Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Winter Solstice to you!

Happy Winter Solstice/Yule everyone........Winter is here (or summer in other parts of the world).

A few facts on Winter Solstice/Yule:

1) It's the shortest day of the year.

We receives less daylight on that day than on any other day of the year.

2) The Romans honored the Winter Solstice with a festival called Saturnalia. During this celebration, slaves ate with their masters. 

Servants would feast with their masters, and a Mock King would be elected to preside over the festival. During this time, all schools would close, no prisoners would be executed, and people would parade about the streets dressed in masks or blackface.
3) The Scandinavian barbarians held a festival called Jiuleis to celebrate the solstice. The burning of the yule log came from this. 
It is believed that the term Yule comes from this festival. The Norsemen would burn a log to repel the cold and darkness and the wood was thought to bring good luck to each household. Their King Hakon thought the festival should coincide with the Christian winter holiday.

Did you know that many of the ancient ruins we visit were built to celebrate solstices? The temple Newgrange in Ireland was built to honor Winter Solstice.
Newgrange was erected to celebrate the Winter Solstice. At 10 a.m. (when the sun is the brightest) the sun shines through a passageway and illuminates an engraving on the wall called the Triple Spiral, drawn to celebrate the arrival of the sun.

4) In Norse mythology, Balder, the god of the summer sun, was killed by an arrow made of a now popular Christmas leaf. The leaf was Misteltoe.

It's mistletoe. Loki, the god of evil, made an arrow out of mistletoe and gave it to Hoder, the god of winter. It was he who killed Balder. Frigga, Balder's, mother restored him and cried tears of joy that turned into berries on the mistletoe branch. She was so happy she kissed everyone who passed under the tree.

5) Many of the traditions associated with Christmas actually come from the pagan worship of the Winter Solstice. Sigillaria, the Roman holiday after Saturnalia involves the custom of giving presents.
To celebrate Sigillaria, the Romans would give their children gifts of earthenware (sigillaria), rings, and seals. Often times, their homes would be decorated with green plants.

Information found HERE on these facts of Winter Solstice.

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