No, Not That One Next Saturday. The One Today.
Tis the Season – For All Kinds of Celebrations
As has been noted earlier in this space, this seems to be the time of year that people and cultures all over the world choose to celebrate some larger-than-life theme. From Thanksgiving to Christmas to Hannukah to Eid to Kwanza to Diwali, to New Year’s Day, and more.
Something like 19 major holidays are celebrated world-wide in the late NOV-early JAN time frame, and countless more withing individual societies. And that does not even count those like National Doughnut Day or Stout Day!
The One I Most Enjoy Celebrating
But for me, the top of the List is Winter Solstice Day. I admit to some personal bias (we have a birthday in our household on that day), but it goes far beyond that. When you reflect upon it, Winter Solstice Day is full of things worth celebrating within our species and on our planet.
So popular has this day been for eons, that it is regularly (mis)appropriated by others. The current list this year includes Crossword Puzzle Day, Humbug Day, Look on the Bright Side Day, National Flashlight Day, National Hamburger Day, Forefathers’ Day, Don’t Make Your Bed Day* (first day of Winter), National Short Story Day, first day of Winter.
The Symbolism, Ancient Wisdom, and Message of The Winter Solstice
This is the shortest day of the year (some 6 hours less daylight than its counterpart, the Summer Solstice, in June). Celebrating the Winter Solstice is an invitation to celebrate both the Darkness and the Light.
On the one hand, we can luxuriate in the dark, that calm, all-encompassing state of being. As a pilot, I always enjoyed flying at night more than in the daylight. Deep darkness feels, to me, like a universal natural state. We can welcome the break from the distraction of all those elements thrust into our vision by the Light.
On the other hand, this can be a celebration of the end of ever shortening days. This day is the end of that process. From tomorrow onward, for the next six months, every day will be longer (brighter in total) than the previous day. It is a day to say, we are more hopeful and optimistic going forward that the darkness (both metaphorical and physical) will henceforth be diminished. Boy, could we all use that message today.
I have always been fascinated by how many ancient cultures marked this day and celebrated it in some way. Long before anything that sounded like science was in evidence, the Mayans, Aztecs, Druids, and many others accurately marked and celebrated the Winter Solstice with great accuracy. Pretty impressive that they were so observant, kept such accurate calculations, and chose to ascribe deeper meanings to this passage. Maybe we should all sacrifice a goat on this day? Nah, forget that.
Go Forth and Enjoy
So fellow traveler around the Sun, here we are. May this day and all that follow it be good for you. We can choose to be on our way to banishing the foreboding nature of darkness and yet celebrate the depth it offers. May we welcome the increasing light as our opportunity to see better and to make use of the visions we choose to see.
Have a great Winter Solstice. And all those other celebratory days, too, which ever one’s you choose to celebrate.
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