Festival of Light and Fire

The winter solstice, the moment we will be the furthest away from the sun will occur Monday, December 21st at 7:30 AM CST in the northern hemisphere. Practically this is the longest night of the year, and the shortest, darkest day. The sun will rise only to its lowest elevation during this shortest day. The winter solstice is also known as midwinter.


Depending on the area of the world you live in the winter solstice is either seen as the beginning of winter, or the halfway mark of winter. After this moment the sun begins to return to us. Slowly but surely, the night shortens, the days get longer and warmth, light and life begin to return to us. No matter what part of the word you live in, the celebrations and festivities observed around the solstice celebrate family, friends, hope, feasting, and singing. Some of these traditions originated with the Greek celebration of Kronia, which later was taken over by the Romans as Saturnalia, and which further evolved into traditions observed today for Christmas. Across many cultures fire and evergreen plants are used as a symbolic significance of hope and renewal. Since man began to observe the heavens the winter solstice has been thought of as the moment the sun dies and is reborn. What better way to celebrate the return of the sun than with festivals of fire and light? ;

Neolithic Times

We know that as far back as neolithic times solstices and equinoxes have held special significance in different cultures all around the world. After all, astronomical events are universal to everyone. These events dictated when to reap, when to sow. They even determined when animals were bred. Basically anything that determined survival centered around the solstices and equinoxes.

Just as many ancient sites were built to have a specific solar effect during the equinoxes, other sites were built to display the significance of the solstices. Sites around the world that pay homage to the winter solstice include:

Stonehenge, England. Newgrange, Ireland. Maeshowe, Scotland. Goseck circle, Germany. Tulum, Mexico. Stone lines at Cerro del Gentil pyramid, Peru.

Merry Saturnalia!

The Romans had a vast empire to rule and many peoples from many cultures to keep appeased. Synchronization was a powerful tool they used to achieve this goal. The pagan holiday Saturnalia is just one pagan holiday that was rebranded as a Christian celebration. Many of our modern Christmas traditions have roots in old Pagan celebrations. Gift giving, advent candles, Christmas decorations, merriment, and even when we celebrate Christmas all originate in Saturnalia. Did you know how many of our beloved Christmas traditions originated with the agricultural god Saturn?   It seems the peak of winter is a time our DNA calls us to reflect on what’s important to us. Life, love, family and friends top the list for all of us. After being cooped up it makes complete sense that people need a release and to create some joy for themselves and their loved ones. No wonder we, in 2020, are starting to celebrate the holidays early. We’re all coming out of a very long, dark night after all.