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winter solstice traditions...what do you do??

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi there

Was reading the thread below and was interested to hear what you do to celebrate the winter solstice.

My husband and his family are into spirituality and I try to use some of the concept with my christianity faith. With christmas season I totally abhore the whole gift exchange and supporting the commercialism thing. I think its all gone wrong and sending the wrong messages to the kids..'I gotta have the latest fad' (everyone has it etc).

I read somewhere that one mother started a tradition that each week in december she had a theme I think it was focused on the different elements. She and the kids would decorate the table with the elements or something. I found that interesting.

I grew up with having live candles on our tree. Very pagan and I love it. Want to focus more on the pagan side of christmas traditions and more on the winter solstice.

Looking forward to tips you wonderful mothers have done in your family.
post #2 of 9
Our main tradition is we have a small family day on the solstice. DH, DD and I exchange one gift and we have a festive meal. It's nice because we do celebrate Christmas with the rest of the family on the 25th. So this is our personal family day for just the three of us. We focus on the increasing light and strength of the sun. It's not specifically a "religious" holiday for me since I'm not wiccan and the solstices and equinoxes aren't traditionally part of my religious festival year. But for me personally the solstices and equinoxes mean alot though.
post #3 of 9
For the last few years we have had a nice Yule celebration. We invite guests, some of them pagans, some just open minded Jews or lapsed xians, whatever. Kids and adults.

Me and the kidz bake cookies beforehand and make one dish for the feast. We ask for others to bring potluck.

We set up an altar in the middle of the family room floor. Just a cardboard box with a celtic sarong (talk about cross cultural) on it. Arrange things to represent the elements and directions: incense, candles, salt in a shell, water, quartz crystals, etc. Also, people lay on items of personal meaning to them.

So, when all have arrived, we sit in a circle around the altar. I lead the ceremony, so I cast the circle. (young children and furkids may pass in and out). Someone lights the incense and candles. I invoke the lord and lady. We ground and center ourselves. People are invited to say what the season means to them (whether it is the birth or return of the sun or the son). We have a silent meditation where we are invited to start actualizing any plans or ideas that are not yet germinating. Ask for healing of any illnesses or issues, either personal or worldwide.

We pass around a kiss and a good wish for the one next to us. We then light the fire laid in the fireplace. When it is going, one child lays some holly twigs (from one of our own bushes, we live on Holly Lane) on it.

That pretty much completes the ritual. We open the circle, and go out to the next room, where the Yule tree is. The youngest child gets to light it, and of course, everyone goes---aahhh! (I do have a huge collection of antique decorations, scrouged from family members who have passed on. Or my living parents, who don't bother with a tree anymore. )

Feasting is important after all the spiritual stuff. The food is set up in that room, buffet style, so we all dig in. We eat, we drink, the kids run around, we chat, and then, we make music, as most of our friends are rock and rollers.

We don't go to family for xmas. We stay home and just the 5 of us have xmas eve dinner next to the tree on the floor. We always eat the same foods, and we have English style xmas "crackers," which produce paper crowns, and toys and jokes.

People in our neighborhood put out luminaries xmas eve, so we usually do that too. then you have to walk around the block and look at all of them.

In the morning we have presents. We hang out all day xmas, eating and playing with new "toys" which nowadays consist of books and videos, video games and CDs. We probably go for a walk with the dog at some point. Of course, usually, being winter, one of us is sick and just napping most of the day, so we accomodate him or her!

We might go to a movie the next day. I like xmas just being us--no hassles, no boring aunts to be polite to. We do that enough the rest of the year.

Happy Holidays!
post #4 of 9
bumping, and Darylll I love that song!!! Never thought about playing it for Solstice!! THank you!!
post #5 of 9
We go to a special friends home (a mff triad) and enjoy the day with them, and their friends. It is very special, and magical almost. Good people around, they are the BEST cooks I have ever met (make their own truffles, and deep fried turkeys, a special mulled wine, baklava, smoked ham, and so many other WONDERFUL foods)... its like spending a special holiday with family, except no one argues, everyone is mellow and happy. Last year they gave us a book on Yule traditions and different meanings of the season to different people and it was just an amazing read. I knew nothing about paganism before this, and they just open my eyes to how beautiful it is.
post #6 of 9
lisalynn, could you post the name of the book?
post #7 of 9
Its called Yule A celebration of Light & Warmth. By Dorothy Morrison. Its got sections on...

yule traditions and symbols (bells, candy cane, carold, elves, gingerbread, misletoe, snowflakes, tree, yule logs, ect, lots more)...

festivals of light around the world (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule)

Holiday Customs around the world (lots of places)

Omens, Supersitions and Other Magical Goodies (animals, monsters, food, gift giving, hearth and home, marriage omens, weather)

Yuletide trivia and fun facts...

From the back of the book
" In the pages of Yule... presents a wonderful potpourri of holiday lore from around the world and throughout history, along with fun cradfts, delicious recipes- even a calender of celebrations for every day in december"

There are lots of little spells scattered throughout the book too. Just little poems to prepare for Yule, blessings for the yule log, different things for all the days of dec. ect...

I really liked the book. Its not heavy in anything, its a nice light lovely book... Its $15, so not too bad....

Hope that helped out!
post #8 of 9
it sounds delightful! thanks!
post #9 of 9
At dusk, we ban the use of lights, to bring a greater meaning to the Suns birth.......we sleep in our clothes and then get up before sunrise to go out and meet the sunrise, and sing happy birthday and dance and drink hot chocolate or spiced cider.
We drape the trees with pb pinecones and popcorn and berry string as a gift to the birds and wildlife.
We come back and eat yellow "sun" banana nut waffles, and exchange a gift that must be handmade. We laze around all day, and make a sun cake with candles reaching out like rays, have a nice dinner.........
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