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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Counting down the days!

I'm counting the days - only 7 left to go.  No that is not a typing error I mean Thursday 22nd December.  Why?  I hear you ask.  Well that will be the Winter Equinox this year - the shortest day and longest night of the year.  After that the days will begin to lengthen and the mornings and evenings to become lighter.  Now that is something worth celebrating!  The above photo was taken this morning at 8.00 am - how thankful I am that I no longer have to leave the house to go to work at that time.

Same view at 4.00 pm today!

Winter Solstice is  a largely forgotten celebration coming as Christmas preparations are taking place, which all too often focus is on the commercial aspect of the festival.  The Solstice is however, the complete antithesis of the commercialised Christmas celebrations. Also known as ‘Yule’, the Solstice is generally celebrated on the 21st of December, (although the astronomical date changes from year to year – this year the actual Solstice takes place on the 22nd). It is the traditional time to celebrate the truly important things in life:  family,  children, home and looking forward to a good year to come. Surely this can tie in nicely with the Christian celebration which after all takes many of  its traditions from the pagan festival.  Yule is a time that honours love and new birth, as well as the collective unity of man. Just as Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, Yule celebrates the birth of the Sun God - child of the Goddess in the Pagan belief system. It is however primarily the celebration of the rebirth of the Sun and I can't see why, whatever your religious persuasion, this cannot be a time for celebration especially for us living in the northern hemisphere where the lack of sunlight at this time of year is so depressing.  It seems to me that religion is not a one size fits all sort of thing and I don't see why we shouldn't pick and mix taking those aspects of other religions which appeal to us as individuals and incorporating them with our own religious beliefs.  I am sure there will be some who throw up their hands in horror at my suggestion but I am going to celebrate the shortest day and Christmas!!

Thank you all for you kind comments on previous posts - all much appreciated.  I now have an appointment for 25th January when I will discover the results of my scan.


  1. Solstice is a time of reflection for me, I prefer it to Christmas. Lots of candles to be lit here, shame I don't have a fireplace. Wishing you joy and peace and good health.

    I hope you'll let us know the scan results.

  2. I'm with you here Jane, the winter Solstice seems to be a much more appropriate date to be celebrating - not only the return of the sun, but family and the home too. The ancients must also have been aware that the worst of the winter is usually yet to come and the Yule celebrations the last opportunity to have a 'bit of a do' until the spring returns - and of course Easter has as many pagan roots as Christmas. However your idea of stretching those celebrations out to a few more days is certainly a good idea, especially when it doesn't involve any type of consumerism!

  3. Even down here we really notice the shortening and then the lengthening of the days - once we get to Edinburgh it's a full-on shock how little daylight there is in the winter! So I agree, the Solstice is something we really look out for and appreciate, even though for us Christmas is the big celebration. It all ties in, as you imply.

    I'm going to be free in Somerset (Shepton Mallet/Wells area) on Tuesday Dec 20th (ie next Tuesday). I've been letting bloggy friends know in case they have any free time (ha) to meet up. No pressure but I wanted to let you know.

  4. We will climb the Tor and watch the sun come up and there will be a solstice celebration here at Chalice well, so we will be attending that too. Christmas for us is just about having a few days off work and sharing them with the family.

  5. Oh I always celebrate the winter solstice, I find it a very hopeful day!
    Glad you're doing well Jane, good luck with those results.
    Vivienne x

  6. A great post and I agree with you. I do pick and choose things from all beliefs and have written a little about this on my blog.

    I shall be celebrating of sorts next week - just the thought of the days getting longer is worth celebrating. Like you today I couldn't believe how few daylight hours there were.

  7. I'm so glad to have your news! Really, really glad! These medical things take time to resolve, don't they?

    The winter solstice is one of my favourite days of the year and it is also our wedding anniversary! How wonderful to celebrate a wedding and then to know that Christmas is just round the corner.... I have to keep calm with the champagne though ;-)


  8. Lovely to see a post from you Jane. You always have something of interest in your words to set me thinking.....the winter solstice is such a special day to celebrate.
    Take care, and keep warm.
    Helen x

  9. It is hard fot me to comprehend the lack of light that you live with in Winter. Our daylight/nightime ratio is much the same all year.
    When we visited Ireland years ago we went to Newgrange - a neolithic tomb where the rising sun shoots down an opening and a shaft of light hits the "altar" deep inside on the morning of the Winter Solstace. Only 50 people can fit inside to see this wonder happen on the day so there is a lottery for a place. I won a place but could not afford to return! Pity!

  10. I will be celebrating yule too with a chocolate yule log! x

  11. Jane, you've given me real food for thought here. I am always aware of the shortest day but perhaps had not acknowledged the significance of the date. Your words have struck a chord and I intend to mend the gap in my knowledge about the Winter Solstice. Thank you. L x

  12. So good to see that you're back. The solstice is a powerful event, and it's appropriate that the celebrations have become linked in this way.
    Happy solstice, Happy Christmas, and hoping for very positive news for you.

  13. Yes, the shortest day is something to celebrate. I like to celebrate when the clocks go forward in the Spring though because suddenly it gets so much lighter. I am sorry that I won't after all get the chance to go to the Winter Solstice celebration at Alton Barnes, Wilts, where many people light up the white horse cut into the hillside, with candles. I had it in the diary but I can't go on that day now.

    Best of luck with the scan results. And have a lovely celebration!

  14. I too am very uh looking forward to the turning of the days and no longer arriving hom from work in the dark! Hope all is well with. Happy holidays!

  15. I'm glad to see you are posting again...and thank you for this one. I don't know much about solstice celebrations. I suppose there may be celebrations on this side of the pond for the Winter Solstice, though I've never heard of any...only in books written by British authors. More daylight is certainly worth celebrating, I'd say! We do look forward to longer days here too, though the difference is not quite so dramatic as in the northern latitudes, it's definitely noticeable.

    "Winter Solstice" always makes me think of Rosamunde Pilcher's novel of that name...a favorite of mine.

  16. we celebrate at christmas time, not because we are christians, or in any way religious, it is purely our own version of a post-midwinter solstice celebration. I have also blogged about it, and so pleased to see others who feel the same.


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