This year the Winter Solstice will fall on Tuesday, December 21st. This astronomical event is the time of the year when the Earth’s north pole is tilted farthest from the sun, so that night is the longest and daylight is the shortest (in the northern hemisphere). This day has long been celebrated because it signals the lengthening of the days until Summer Solstice on June 21. Even though there is a lot of winter left, there will be more day light. It is the promise of Spring to come.
Peoples through different times and cultures have seen this event as a moment of rebirth and hope. Many traditions have celebrated the Winter Solstice with evergreen trees, a symbol of ever-lasting Life. One of the few rituals we modern people still practice is bringing an evergreen tree into the house and decorating the Christmas tree. Our western New Year is celebrated shortly after.
The Winter Solstice, being the darkest day of the year can be sad and depressing. And it is quite possible that the ritual of gift-giving is practiced at this time as a healing. Both the generosity in the giving and the gratitude in the receiving are antidotes to depression. Let us celebrate the promise of returning light and returning Life.
December 13 and 14th, 2021 will be the peak of the Geminids Meteor Shower, considered to be the showiest, with up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour. See if you can find a very dark place for best viewing.
At the time of the Winter Solstice, we can be grateful for the evergreens in our Colorado gardens. And a very valuable gift for the dark holidays is a sunny disposition!