Happy Winter Solstice 2023

A screenshot from an episode of Little Bear, about their winter solstice celebration. Little Bear is in Grandpa Bear's arms, holding a lantern to hang on the tree for the snow angels. Grandma Bear is on the left hand side. Grandma Bear is wearing an 1890s dress and a bonnet. Grandpa Bear wears a dress shirt, tie, pants, and a vest in the style of the 1890s.

It’s hard to believe today’s the day of the Winter Solstice 2023 already. It seems like yesterday we were saying goodbye to summer for now, and yet here we are. In my neck of the woods, it sure doesn’t feel like winter right now. It did feel like winter recently, but that gave way to warmer weather, which didn’t upset me all that bad.

The winter solstice is the day in the calendar year with the longest night, and the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. Some may think it’s the coldest day of the year, but that largely depends on what the weather’s doing and where, instead of a specific calendar day or season.

Depending on where you live, the winter solstice can definitely be cold. Historically, there’s been times where the weather was a hot mess in my neck of the woods, w/ snow like 5 inches deep on the sidewalks, and ice galore.

Not so this year. Beyond a visit from Jack Frost earlier in the week, not a lick of snow in sight. In fact, we’re due for rain instead of snow.

The winter solstice is something many cultures around the world celebrate in their own ways. For instance, this NPR post talks about a few of these celebrations. These include Yalda in Iran and throughout Central Asia, Dongzhi in China, Inti Raymi in Peru, Toji in Japan, Soyal for the Hopi and Zuni Nations just to name a few.

Some of these celebrations listed, and others that aren’t listed, can last for days or weeks to ring in the new season. These are sacred ceremonies, especially w/ Soyal, and as such, some of what goes on in these ceremonies generally aren’t something to share w/ ppl outside their respective communities.

Each winter solstice ceremony and celebration is different in its’ own right, w/ each community having their own customs and traditions.

One of the recurring themes is light, and the return thereof.

The winter solstice is the shortest day and the longest night of the year, as mentioned earlier. This also means that every day henceforth, the days will start getting longer, and the nights will start getting shorter.

There’s a saying that it’s always darkest before the dawn.

For me, this means that soon, I’ll be able to get home in time to see the sun set from my bedroom window once again. By the time I get home from my day job, it’s already dark outside, and dark enough that I really oughta get new batteries in my flashlight.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to make that Little Bear episode about the winter solstice, and the Bear family’s ritual of hanging lanterns and food on the tree for the snow angels my own way of ringing in the new season, which I’ve talked about in the past on here at least once.

Hey, that episode really resonated w/ me as a kid, haha.

Anyways, I think I may also make reading A Christmas Carol, which you can borrow on the Internet Archive’s library for free, part of this too.

And who knows. While I’m still up and at em, and not feeling quite as shitty as I was earlier this week, I may put some food out for our own little snow angels, even though the snow we’ve had thus far is now long gone.

Over to you readers. Do you do anything special to celebrate the winter solstice, either on your own time, or as part of your heritage and customs? If so, I’d love to hear all about it, and if it’s part of your heritage, feel free to share only what you’re able to share. If you don’t do anything special for the winter solstice, that’s cool too. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts and takeaways, so drop it all like it’s hawt, and let’s talk.

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!

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