Solstice comes from the Latin word “sol,” which means sun, and “sistere,” which means to stand still. Due to the earth revolving around the sun and the changing tilt of the earth’s axis, there may be a huge difference in the amount of daylight during the summer or winter months, depending on how far you are from the equator. The Winter Solstice represents the transition from darkness to light as the days slowly become longer. Think northern Alaska in winter when the sun rises around 10:00, merely half way up the sky, and sinks back below the horizon by 3:00. Compare that to Ecuador where the days and nights are the same 12 hours long all year round.
Many cultures past and present celebrate the solstice as a sign of death and rebirth. In ancient Greece, the festival was called Lenaea, “The Festival of the Wild Women.” A man representing the harvest god Dionysos would be torn to pieces and eaten by a group of women. Later in the ritual, a birth was celebrated. By classical times, the human sacrifice was replaced by a goat!
What we like about the solstice is that many cultures and religions celebrate in various ways around this time of the year. In other words, it’s a celebration for everyone, and at The Feronia Project, we like the idea of being inclusive. To learn more about Winter Solstice celebrations click here or for ideas on how to celebrate, click here.
Will you be celebrating the Winter Solstice?