Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Take a Break: Celebrate Winter Solstice

Tomorrow is Dec. 21, the official winter solstice-the shortest day of the year, as well as the longest night. This is the “reason for the season.” Among the Germanic people this was “Yule time,” while the Romans celebrated Saturnalia. Many of our Christmas customs date back to these cultures. Saturnalia decorations included greenery and decorating trees outdoors with ornaments that pertained to the sun and stars.

Below are various ways to mark this occasion:
• Have a bonfire

• Arise before dawn, bundle up, and welcome the sun. Check local astronomical charts for the exact time. Depending on where you live there may be an ancient astrological site where you can go to observe first light.

• Prepare favorite foods and add a sun image
• Create an outside solstice tree, which includes food for the animals, such as:
-       suet
-       a pine cone, apple half, or carrot dipped in peanut butter and smeared with bird seed
-       carve out an orange half and fill with bird seed
-       popcorn and cranberry garlands
-       top with a sun or star ornament

• Make ice lanterns: Fill a small plastic cup with stones or weights and put inside a larger plastic container. Fill large plastic container with water. Add evergreen sprigs and/or berries to water to add some color and texture. Carefully put inside a freezer (or outside if temperatures are below freezing.) Allow it to freeze for several hours or overnight. Run warm water over outside of large plastic container to un mold lantern. Remove stones from smaller cup and pour in warm water, making it easier to remove the cup. Insert candle.

• Spend the evening by candle light

• Have a solstice party

• Burn a Yule log-Traditionally a log would be burned the night of the winter solstice in order to bring light to the darkest night of the year. A piece of the Yule log is saved for the following year. Don’t have a place to burn a Yule log? No worries, there is an on-line video you can use

• String lights around your house

Watch the 2016 Winter Solstice celebration at Stonehenge

 Not interested in today’s activity, go to the Take a Break Pinterest and pick out something else.

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