Celebrate the Winter Solstice with Traditions from Around the World


beach bonfire

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

I am Christian by tradition. I celebrate Christmas and all the family events associated with Christmas. However, I’m also a naturalist in the sense that I observe natural phenomenon and I note how natural phenomenon impacts my life. The Winter Solstice is one natural event that is particularly important to me because it signals the return of the growing season and the lengthening days of sunlight.

We are traveling this year, so we won’t get to hold our annual solstice bonfire on the beach. In years past we would go to Ocean Beach in San Francisco and build a big bonfire and roast hot dogs and have a winter picnic with the waves crashing nearby and the wind howling all around us. This year I don’t know what we are going to do. Our current campground doesn’t allow campfires because of fire hazard. Maybe we can find a lake shoreline nearby but I’m not holding out a lot of hope.

Here are some solstice traditions from around the world. How do you celebrate the cycles of nature?

St. Lucia Day, Scandinavia

In Scandinavia, St. Lucia Day on December 13 (the solstice by the old calendar) marks the start of the Christmas season with a procession of young women in white robes, red sashes, and wreaths of candles on their heads, lighting the way through the darkness of winter. Gingersnaps, saffron-flavored buns, and warm drinks are traditionally served.

Tom Haight
12/23/2020 6:04:44 PM

Excellent as always, Renee! Interesting what South Koreans wish for at this time of year! A Merry Christmas to you and a happy belated Winter Solstice as well. --Tom Haight

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