To Alaskans, solstice is a big deal. Our lives revolve around the seasons, the changes in weather and daylight. We notice how much sunlight we gain or lose each day. On the shortest day of the year, we look forward to the return of sunlight.
Historically, people have been observing winter solstice since Neolithic times. For example, people have gathered at Stonehenge at solstice for thousands of years. The Saami, the Romans, and the Celts all had midwinter festivals that led to many of our winter solstice and Christmas traditions. Less known to some of us, there are traditional celebrations on or near winter solstice in Pakistan, East Asia, and Mali, just to name a few. (For more on solstice, see my friend Carmen Bydalek’s informative post on http://www.akrwa.blogspot.com/.) Many of us recognize it as a time of rebirth and renewal, or welcome good luck into our houses at this time.
This year, our family is hosting a winter solstice party on December 21st. We’ll celebrate with family, friends, good food and drink. Good wishes, wassail, and hoping you have a great solstice however you celebrate this time of year!