Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Happy Winter Solstice

on December 21, 2021
(Stonehenge)

The word solstice comes from the Latin solstitium, which means “sun stands still.” “At the winter solstice, the apparent position of the Sun reaches its most southerly point against the background stars” (Royal Museum Greenwich). This year, the winter solstice occurs on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. That means today will be the shortest day of the year, with the longest and darkest night. Tomorrow, the days will gradually become longer, leading up to Spring and the Spring Equinox.

The Julian calendar designated December 25th as the winter solstice. When the Gregorian calendar was adopted, December 21st became the winter solstice and December 25th remained as the traditional date for Christmas.

The winter solstice is also known as the Feast of Juul (Yule). In Scandinavia, fires were lit, including the Yule log, in honor of the Norse God, Thor. In Germany, the Yule boar (sonargoltr) was sacrificed after a ceremony called heitstrenging was performed, in which celebrants made solemn vows on the boar’s bristles. Celebrating Yule included feasting, drinking, and singing. The Yule log tradition was adopted by the Celts in Europe and the British Isles. Burning the Yule log at the winter solstice brought good luck for the new year. Modern day Yule celebrations are still popular.

The Romans celebrated Saturnalia from December 17th to December 24th in honor of the “father of the gods,” Saturn. Celebrants made sacrifices in the Temple of Saturn, held banquets, exchanged gifts, and offered forgiveness to each other for past wrongs.

In Asia, the Dongzhi Festival celebrates longer days, increased positive energy, and the yin-yang of balance and harmony in the community.

Iranians honor the longest, darkest night of the year with feasting and reciting poetry. Eating pomegranates and watermelons is considered particularly auspicious. The festival is called Yalda (Shab-e Yalda or Shab-e Chelleh).

At Stonehenge, people visit to watch the sun’s rays shine through the stones, which are aligned with the path of the sun. The winter solstice was especially important to ancient people because it was an opportunity to pray for fertility and good harvests in the new year.

Happy Solstice! Happy Yule!

Dawn Pisturino

December 21, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


19 responses to “Happy Winter Solstice

  1. Season’s greetings!!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. utahan15 says:

    dance with that northern tilt!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Timothy Price says:

    Happy Solstice, Dawn. May your Yule Log burn brightly tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful Dawn! Happy Solstice and Happy Yule to you too! Here’s to a bountiful harvest ahead my friend! 🤗🥂😘

    Liked by 1 person

  5. balladeer says:

    This felt nice and wintry!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michele Lee says:

    Fascinating history and traditions. Thank you for sharing, Dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jeff Flesch says:

    Happy solstice and a very happy holidays to you and yours, Dawn!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. shankjoejoe says:

    Didn’t the church choose the 25th for Christmas as a way of competing with the Pagan Solstice 21st? 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. eze33 says:

    Interesting! The winter solstice in our northern hemisphere is December 21st, the shortest daylight period of the 24 hour days throughout the year, while in the southern hemisphere it is the summer solstice, the longest daylight period of the 24 hour days throughout the year. Both hemispheres cannot have a “winterfest” on the same day. I suppose both hemispheres could have a “solsticefest” twice a year with opposite seasons between northern and southern hemispheres. What about the equator? It’s a 50/50 day/night period of the 24 hour days throughout the year, year-round. The one thing God made for man and is the same year after year and year-round no matter what part of planet earth they are on is the sabbath. It begins at sunset after the daylight period of the sixth day on which God Created man and rested on the seventh. That would be our Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, then begins the new 7 day week on Sunday, the day God said, “Let there be light.” Interesting to note that man’s first full day of existence was the sabbath, the day He put his presence in and blessed. It must have been the day that the Lord spent teaching them stuff. Sure, they were both naked of that first sabbath, but the Lord didn’t mind. He made them that way and they weren’t ashamed, until someone else spoiled that little secret for them. Also, sunset to sunset is 24 hours and day/night lengths are irrelevant. LOLGB+

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right! Even when I posted this, I was thinking that it would not be the same in the southern hemisphere, but then they would view the sun from a different perspective. Thank you for the additional information!

      Liked by 1 person

      • eze33 says:

        Thanks! The ordinances God set in place are most interesting indeed. (Job 38) Also, see Chapter II of Missing Links, All 12 chapters and appendixes are posted in main menu now. LOLGB+

        Liked by 1 person

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