

naomi

I do Chanukah candles, more for the lighting of candles than for religious reasons. Sometimes I'll light other candles, as well, but this year I've just been routing my walk home so that I pass by lots of other people's holiday lights. (There're a couple of blocks near where I live now that are very, very well lit.)

Doreen

I try to celebrate solstice by making sure I stay vitally and joyfully connected to my Savior and Lord, the light of my life, the light of the world -there's a song,
"Light of the World,
you came down into darkness,
opened my eyes let me see,
Beauty that made this heart adore you,
Hope of a life spent with you."
Merry Christmas!

Kathe Lewis

We celebrate solstice every year in stead of christmas - on that day we have a party with family, friends and good foods, toasting to the return on the sun.
When weather is for it we have a bonfire which we gather around and share a drink of which the last is offered (poured on the fire) to please the "deities" and ensure the return of the sun.
And by the way, it is also our wedding aniversary, so another reason for celebrating!

Having 3 cats, I don't dare having candles indoors...

Happy season,
Kathe Lewis, Denmark

kathleen

At this time of year, I half-remember a line: until you know the darkness, you cannot truly love the light.

One of my solstice rituals is to, light a candle, and make the intention to let go of something from the past year that I no longer need or want: a pointless worry, a bad habit, an outmoded idea, an unfinished project--knitters, you know what I mean :. As the candle burns, I imagine whatever it is evaporating.

Then I remind myself that the shortest day is almost over and the light will start to return, even if I won't notice it for a while.

Annepålandet

Here in Norway, it's usually cold and DARK this time of year. Only a few hours of daylight here in the Oslo area, where I live. That's why Norwegian bloggers struggle so much to get good pictures this time of year... We have no traditional celebration of the winter solstice, but it's my husbands birthday, so we celebrate that with a family party on the 21st every year.
Because of the dark, many people here have outdoor Christmas trees to light up their gardens, and electric advent stars and lights in the windows to light up in the dark. It's a nice tradition. We put up our stars on Dec. 1st every year, and light a lot of candles during December to brighten our days.
This year we've had several days of sunshine in December, which is quite unusual, and it has been very cold - so the snow is glittering like diamonds. So beautiful and uplifting in an otherwise depressing time of year.
I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas!

Gwen

This year, we tried to watch the lunar eclipse, but between clouds (so we didn't get the red) and sleep (no way I would have seen it at totality anyway)...

We don't do much formal, but we talk about the longest night, and now more light is coming. Not talk like "we are having a discussion, pay attention," but it comes up for a few days. Sometimes I do candles. We change our ecological calendar (starts at winter solstice)

Kathy Sue

Candles in the window. I think it is an Irish tradition, to welcome folks in from the cold. What a generous prize you are offering! Your pictures of Whistler look like Greeting cards. It is so beautiful.

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