Saturday, 21 December 2013

Winter Solstice

The Shortest Day ~ Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule. 

The yule fire Chez Nous

I'm all in favour of celebrating the Winter Solstice - looking forward to Spring as the days begin to grow longer, lighting the fire on the longest night of the year in the hope of the return of the sun and warmer weather, and the promise of another year with the good companionship of friends and family.

Welcoming Solstice Wreath

In earlier centries, communities would gather on the Winter Solstice, light fires, and feast. In the Northern Hemisphere, this would take place on 21st December (or thereabouts).  Feuds would be put on hold (mistletoe over an entrance) in recognition of common humanity surviving in a savage world. This year, I'm giving thanks for surviving a savage 2013 and looking forward with hope to a better 2014. 

My traditional German Winter Wreath (thank you MWNN's sister) that I've had for years, has had the addition of mistletoe bought at Hitchin's Winter Gala Market this year.