Winter Solstice

Ryan Cowles:

Happy Solstice! While the exact time of the solstice slightly differs this year, I wanted to share this post my dad wrote last year.

Originally posted on Mr. Cowles:

6:12 am December 21, 2012, marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day in the northern hemisphere. Hours of daylight increase following the solstice as the sun begins its return journey toward summer. To celebrate, many ancient cultures engaged in rituals and festivals of light. In the northern hemisphere, the December solstice occurs during the coldest season of the year. Although winter was regarded as the season of darkness and cold, the coming of lighter days after the winter solstice brought on a more festive mood. To many people, this return of the light was a reason to celebrate. Nature’s cycle was continuing. There are more ceremonies and rituals associated with the winter solstice than any other time of year.

Thousands of years ago, the Roman culture celebrated Saturnalia, its major festival, on the Winter Solstice. When Julius Caesar instituted a new calendar in 46BC, the festival fell on December 25th…

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5 thoughts on “Winter Solstice

  1. Thank you for this informative post on December and Christmas. But may I respectfully disagree with one thing you wrote? You say you don’t mean to “diminish” Christianity, but you merely want to “honor” deeper, older instincts. If you have seriously looked into Christianity, you know that there is nothing deeper or older than the the story of how the God of creation stepped out of infinite time because of his love for us tiny creatures. Christianity teaches that, because of our rebellion against the God who created us, a special initiative was devised to redeem us. This, only because of his love for us. May I submit that, if true, there is nothing deeper or instinctively more natural than our responding to him with praise and thankfulness. This is Christmas! If this story of Christmas is NOT true, then Christians are fools and their holidays diminished to the point of extinction. It will never be possible to place it next to a line up of other religions and their winter celebrations.

    • Thanks for the reply! And of course you can disagree. Just to clarify, I didn’t actually write the above post; my dad did. With that said, I don’t think his intent was to diminish any belief at all. I think instead, he wanted to recognize that people of many different faiths look to the Winter Solstice as a very important time of year. Therefore it doesn’t belong to any one religion, and people should be free to celebrate it however they wish.

      “No matter what our spiritual beliefs, or what part of the world we live in, we all share the turning of the sun on the solstices.”

  2. Yours truly cannot know what anyone’s intentions are, but he can and does read and understand the English language. In a medium such as a blog post, all one has to deal with is words–and words have meaning. It does not take self-righteousness to understand that if Christian theology is placed along side other belief systems, it is truly diminished to the point of irrelevance. It is either true or it is not. That’s all I was saying. It is fine that other faiths have a winter holiday, but I will protest the implication that the Christian Christmas is just one more of them.

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